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Oscars 2013: Is Hollywood ready for gender-neutral awards?

With the 2013 awards season in full swing, Hollywood insiders discuss whether Oscars and other awards should still be separately awarded to actors and actresses.

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Sally Field, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Steven Spielberg, all nominated for Golden Globes and Academy Awards, pose for photographers in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 17. Of the three, only Day-Lewis won a Golden Globe; the Oscar winners will be announced Feb. 24.

Gregorio Borgia / AP

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Do Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Helen Mirren really need a category just for women — a singular kind of affirmative action — to snare one of Hollywood's favorite accessories, an Oscar, Emmy or Screen Actors Guild trophy?

In a society tilting steadily toward gender neutrality, the separate-but-equal awards that divide actors into one camp and actresses into another have the whiff of a moldy anachronism.

True, the Association for Women in Science gives honors to encourage female success in male-dominated fields. But to mark enduring achievements, would its members ever yearn for a Women's Nobel Prize in physics?

 

In contests of intellect or artistry, should gender ever matter?

"It's not like it's upper body strength," Gloria Steinem dryly observed of the requirements of acting.

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