Sir Sam Mendes, the Oscar-winning filmmaker, described the gender-neutral awards at the Oscars as “inevitable”.
The 57-year-old, who won the 1999 Academy Award for Best Director for his first film American Beauty, told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg he had “complete sympathy” with the idea that “might be inevitable”.
It comes after The Crown star Emma Corrin, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them, said they hope to see gender-neutral categories chosen at future awards ceremonies.
Sir Sam said: “I have total sympathy for it and I think it may be inevitable in the end. Because I think it does, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable.
“For me, people forget about awards, I think it happens all the time when they use that as a lead for the industry, but the truth is awards are a TV show.
“Awards are there to promote films. If this movie wins an award, I’m more likely to go and watch it, and that’s where you’re going.
“It’s not about you, it’s not specifically about the arts or crafts of the industry. It’s about selling movies.
“I’m not downplaying their importance, but I’m saying they were there to promote movies and the craft and art of filmmaking. They’re a storefront, but they’re not the thing itself.”
Sir Sam also said in an interview that actress Olivia Colman was embarrassed to play sex scenes in her upcoming movie Empire Of Light, opposite her younger colleague, but wanted to see the “physical lust” of the characters.
The new film from director James Bond is set in an old cinema in an English seaside town in the early 1980s and explores relationships and romance.
This is the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s first foray into writing screenplays on his own, and he was inspired by growing up in the company of a person suffering from mental illness as a child.
Sir Sam said: “The stigma that is still attached to mental illness is still a cloak of darkness.
“If you’re coming out of the hospital and you’ve just recovered from cancer, I immediately tell you ‘how are you? “. If you’re coming out of a mental institution, I don’t talk about it, probably don’t ask the question.
“So there’s still a weird stigma attached to it.
“My main goal with the film was to try to dramatize the effect and what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder and manic depression, rather than to explain it.”