close to him

Elliot Page is asked about introducing gender-neutral acting categories at the Oscars

Elliot Page was in Toronto over the weekend for the world premiere of his new movie, Close To You.

Page gave numerous interviews, including one to Entertainment Weekly. Its reporter asked Page what he thought on the topic of gender-neutral acting categories. In particular, would he like to see them at the Academy Awards?

“Yeah, it seems like a good idea,” the 36-year-old Oscar nominee replied. “And, again, this sort of unusual aspect of that being the only category, right, where that sort of happens? So, hopefully, we start moving beyond that degree of binary thinking.”

In recent years, several high-profile awards shows have ditched their gendered categories. This includes the Brit Awards (the UK equivalent to the Grammys), and the Gotham Awards for independent filmmaking. The Grammys dropped most of its gendered awards from 2012 onwards.

Page received their Oscar nomination for their breakout hit, Juno (2007). He revealed in December 2020 that he is trans and had changed his name to Elliot. Earlier this year, he published an eagerly-awaited memoir, Pageboy.

Close To You is Page’s first leading movie role since coming out as trans. He co-conceived and authored the movie with writer-director Dominic Savage.

Elliot Page in Close To You
Elliot Page as Sam in Close To You

In it, Page plays Sam. He is returning home to see his family for the first time in four years for his dad’s birthday. It’s the first time he has returned since transitioning. On the way, he has a chance encounter with an old friend, played by Sound of Metal’s Hillary Baack.

What the critics are saying about ‘Close To You’

Initial reviews after the Toronto screening have praised Page’s performance but have been lukewarm about the movie. The Guardian called it a “well-intentioned yet patchy drama”.

The Hollywood Reporter also called it “well-intentioned but clunky”, but singled out Page as the movie’s strong point. It says Sam’s terse scenes with his family are the movie’s most engaging.

Chase Hutchinson in Collider says, “Savage wants to shine a light on how callous and entitled cis people can be around a trans person who is just trying to exist. The trouble is that it takes on an unrelentingly blunt approach that becomes punishing for both Sam and the audience.” Again, Hutchinson has praise for Page, saying he “is a shining light. Every move he makes gives the film something greater that it is never able to grasp.”

Close to You does not yet have a release date.

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