Transgender Oscar Nominee Anohni to Skip Show After Not Being Invited to Perform Due to Time Constraints
"I want to be clear – I know that I wasn't excluded from the performance directly because I am transgendered," she writes in an open letter
Oscar-nominated transgender performer Anohni has decided not to attend this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.
The artist, who has also gone by the name Antony Hegarty, penned an open letter in Pitchfork Thursday, in which she expressed her disappointment in the Academy after it was announced that two Oscar-nominated songs, including Anohni’s “Manta Ray”, were not invited to be performed due to time constraints.
“I am the only transgendered performer ever to have been nominated for an Academy Award, and for that I thank the artists who nominated me,” she started the letter.
The singer, 44, recorded “Manta Ray” for the documentary Racing Extinction. Her Oscar nod makes her the second-ever openly trans person to be nominated in the 88 years of the awards.
“I want to be clear – I know that I wasn’t excluded from the performance directly because I am transgendered,” she wrote. “I was not invited to perform because I am relatively unknown in the U.S.”
Anohni shared that upon hearing of her nomination, she immediately began preparing something in case she was asked to perform at the show.
“A week later, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga and the Weeknd were rolled out as the evening’s entertainment with more performers ‘soon to be announced.’ Confused, I sat and waited. Would someone be in touch? But as time bore on I heard nothing.”
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Aside from Anohni’s “Manta Ray,” the Oscar-nominated tune from the film Youth, “Simple Song #3”, also wasn’t invited to be performed on the show.
Anohni wrote about her feelings of disappointment upon hearing the news.
“I slowly realized that the positive implication of this nomination was being retracted,” she wrote. “The producers seemed to have decided to stage performances only by the singers who were deemed commercially viable.”
After reflecting on her career and achievements, she says she decided not to attend the ceremony to take a stand for artists who might not be as well-known in mainstream Hollywood, but still deserve an equal chance to succeed.
“I have decided not to attend the Academy Awards this election year,” she concluded. “I will not be lulled into submission with a few more well manufactured, feel-good ballads and a bit of good old fashioned T. and A.”
The singer is perhaps best known for the indie rock group Antony and the Johnsons, but has been recording as a solo artist for years, steadily gaining popularity in the U.K. In 2005, she was award the U.K.’s Mercury Prize.