'Best Actor': Dutch film awards go gender-neutral

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FILE PHOTO: Carice van Houten arrives for the premiere of the final season of "Game of Thrones" at Radio City Music Hall in New York

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The main movie awards in the Netherlands will from this year only single out the best acting performance in a leading and supporting role, instead of handing out separate prizes to male and female actors.

The move is meant to make the Golden Calf awards - named after the small golden statues presented to winners - more inclusive, organisers said on Thursday.

"We want to unite all makers, regardless of their background or gender," said Jenny Booms, director of the Dutch Academy for Film. "The awards in the end are about craftsmanship."

Improving gender equality in film has been a topic of discussion for years, as awards and major festivals have come under scrutiny over the low number of women directors in the running for top awards.

In 2017, the MTV Movie and TV Awards introduced gender-neutral acting awards, but important prizes such as the Academy and Emmy Awards still separate acting performances by men and women.

The Dutch actors association ACT said it welcomed the move, which it said could help make the awards more inclusive and would promote diversity.

The Golden Calves have been awarded annually since 1981 for the best Dutch film and the best Dutch director and actors of the past year.

Former winners include director Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Total Recall), and actors Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) and Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones).

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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