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Oklahoma Actor Makes Hollywood History - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports -

Time:2017-01-06 15:08Shoes websites Click:

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In a surprise decision, the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences is letting an Oklahoma actor compete for both male and female categories for this year's Oscars.

That actor is Kelly Mantle, a gender-fluid actor who plays a transgender prostitute Ginger in the new movie Confessions of a Womanizer. The movie's producers surprised him when they asked to have Kelly's name in the running for best supporting actor and actress, an Oscar first.

Other actors, like Eddie Redmayne in 2015’s The Danish Girl, have been nominated for playing transgender characters but the Academy has never allowed an actor to be nominated across gender categories in the past.

“Completely shocked when the filmmakers and producers came to me and said they were going to submit my performance,” Mantle said speaking from Los Angeles.

Kelly, who prefers male pronouns, said he had a lot of inspiration from real-life to play his character. He said he’s seen friends turn to sex work for money because employers would turn them away. His performance has garnered praise from several critics and film festivals, although the reviews of the entire film have been mixed.

He added the Academy’s decision is also especially in a year filled with animosity toward the LGBT community.

“It's more about the fact that I get to start a conversation and open up minds and conversations and education about gender-fluidity and gender spectrums as a whole,” he said.

Mantle, who's the nephew of baseball great Mickey Mantle, said it's strange to be a part of Hollywood history but hopes he can send a positive message to LGBT youth.

“For them to see that someone can break barriers and that someone can break down the doors and that we can be recognized for who we are is an amazing thing,” Mantle said.

Womanizer was first released in 2013 and has been screened at dozens of film festivals across the country, including Oklahoma’s Bare Bones Film Festival in Muskogee. It’s starting its Oscar competition screening this year, beginning on the west coast. Mantle said there’s work being done with national distributors as well.

Mantle is only eligible right now for a nomination. The voting for the nomination began Jan. 5 and closes Jan. 13. The official announcement for Oscar nominations is Jan. 24.

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