Academy-award winning filmmaker Sir Sam Mendes described the possibility of having gender-neutral awards at the Oscars as “perfectly reasonable”.

The 57-year-old, who won best director at the Oscars in 1999 for his first film American Beauty, told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that he had “total sympathy” with the idea.

It comes after The Crown star Emma Corrin, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them, said they hoped that award shows will opt for gender neutral categories at future ceremonies.

Graham Norton Show – London

Emma Corrin during the filming for the Graham Norton Show (Ian West/PA)

Sir Sam said: “I have total sympathy with it and I think it might well be inevitable in the end. Because I think that’s the way it’s moving and I think it’s perfectly reasonable.

“For me, people forget with awards, I think this happens all the time that they use it as a bellwether for the industry, but the truth is awards are a TV show.

“Awards are there to promote films. If that film wins an award, I’m more likely to go and see it and that’s what you’re doing there. It’s not about yourself, it’s not about the art or craft of the industry especially. It’s about selling films.

“I’m not dismissing the importance of them but I’m saying they were there to promote films and the craft and art of films. They’re the shop window but they’re not the thing itself.”

The full interview with the film director will air on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg at 9am on BBC One.

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