Hollywood Critics Association's 2nd annual TV Awards are taking place next weekend. Over the course of two nights, celebrities from the small screen - across streaming, cable, and broadcast - will unite in Hollywood for a beautiful event which will hand out awards in achievement. Unfortunately, this year, the HCA has decided to celebrate a couple of programs which prominently use fat-suits.
Nominated in the "Best Broadcast Network or Cable Limited or Anthology Series" category is Impeachment: An American Crime Story, a dramatization of historical events surrounding President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Nominated alongside the series is Sarah Paulson, who donned a fat-suit for the role of Linda Tripp. Noticeably absent from the nominations is actual fat actress, Beanie Feldstein, who absolutely shines in the complicated role of Lewinsky.
Competing against Paulson is another fat-suit wearing actress. Renee Zellweger also received a nomination for "Best Actress in a Broadcast/Cable Limited, Anthology Series or TV Movie", for her role as Pam Hupp in the NBC series The Thing About Pam. Zellweger also served as a producer for the series, and was present when journalists asked about the casting at the Winter TCA Press Day for NBC.
Over the last year, many people, including audiences and critics, have questioned the use of fat-suits and their inherent anti-fat message, as well as their fundamental connection to fatphobia. The conversations have seeped into the entertainment industry, prompting Paulson herself to speak out about these offensive practices. A year ago, in an interview with the LA Times, she admitted her regrets in donning the suit but next week she may celebrate it. (Perhaps the accolades should be transferred to the makeup and costuming departments instead.)
But if the few fat roles continue to be given to not fat actors, when will the fat actors get to work?
It's a question that have been asked by many actors in marginalized communities, including trans and disabled actors. Audiences are no longer accepting inauthentically portrayed characters - such as Scarlett Johansson whitewashing 2017's Ghost in the Shell - and Hollywood itself has only recently begun to see these flaws, yet when the use of fat-suits is celebrated - awarded even - the idea of casting authentically seems less important.
When will the fatphobic trend end?
As disappointing as these nominations are, there are a few that should be noted, watched, and hopefully won.
An unsurprising trend: each of these fat actors are nominated for supporting roles. But that's a discussion for another post...