Oscars first transgender nominee ANOHNI says show snub reminds her of ‘inadequacy as transperson’

The musician formerly known as Antony Hegarty is one of only two Best Original Song nominees not invited to perform at the ceremony

ANOHNI, the musician formerly known as Antony Hegarty, has written about how being one of only two Best Song Nominees not invited to perform at the Oscars has “reminded me of America’s earliest affirmations of my inadequacy as a transperson”.

The musician is the awards ceremony’s first transgender nominee and is up for an award for her collaboration with J. Ralph on the track ‘Manta Ray’ from the documentary Racing Extinction.

The official reason cited for ANOHNI not being invited to perform at the event was “time constraints”, but, as Consequence Of Sound reports, the only other nominee not to perform is South Korean artist Sumi Jo. Dave Grohl, who is not nominated for an award, was added to the line-up later.

In an essay on the subject, ANOHNI confirms she won’t be attending the ceremony at all. She wrote: “I have decided not to attend the Academy Awards this election year. 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 essay continues: “They are going to try to convince us that they have our best interests at heart by waving flags for identity politics and fake moral issues. But don’t forget that many of these celebrities are the trophies of billionaire corporations whose only intention it is to manipulate you into giving them your consent and the last of your money.

She also wrote about her original plan to fly to LA and attend nominee events ahead of the main ceremony, but said that “feelings of embarrassment and anger knocked me back”.

“I couldn’t get on the plane,” ANOHNI wrote. “I imagined how it would feel for me to sit amongst all those Hollywood stars, some of the brave ones approaching me with sad faces and condolences. There I was, feeling a sting of shame that reminded me of America’s earliest affirmations of my inadequacy as a transperson. I turned around at the airport and went back home.

“As if to rub salt into the wound, the next morning the Oscars added that I was transgendered to the trivia page of their website.”

Although she admitted that she knows “I wasn’t excluded from the performance directly because I am transgendered”, the musician wrote that the ceremony is geared towards commercial opportunities and making money.

“I was not invited to perform because I am relatively unknown in the U.S., singing a song about ecocide, and that might not sell advertising space,” she concluded. “It is not me that is picking the performers for the night, and I know that I don’t have an automatic right to be asked.”

Read the full essay here.