Berlin Film Festival Will Merge Best Actor and Best Actress Awards

Best actress Paula Beer at the closing and awards Ceremony of the 70th Berlin International Film Festival in February. Photo by David Heerde/Shutterstock (10571381v)

For the first time in history, the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival will not hand out separate prizes for actors and actresses. Instead, the acting awards will be the Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance and the Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance.

Another change the award list is that the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize will be renamed the Silver Bear Jury Prize. In the last festival, the prize was suspended due to allegations that were made against the first Berlinale director, its namesake. The festival announced that it will assess the history of the director and publish the results in a future date.

“We believe that not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for a more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry,” commented the director duo of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian.

The festival, which was the last big festival to be held prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, also announced its commitment to hold the event in a physical form “in accordance with the then-applicable rules and regulations, thus ensuring the greatest possible security for all guests.” The festival will be a hybrid event—both physical and virtual, allowing executives who cannot attend it in person to sell and screen movies online.

The Berlin International Film Festival is scheduled for February 11-18, 2021.