The first transgender performer in history to receive an Academy Award nomination will skip Sunday’s ceremony, and she has penned a detailed essay explaining why. Anohni, who was formerly known as Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, says in the essay, published on Pitchfork, that after receiving a nomination for best original song for “Manta Ray,” written and performed in collaboration with J. Ralph, from the documentary “Racing Extinction,” she was disappointed to learn she wouldn’t be invited to perform during the ceremony.
Other nominees for best original song, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga and the Weeknd, received the traditional performance spots in the ceremony. Anohni writes in the essay that she “realized that the positive implication of this nomination was being retracted. The producers seemed to have decided to stage performances only by the singers who were deemed commercially viable. Composer David Lang’s song ‘Simple Song #3’ performed by South Korean soprano Sumi Jo was also omitted.”
Anohni also writes: “It was degrading to watch the articles in Variety, The Daily Telegraph, Pitchfork, Stereogum, etc. start to appear. Eclipsing earlier notices of congratulations, now the papers were naming me as one of two artists to have been ‘cut’ by the Academy due to ‘time constraints.’ In the next sentence it was announced that Dave Grohl, not nominated in any category, had been added to the list of performers.”
The artist goes on to weave a statement about corporate values vs. art. Readers can click on the link near the top of this story to read the full essay on Pitchfork.
Here’s “Manta Ray” as performed by J. Ralph and Antony, from “Racing Extinction” …