Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-09-02
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Year of the Gay Oscars
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2006-03-01

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Pictured Catherine Keener and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. Heath and Jake in Brokeback Mountain.

I'm going to celebrate Oscar night, the gay man's equivalent of Christmas Eve, like millions of other folks—by hosting an Academy Awards party. This annual tradition will feature the usual stunning buffet, Oscar decor and gift bags courtesy of my partner as well as the expected ballot for our guests to predict their winners, my usual assortment of medium-to-difficult Oscar-related trivia and those imitation gold statuettes for our winner. Before the parties begin this year, however, there's a lot to celebrate.

After all, this is the year the Academy has gone gaga over gay-themed movies. Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Transamerica are heavily nominated and the most obvious of movies with either a GLBT theme or major character. The media's drowning in a sea of stories headlining the fact that this is the year of the gay Oscars. You can say that again—and there's a lot more to celebrate when one takes a closer look at the acting categories. It's probably not surprising to find that just about EVERYONE nominated this year has played a gay or bisexual character at some point in his or her film career. A quick perusal of this year's crop of acting nominees finds enough gay and lesbian characters to populate a good-sized Oscar party all their own. A random sampling ( that is far from comprehensive ) :

BEST ACTRESS

Judi Dench ( nominated for Mrs. Henderson Presents ) played a lesbian in The Shipping News, based on Annie Proulx's novel, as well as bisexual writer Iris Murdoch in Iris, both in 2001. Out lesbian writer Proulx also penned the short story Brokeback Mountain, the basis for that little cowboy movie you may have heard about.

Felicity Huffman ( nominated for Transamerica ) played a lesbian stage designer trying to get her banker girlfriend to come out of the closet in the short lived Showtime series Bedtime in 1996.

Keira Knightly ( nominated for Pride & Prejudice ) played real-life lesbian Domino Harvey earlier this year in Tony Scott's atrocious action misfire Domino, based on Harvey's life ( though the film erased any traces of Harvey's sexuality ) .

Charlize Theron ( up for North Country ) won Best Actress in 2004 for Monster, playing Aileen Wuornos, the female serial killer motivated to kill in part to support her girlfriend.

BEST ACTOR

Philip Seymour Hoffman ( nominated for Capote ) memorably played drag performer Rusty Zimmerman in Flawless ( 2000 ) in which he gave macho Robert DeNiro voice coaching lessons—and a lesson in tolerance after DeNiro suffers a stroke. Hoffman also played gay in Boogie Nights as the hilarious Scotty J, who secretly nurses a crush on stud muffin Dirk Diggler ( played by Mark Wahlberg ) .

Terrence Howard ( nominated for Hustle & Flow ) told Interview magazine in 2000 while promoting The Best Man that he was going to play a gay man with epilepsy in Sextet, a film about a hip-hop band that Howard said would co-star Djimon Honsou and Omar Epps. But to my knowledge, nothing came of the movie.

Heath Ledger ( up for Brokeback Mountain ) started his career with a bang ( and set a million hearts aflame ) playing a gay Olympic cyclist in Sweat, a TV drama set in Australia, Ledger's homeland.

Joaquin Phoenix ( up for I Walk the Line ) was memorable as the prissy, evil Roman emperor Commodus with the ambiguous sexuality in Gladiator and who sported more eye make-up than singer Dusty Springfield or Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra.

David Strathairn ( nominated for Good Night, And Good Luck ) doesn't seem to have played a gay character in the movies or on television, though I wouldn't be surprised if the theatrer-trained actor has taken a walk on our side while treading the boards. Let me know if you're aware of a gay character in Strathairn's resume.

Outside of these big categories, special mention must be made, of course, of William Hurt, nominated this year in the Supporting Actor category for A History of Violence. Hurt has the distinction of being the first actor to win Oscar gold portraying an openly gay character—in 1985's Kiss of the Spider Woman. Tom Hanks was the second in 1993's Philadelphia. We have yet to see a third—though either Philip Seymour Hoffman ( my choice ) for Capote or Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain ( my I-Wouldn't-Be-Terribly-Upset-If-He-Wins choice ) might make it the charming third.

I'm also rooting for Felicity Huffman to walk onstage when her name's called as Best Actress for Transamerica, the first win for an actress playing a transgendered character. Maureen Stapelton won an Oscar as bisexual activist Emma Goldman in 1981 for Reds, as did Nicole Kidman as writer ( and perhaps closeted lesbian ) Virginia Woolf in The Hours in 2002.

A lot of the performances and films that I think are worthy, naturally, have been overlooked once again by the Academy and awards shows are as much about the way they're presented ( she wore that on purpose? Beyoncé's really going to sing EVERY song? ) anyway. Honestly, this gay man's national holiday is more a social event than anything else. But that won't stop me from hoping that this year we have something more to celebrate at the conclusion of the show's usual three-hour running time than hideously wrong designer gowns, delightfully awful Best Song performances, clever lines scripted backstage by gay icon Bruce Vilanch and merciless close-ups of anxious stars.

Here's hoping come Sunday that the Year of the Gay Movies is also the Year of the Gay Movies that won Academy Awards.

______

Oscar, Oscar: Aside from all the private shindigs ( sorry, our guest list is full ) , there are numerous Academy Award shindigs around town. Many of these are benefits for Our People and offer big fancy dinners; the chance to dress in formal wear and hobnob with fellow Oscar revelers; wide screen projections of the show; and drag performers costumed as iconic movie stars.

But the only local fete officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself is being held at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. The party, the 12th annual, is a benefit for the center and will kick off at 5:30 and go until midnight. Guests ( hopefully in the suggested black tie or 'Awards glam' attire ) will get to watch the awards show on one of the theater's two screens while browsing through the official awards program distributed to the Hollywood folks. VIP guests also get the official poster. Everyone gets to partake of the buffet ( donated by Food for Thought ) , mingle on the red carpet with a Joan Rivers impersonator and bid on silent auction items. Tickets range from $100-$1,000. Call ( 312 ) 846-2072 or see www.siskelfilmcenter.com .

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitytimes.com or www.knightatthemovies.com .


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Reeling LGBTQ+ film fest offers movies showcasing queer diversity 2015-09-01
Entertainment: Ricky Martin; Marc Jacobs; Maria Bello; Timberlake 2015-09-01
Trans group to hold 'education rally' outside Warner Bros on Stonewall film 2015-08-26
Trans-led documentary series launching soon 2015-08-26
Knight at the Movies: Lily Tomlin; the late, great Laird Cregar 2015-08-26
Gilded lilies: Lily Tomlin, Laverne Cox unite in 'Grandma' 2015-08-26
Actor Lily Tomlin talks 'Grandma,' 'Grace' and being grateful 2015-08-26
MOVIES Becoming 'Friends' with Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, Max Joseph 2015-08-26
Entertainment: Josh Hutcherson; 'Atlanta'; Zachary Quinto; Adam Lambert 2015-08-25
Knight at the Movies: Blackbird; Olive Films 2015-08-19
Upcoming events: TransReelization; Rodeo Round Town 2015-08-19
Upcoming: Cho to marry couples; Chicago Fashion Fest; Horror-film fest 2015-08-18
Reeling preview held at Progress Bar 2015-08-11
Knight at the Movies: Rock 'n' roll Meryl 2015-08-05
MOVIES 'Best of Enemies' directors talk Gore Vidal, William Buckley 2015-08-05
Disc and That: Upcoming and recent DVDs 2015-08-04
Entertainment news: Jake Gyllenhaal; 'The Wiz'; Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson 2015-08-04
Wolfe Video donates lesbian DVD library to Mazer Archives 2015-08-02
Local film festival celebrates Black LGBT stories 2015-07-29
'Plus One' Web series focuses on lesbian relationships 2015-07-29
Entertainment: Nick Jonas; Caitlyn Jenner; Lucy Lawless; RuPaul 2015-07-28
Dancing About Architecture 2015-07-22
Knight at the Movies: Do I Sound Gay?; Black Alphabet; restored films 2015-07-22
Lesbian director on movie debuting at Black Alphabet festival 2015-07-22
Entertainment: Jennifer Hudson; Lee Daniels; Margaret Cho; Thomas Roberts 2015-07-21
HIV+ musical comedy web series "Merce" premieres 2015-07-17
Cover story: National gathering honors Philadelphia's 1965 protests 2015-07-15
MOVIES David Thorpe: It's okay to sound 'gay' 2015-07-15
Knight at the Movies: Tangerine; Tig; Mr. Holmes; Edith Lake Wilkinson 2015-07-15
Entertainment: Marriage film; 'Million-Dollar Listing'; Ryan Reynolds 2015-07-14
Upcoming: Hall & Oates; Kelly Clarkson; Black Alphabet Film; Book Fair 2015-07-14
Black Alphabet Film Fest expands to 4-day event 2015-07-10
Upcoming: Queer Web screenings; Saints + Sinners; Taste of Chicago 2015-07-07
Entertainment: Ellen DeGeneres; Beyonce; Michael Sam; Dolly Parton 2015-07-07
MOVIES Matt Bomer: Magic Mike star on Channing flattery and indecent gyrations 2015-07-06
Entertainment: Celebs react to marriage news; Jeremy Renner; Spider-Man 2015-07-01
TELEVISION David Oyelowo talks personalities, sexuality in HBO's 'Nightingale' 2015-07-01
Love is Colorful, Make it Blu film series launched 2015-06-30
Knight at the Movies: Let's get serious about Pride 2015-06-24
MOVIES 'Horses' director on lesbian romance, working with animals 2015-06-24
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.