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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 24, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 08
Academy Awards have yet to crown an LGBT-themed film as Best Picture
Arts & Entertainment
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Academy Awards have yet to crown an LGBT-themed film as Best Picture

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

89TH ACADEMY AWARDS
ABC TV (KOMO TV - CH. 4)
(Red Carpet @ 4pm PST)
(Awards Ceremony @ 5:30pm PST)
Sunday, February 26


When Jack Nicholson announced the Best Picture winner at the finale of the 2006 Academy Awards, it created a resounding sigh of both disappointment and sadness from LGBT film fans, many of whom had gathered at Gay bars across the country and around the world to hear two words mentioned when the envelope was opened, Brokeback Mountain. Instead, much to our dismay Nicholson uttered out a single word, Crash, which ended up with the top prize, a movie that many critics have declared one of the worst Best Picture winners of all time.

And though Ang Lee was crowned Best Director for helming Brokeback Mountain, a story about two men who begin a sexual and emotional relationship in 1960's Wyoming, it won only a total of three statues, despite the fact it had appeared on nearly every major movie reviewer's year-end list of best films. Furthermore, three beautifully nominated performances in Brokeback Mountain turned in by Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams went unrecognized.

Minorities had every right to protest last year's #OscarsSoWhite lack of diversity, but over its 89-year course the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) can also be accused of being #OscarsSoStraight. Occasionally, someone like Hillary Swank, a relatively unknown until the late 90s and a former Washington state resident, stuns the industry and movie aficionados with a performance such as the one given in Boys Don't Cry, a biographical film about a Transgender man adjusting to his new identity who is violently assaulted. It earned Swank a Best Actress award; however her co-star Chloe Sevigny, also wonderful in the film, went home empty-handed.

To be fair, the Academy has rewarded a reasonable amount of actors, from Tom Hanks (Philadelphia) and Charlize Theron (Monster) to Sean Penn (Milk) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), with a golden statue for their incredible portrayals of LGBT characters. But there were many who didn't even get nominated, including River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho, Nathan Lane in The Birdcage, Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right, Dennis Quaid in Far From Heaven, Terence Stamp in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Colour and the late John Hurt in Love and Death in Long Island, to name a few.

But where the Oscars has really faulted the LGBT community is denying us a Best Picture award. And yes, we are owed. Not just Brokeback Mountain, but Milk, Dallas Buyers Club, The Kids Are All Right, The Hours and The Crying Game have all been shortlisted for the top prize, yet they each lost. Also disappointing is knowing that Longtime Companion, Philadelphia, A Single Man, Gods and Monsters, My Beautiful Laundrette, Victor/Victoria and Transamerica didn't even make the Best Picture cut. And while Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother was victorious in the Best Foreign Language category in 2000, two outstanding international features before it weren't so fortunate, The Wedding Banquet and Farewell My Concubine.

This is why you shouldn't hold your breath, or place any bets for Moonlight to be written inside the last envelope that will be opened on Sunday night. La La Land, a dazzling contemporary musical that seems to have hit all the right notes this Oscar season, is expected to claim Best Picture. It's a wonderful piece of cinema that shouldn't go unnoticed, and with Emma Stone the presumed Best Actress winner and Damien Chazelle on the verge of nabbing both the Best Director and Best Original Screenplay awards, it will probably dance away with the most hardware this weekend. But it would come at the expense of Moonlight, a moving coming-of-age drama about a young Gay man trapped in an unfortunate world around him.

Mahershala Ali will likely receive Best Supporting Actor honors for his work in the movie, though Moonlight's nominations in the directing, screenplay, original score and most importantly, Best Picture, races will be overshadowed by its competition. So, we'll have to wait again. Until the Academy thinks it's time to bestow an LGBT film it feels is worthy of the most coveted award.

The 89th Academy Awards are being staged on Sunday, February 26 with the ceremony beginning at 5:30pm and red carpet arrivals an hour and a half before then. Jimmy Kimmel will host the event, so expect a lot of laughs during the three-hour gala. All four of 2016's acting winners - Leonardo DiCaprio, Bree Larson, Mark Rylance and Alicia Vikander - will present this year's acting recipients with Oscars, plus Chris Evans, Dwayne Johnson, Scarlett Johansson, Leslie Mann, John Cho, Emma Stone, Riz Ahmed, Janelle Monae, Javier Bardem, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Gael Garcia Bernal, Shirley MacLaine, Samuel L. Jackson, Kate McKinnon, Dakota Smith and Hailee Steinfeld will also serve as presenters.

As mentioned last week in The Music Lounge, Justin Timberlake, Sting, John Legend and Lin-Manuel Miranda with Auli'i Cravalho will perform their nominated numbers for Best Original Song.

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