February 22nd, 2009
IN 2006 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided not to award its Best Picture Oscar to Brokeback Mountain, the film that until that point had been one of the most awarded films in history. They selected Crash. Now I’m sure that Crash is a Very Important Movie About Race Relations but it is pretty universally acknowledged that homophobia gave it its win.
After that I lost interest in the Academy’s selection. Prior to that time I made a point of seeing all the major nominated films, found a great Oscars party, and made the even a high-point of my year. This year I’m not even sure where I’m going tonight or if I’ll just stay home and watch there.
But, nonetheless, I will watch the awards show and there are a few movies and actors for which I’ll be rooting. And there are quite a few that have connection to our community. The following does not pretend to be comprehensive, but here’s some things to think about as The Oscar Goes To… is called.
Milk – This is the story of the political life and assassination of Harvey Milk, the nation’s first openly gay elected official.
Milk is a very good film, though probably not the best this year. However, the Academy will sometimes award a consolation Oscar when they feel that a previous award went wrong. Because many voters may feel shame for anti-gay sentiments four years ago, there may be a compensating emotion to reward “the gay movie” this year. Also Milk does not portray gay folk as uncomfortably similar to the straights, you know, but keeps them safely fey and gay (which is not really a criticism of Milk – the folks portrayed actually were fey and gay).
But, alternately, the Academy may still not be ready for that kind of movie.
Actor in a Leading Roll
Sean Penn – His portrayal of Harvey Milk was spot-on and the Academy loves these type of roles. He also may benefit from guilt over Brokeback losing both best picture and best actor awards.
Brad Pitt – This is a heterosexual role, but during the last year Brad has been an outspoken and generous advocate for marriage equality.
Actress in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway – Anne has also been a vocal gay advocate in the past year.
Angelina Jolie – Angelina has, with significant other Pitt, spoken strongly for marriage equality. They have publicly tied the prospect of their own marriage to the ability of gay people to marry.
Meryl Streep – Doubt is based on a stage play of the same name. Set in 1964, it tells the tale of a conservative nun in a Catholic school suspicious that a more modern priest is behaving inappropriately with a gay student.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin – Josh plays Milk’s villain, conservative supervisor Dan White.
Robert Downey, Jr. – Tropic Thunder is not a gay flick and the one surprising gay role is not Downey’s. However, Downey has taken a number of gay roles and giving them charm and ease. One of my favorite actors, it’s nice to see him finally conquering his demons.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Hoffman also has his list of gay roles going back to Boogie Nights. And while he is an accomplished actor, his gay roles seem to always leave me a little on edge. Unlike Downey, Hoffman seems to be playing gay rather than playing a gay character and consequently leans a little too much on stereotype for my taste. In Doubt he plays a priest accused of being inappropriate with a gay student.
Heath Ledger – Heath’s Joker gives this movie the thrills and chills that made it a mega-hit. The role is Oscar worth. Ledger’s odds are increased by the realization that if the Academy doesn’t award him, it will not have another change and also because they passed him by for Brokeback.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams – Amy’s role in Doubt wins her a second nod from Oscar.
Penelope Cruz – Although I found Vicky Christina Barcelona unwatchable (I turned it off after 20 minutes), the story is of interest because Cruz’ character is involved in a relationship with man and another woman.
Dustin Lance Black – Gay writer of Milk, Black is a vocal opponent of Proposition 8 and if he wins is likely to bring up parallels. Black was raised Mormon so the issues surrounding the passing of the proposition is doubly important to him.
Art Direction, Score, Editing, Makeup
Somewhere in these rolls we’ll probably see some man thank his husband (or woman thank her wife).
I’m sure there are other interesting connections to the community, but if nothing else this will give you a few discussion points during the commercials.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.