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After much anticipation, the 91st Annual Academy Awards will take place this weekend, honouring the best of the best in cinema. The show will kick off on Sunday, Feb. 24, at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood and Highland Center.
The 2019 Oscars race is groundbreaking for queer cinema. Almost every category includes an LGBTQ movie, and many even boast more than one. Five films with queer plots or sub-plots were nominated for Best Picture—Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, A Star is Born, and Vice—accounting for more than half the nominees in that category, and a staggering number compared to previous years.
Historically, even when LGBTQ films have been nominated for Oscars, they have stood alone. Call Me By Your Name (2017), Moonlight (2016) and The Imitation Game (2014) were the only LGBTQ films nominated for Best Picture in their respective years. In 2015, no queer movies were nominated for Best Picture, despite Carol receiving six other nominations.
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, “The diversity across the full list of nominations should be celebrated and will no doubt lead to more inclusive, culture-changing films.” The nominations follow two consecutive years where films telling queer stories have taken the best picture prize with “Moonlight” and “The Shape of Water.”
Perhaps the most refreshing takeaway from this year’s nominees—beyond a simple tally of LGBTQ characters or quotable acceptance speeches—is the way several of the nominated films differ from their predecessors in the nuanced way they tell queer stories. These aren’t movies entirely about coming out or being queer—though those stories are still important. They’re just excellent films that centre same-sex narratives, sometimes almost incidentally.
The year’s acting nominations offer much to celebrate, as well. Rami Malek was nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, and both Mahershala Ali and Richard E. Grant received Supporting Actor nods for playing queer characters in Green Book and Can You Ever Forgive Me, respectively. Both Olivia Colman and Melissa McCarthy nabbed Best Actress nominations for playing lesbian characters. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, who round out Olivia Colman’s queer love triangle in The Favourite, were nominated for Best Supporting Actress, making for a total of four Oscar-nominated queer female roles this year, and seven LGBTQ roles total (and that’s not counting Marguerite, a live-action short film about queer women).
Let’s hope that these nominations convert into as many wins also this weekend.
Source – out.com, variety.com, time.com