You have to admit, with the glamour, the red carpet, celebrities dressed to the nines, the Academy Awards are one of the gayest affairs around, right?
And this year, having out Ellen DeGeneres host the show for the second time (as well as out Exec Producers Neil Meron and Craig Zaden running the show for the second year in a row) on Sunday night isn’t the only thing gay about the 86th annual Hollywood event and I’m not just talking about the show’s planned tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Judy Garland classic, “The Wizard Of Oz.”
Here are a few notable films and roles that had LGBT themes and characters. And maybe after Sunday night, some of them may also have a gold statuette to clutch for the rest of their careers.
“Dallas Buyers Club:” While we once thought Matthew McConaughey was best suited for romantic comedies with Kate Hudson and shirtless pics jogging in Malibu, the actor has been working hard to be taken seriously with dramatic roles this past year in “Mud,” “The Wolf Of Wall Street” and, yes, you could say even his role in “Magic Mike” in 2012.
But his role in “Dallas Buyers Club” as straight homophobe Ron Woodruff who comes down with AIDS in the 1980s is the role that changed the game for the sexy actor. McConaughey reportedly lost 47 pounds for the role but besides the physical transformation, the man gave the best performance of his career and is a favorite to take his first Academy Award.
The only thing more stunning than McConaughey’s role in “Dallas Buyers Club?” His co-star Jared Leto, who, as HIV-positive transgender Rayon, practically ran away with every scene in the film with his bravado and jaw-dropping performance. Leto also lost a great amount of weight (over 30 pounds) for his role and the fact that he hasn’t acted much at all in the past six years only makes him more of a favorite to win. The Best Supporting Actor category is a tough one with competition including Michael Fassbender and Bradley Cooper, but Oscar loves rewarding those who triumph in ballsy roles and, even better, ones that are based on real life people.
“Philomena:” Not as widely seen or publicized as “Dallas Buyers Club” but packs just as much of an emotional punch. In the film, Philomena Lee, played by Academy Award winner and multiple nominee Judi Dench, has but one regret and that’s never having looked for the son who was taken from her when she was a teen mother relegated to a nunnery in Ireland.
The film follows flashbacks of when she lost her son and the present day when she pairs up with a journalist (Steve Coogan) for the search. Finding out her son was gay during her quest is only part of the story and the film gives a subtle message of acceptance along with a lovely, personal story of facing up to life-long regrets. And, above all else, Dench gives an underplayed, emotional performance that could bring her a statuette to place next to the one she won for “Shakespeare In Love” back in 1999.
“American Hustle:” The film itself doesn’t have an LGBT angle but it does have one of the best, surprising moments in this crop of films. In the David O. Russell Best Picture nominee, Jennifer Lawrence, playing the unhinged wife of Christian Bale, confronts Amy Adams, who is Bale’s other woman, in the bathroom during an important business meeting.
After the women exchange barbs, Lawrence surprisingly kisses Adams full on the mouth. In this case, the fact that the kiss isn’t sexual or that the story suddenly veers into sexual identity is to its credit. Instead, the kiss is about the surprise as well as Lawrence’s mistreated wife taking her own control of a risky situation. Lawrence and Adams are nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress, respectively.
The 86th Academy Awards airs Sunday at 7pm EST on ABC.