‘ARGAY’ and our gays at the OS­CARS

your LGBT guide to the Academy Awards

GA Voice - - A&e - By Steve War­ren

“Did you watch the Su­per Bowl?” a friend asked. “It’s not ‘til the 24th,” I replied. Oh, I knew what he meant, and I watched Bey­oncé’s half­time show, but he has his Su­per Bowl and I have mine.

Mine is the Academy Awards, the 85th edi­tion of which takes prece­dence over any world events on Feb. 24.

The Os­cars are never as gay as the Tonys, since Broad­way’s queers have long been more open than Hol­ly­wood’s; but maybe hav­ing gay power cou­ple Craig Zadan and Neil Meron pro­duc­ing for the first time will nar­row the gap.

There are no LGBT stan­dard bear­ers among this year’s nom­i­nated films, no “Broke­back Moun­tain,” “Milk” or “The Kids Are All Right.” It’s “Argo,” not “Argay,” but you can still find plenty to root for if you look be­tween the lines and around the edges.

The high­est-pro­file out nom­i­nee is Tony Kush­ner (“An­gels in Amer­ica”), nom­i­nated for Best Adapted Screen­play for “Lin­coln,” which has the most nominations (12) over­all.

Kush­ner missed the op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress ru­mors that our 16th pres­i­dent was less-than-hon­est Abe when it came to his sex­u­al­ity, and has sug­gested in in­ter­views that it was ir­rel­e­vant be­cause Lin­coln was post-sex­ual by 1865. (At 56? Well, peo­ple didn’t live so long then.)

It was ob­vi­ous (to me at least) in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Un­chained” that plan­ta­tion owner Leonardo DiCaprio was in a long term re­la­tion­ship with his Un­cle Tom of a house slave, Sa­muel L. Jack­son; maybe the first time a movie has ex­plored a gay master/slave cou­ple, how­ever obliquely, in a his­tor­i­cal con­text.

The most sig­nif­i­cant in­stance of LGBT in­clu­sion in the movies of 2012 was the coming out of a ma­jor sup­port­ing char­ac­ter in the PG-rated, an­i­mated “Para­Nor­man,” which is in es­sen­tially a three-way race (against “Franken­wee­nie” and “Wreck-It Ralph”) for Best An­i­mated Fea­ture.

What’s mo­men­tous is that it was no big whoop, in the movie or the world’s re­ac­tion to it. A few years ago church groups and politi­cians would have been up in arms over “the in­doc­tri­na­tion of our chil­dren as part of the Ho­mo­sex­ual Agenda.”

David France and Howard Gertler’s “How to Sur­vive a Plague,” about the rise of AIDS ac­tivism in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, is in a tight race for Best Doc­u­men­tary Fea­ture.

Best For­eign Lan­guage Film is sure to go to mul­ti­ple nom­i­nee “Amour”; but in the Dan­ish con­tender, the his­tor­i­cal drama “A Royal Af­fair,” Enevold Brandt (played by Cy­ron Bjørn Melville), a mem­ber of King Chris­tian VII’s court, is called a “fruit” and a “fairy,” at least in the sub­ti­tles. He de­nies it but seems pretty ob­vi­ous with­out act­ing ef­fem­i­nate.

“Les Misérables” isn’t gay, de­spite the campy shenani­gans of Sacha Baron Co­hen and He­lena Bon­ham Carter, but it’s a Broad­way mu­si­cal so we’ll claim it.

Af­ter sweep­ing the guild awards, “Argo” is likely to take Best Pic­ture, but there are only two sure things on Os­car Night (be­sides “Amour,” as noted). Daniel Day-Lewis will win Best Ac­tor for “Lin­coln,” and when Bar­bra Streisand sings live at the Os­cars for the first time since her “Ev­er­green” won Best Song in 1977, some­one will start a ru­mor that she lip-synced.

Adding to the diva quo­tient are Adele and No­rah Jones singing nom­i­nated songs and Dame Shirley Bassey belt­ing themes in a James Bond trib­ute. (Did I men­tion that two gay men are pro­duc­ing the show?)

Of course there are sev­eral LGBT nom­i­nees in be­hind-the-scenes cat­e­gories (in-

There are no LGBT stan­dard bear­ers among this year’s nom­i­nated films, no ‘Broke­back Moun­tain,’ ‘Milk’ or ‘The Kids Are All Right.’ It’s ‘Argo,’ not ‘Argay,’ but you can still find plenty to root for.

clud­ing “Les Miz” pro­ducer Cameron Mack­in­tosh). We won’t know about them un­less they win and kiss their part­ners or ac­knowl­edge them in their ac­cep­tance speeches.

Note­wor­thy but not nom­i­nated

Also note­wor­thy from an LGBT stand­point are some peo­ple and films that weren’t nom­i­nated, con­trary to ex­pec­ta­tions and, in some cases, recog­ni­tion from other groups.

Javier Bar­dem’s vil­lain in “Sky­fall” put moves on James Bond. That should be worth some kind of Os­car, as should Bond’s re­sponse, “Who said it would be the first time?”

First-rate, third-billed Ezra Miller re­vealed dur­ing pro­mo­tional rounds that he’s as gay as Pa­trick, the char­ac­ter he played in “The Perks of Be­ing a Wallflower.”

Coming out as trans­gen­der was Lana Wa­chowski, one of three writer-direc­tors of “Cloud Atlas,” which fea­tured a gay ro­mance be­tween Ben Whishaw and James D’Arcy as one of its mul­ti­ple story lines. D’Arcy also played gay as An­thony Perkins in “Hitch­cock.”

While Lin­coln stayed clos­eted, Eleanor Roo­sevelt was outed in “Hyde Park on Hud­son,” where it was noted that she and Franklin “lived sep­a­rate lives.” Lorena Hickok was men­tioned as one of the “friends of Eleanor” FDR called “she-men.” (“Friends of Eleanor” could be code for les­bians, as “Friends of Dorothy” is for gay men.)

Also over­looked were Jack Black as the gay ti­tle char­ac­ter in “Bernie” and Matthew McConaughey, sup­port­ing him in “Bernie,” be­ing naked in “Magic Mike” and (spoiler alert!) play­ing gay in “The Pa­per­boy”; the doc­u­men­tary “Bully,” about schoolkids be­ing picked on for var­i­ous rea­sons, in­clud­ing their ori­en­ta­tion; and “The Best Ex­otic Marigold Ho­tel,” with gay se­nior Tom Wilkin­son trav­el­ing to In­dia to look up the boy­hood crush he’s loved all his life.

Os­car host Seth MacFarlane, a Best Song nom­i­nee, kept the cheer­fully of­fen­sive gay jokes coming in “Ted,” and showed his heart was in the right place with a gay-pos­i­tive end­ing that in­cluded a sur­prise cameo.

We may not have many chances to cheer for Team LGBT at this year’s Os­cars, but how can you think of not watch­ing?

Above: ‘How to Sur­vive a Plague,’ a sear­ing doc­u­men­tary about the early days of HIV, is nom­i­nated for the Academy Award for Doc­u­men­tary Fea­ture. (Photo courtesy the In­de­pen­dent Film Chan­nel) Left: Tony Kush­ner, who adapted the screen­play for ‘Lin­coln,’ is this year’s high­est-pro­file out nom­i­nee. (Photo by Ed Rit­ger/Com­mon­wealth Club/CC 2.0)

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