This could finally be the year where we have an out queer Oscar winner for acting! (Yes, some actors came out after they won, but never before.)
Let’s start with the probable runners-up. The openly bisexual Lady Gaga has been gathering a lot of momentum for her deft performance as the manipulative and downright deadly Patrizia Gucci in House of Gucci. Sorry, haters, but Gaga was Golden Globe-nominated, is SAG nominated, and was crowned Best Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle–and she got the accent right!
I’m not predicting her to win the Oscar (and neither is Madonna, lol), but if she does, she will be an openly queer actor copping the gold. And she’s already got a Best Song Oscar (for “Shallow”) to sweeten the queer pot, so there.
And then we have Kristen Stewart, whose chances diminished when the SAG awards snubbed her this past week, though she is still considered in the Oscar running. If she manages to win Best Actress for her performance as Lady Di in Spencer, she’ll be an openly queer winner of an acting Oscar and a royal history maker. She will also be the first one whose performance I wasn’t enamored of since Loretta Young for The Farmer’s Daughter in 1948, lol.
But it would be great to have the Best Actress winner take the podium and thank the woman she’s engaged to, for a change. That alone would make the telecast more watchable than the entirety of last year’s heavy-handed travesty–just like Spencer is made more watchable by a scene that involves some distinct queer yearning. (I won’t give it away—just like a certain character doesn’t give it away.)
But the winner of “Best Chance To Be The First Openly Queer Oscar Acting Winner” goes to Ariana DeBose for her fiery supporting performance as Anita in West Side Story (a role that nabbed the gold for Best Supporting Actress Rita Moreno in 1962.) The openly queer Ariana won the Golden Globe, is up for a SAG, and already landed kudos as the lesbian’s girlfriend in The Prom and in a cabaret show I reviewed here last year. “Okay by me in America” if she wins!
By the way, the “first openly queer acting winner” title could arguably have been held by John Gielgud, who was outed when he got busted for “cottaging” (cruising a public toilet) in 1953 as the original George Michael. But the story was quickly dropped from the press and Gielgud didn’t publicly mention anything about being gay until 1988, seven years after his Oscar-winning turn in Arthur.
When he nabbed the trophy, America didn’t know this effeminate genius was gay–they just figured he was British! As for Linda Hunt, a lot of people didn’t even know she was a woman when she played her 1982 Oscar-winning role of a man in The Year of Living Dangerously! In reality, Hunt is a lesbian who lives with her wife, but she doesn’t speak about it in the press. So bring it home, Ariana and Kristen or Gaga. Let’s make this a her-storic night.
And here’s one last thought on the subject: If Will Smith wins Best Actor for King Richard, he can also be dubbed “Best Actor In An Open Marriage, With Two Queer Kids, Who Once Played A Gay Hustler But Refused To Kiss A Man On Screen.”
TIDBITS FROM THE EDGE
Moving on to a future Oscar hopeful: Julio Torres is working on a film starring Oscar winner Tilda Swinton. The script is untitled and hush-hush at this point, but I hear trans and other queer actors do get their moment.…
Clearly angling for an award for self-martyrization, a gay singer named Lovari has publicly complained that “If you happened to vote for Trump, everyone hates you and looks down on you.”
But we knew what a bilious con artist Trump was and what he was capable of doing, if elected. Let’s see: Trump put through a sh*tstorm of anti-LGBTQ legislation, reversing the advances that Obama/Biden had put in, which included anti-discrimination protection in healthcare. (Biden has dutifully reversed a lot of the reversals.) Trump also instituted an absurd ban on trans people in the military, which Biden also promptly undid. Furthermore, Trump praised white supremacists, flattered dictators, implied that he wanted to be one, invented an ongoing “election fraud” that has cost lives and almost cost our democracy, held off on trying to end the January 6th attack for hours, held back the transition, wanted a wall built against imaginary Mexican rapists, is multiply accused of rape himself, purposely downplayed covid as hundreds of thousands of people died, told a reporter to take off his mask, made fun of a disabled journalist, sued to keep his taxes hidden, was twice impeached for stuff like abuse of power and obstruction, and put in Supreme Court justices that have now pulled the mooring out from under abortion rights, to name just one crucial issue. (Same-sex marriage will surely be on the hot seat again too before you know it.)
So, while bullying is not cool, arguing back definitely is, and furthermore, I had no problem whatsoever in blocking this person. And any MAGAs who complain of victimization remind me of Christians who say gays are going to hell, then call us intolerant for objecting to that stance.
RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT
But here’s some Broadway-style controversy, for my 11 o’clock number: In August, Tony winning actor Alice Ripley (Next To Normal) was accused by various women with mental health issues of having manipulated them when they were teen fans of hers. They said Ripley preyed on their vulnerability and they felt ghosted when her attention waned, but Ripley—while apologizing for any hurt feelings—denied trying to harm them in any way and deplored the word “grooming,” which was being tossed around; it implies some kind of setup for sexual abuse, which never happened. Jump ahead and now, Ripley has started a gofundme campaign titled “Defamation of Character,” which aims to raise $150,000 for her legal fees. Ripley started the ball rolling with her own $25 donation, but others have kicked in too, swayed by her statement, “I was forced out of my community and employment because of unsubstantiated claims and libelous statements made about me. Your donation will be used for lawyer fees.” But the donations seem to have stalled at only $1770, and I actually think it’s because, while a significant number of Broadway people feel Alice has gotten a bum rap, they’re too nervous to publicly put their names on that. In any case, the upcoming court case–if it happens–should be more than just good theater.
How is Lady Gaga “queer”? She’s is lying about being bisexual.
Paris in Santiago
My close friend Elizabeth would like to call you out on the lying part. Lady Gaga is DEFINITELY bisexual, as Liz can testify! ?
My friend, Lie Often, also claims that the Covid shot caused his balls to grow as large as bowling balls.
Stewart is anti Hollywood- always showed disdain for the business, that’s why she didn’t get a SAG nomination (all noms from actors) and the likely reason if she doesn’t get an Oscar nom.
The reason she’s overlooked is not because she’s anti-Hollywood or openly queer, it’s because she’s a piss-poor actress.
Even if you don’t think she’s much of an actress or hated her movie, anyone who’s famous, got those types of reviews, got plenty of Oscar buzz and played a very iconic and well known person, that’d be a shoo-in for an Oscar nod. Personal opinions aside. That’s just how the industry works. There’s clearly other reasons beyond talent for her not being fully embraced. I’m thinking it’s mostly that Stewart isn’t perceived as likable or marketable, is perceived as privileged, and Diana has already become a well worn topic in entertainment at this point. Those things, along with some seeing her as not talented is why she was snubbed for the SAG.
Kristen Stewart is hardly a “piss-poor actress.” She was excellent in The Clouds of Sils Maria, Seberg and Personal Shopper. I haven’t seen Spencer yet, but she has come a long way from those Twilight films!
Lady Gaga quite a few years ago claimed that she’s had some same-sex attractions. But she’s never embraced a “bi” identity, never really embraced being seen as “queer”, and all of her public relationships have been with cis men. It’s a percentage of her fans who have presented her as “queer” and keep pushing that, not really Gaga herself. While probably at least half of the entertainment industry has some dimensions, fluidity, is in the gender, sexual, affection, romantic, emotion, commitment spectrum. And there’s barely a mainstream female pop performer of the last 20 years who haven’t presented themselves as into chicks to whatever degree. Singling out Lady Gaga as “queer representation” probably means you should single out damn near everyone.
Nicole Kidman appears to be the front-runner for BA right now, with an outside chance for Coleman or Gaga. Though these awards shows have been so messy and random these past few years. So, it’s impossible to say who’s gonna win that stuff.
She may be a gay icon, but Gaga was horrible in the Gucci film. Horrible accent, horrible acting, horrible film. I have spoken.
Believe me: literally NO ONE was waiting with bated breath for your announcement…..
are you a pregnant old woman?
You just wrote Trump’s biography in a nutshell lol. You got it wrong about Lovari though. He gave money to a bunch of Pride organizations from his album but then thanked Trump for passing a music bill and that’s where the bullying statement came from.
Kristen Stewart may be “queer” but she’s barely an actress. Poor thing struggles to achieve more than two facial expressions in any film, and Spencer is a train wreck. I’m baffled by the hype.
Paris in Santiago
@ Ronbo: you’re not funny, smart nor connected. Hurts you a lot to be small in the world, yeah?
So glad to see a new Michael Musto post!
I love Lady Gaga in general but her performance in the Gucci film was a hot mess. She gives drama, for sure, but a bit too much at times.
I haven’t seen Kristen Stewart in Spencer but she has come a long way as an actor. I don’t doubt her performance is worth seeing.
I also haven’t seen West Side Story but people are raving about Ariana DeBose’s performance. The film itself is retrograde but if she turns out her role, give her the Oscar.
In terms of Best Oscar Winners, let’s not forget Marlon Brando, admittedly pansexual, who won two Best Actor Oscars, for On the Waterfront (1954) and The Godfather (1972). (He should have won a third for A Streetcar Named Desire.) Wasn’t Charles Laughton allegedly gay? He received a Best Actor Oscar for The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). Then there’s the disgraced, self-proclaimed gay actor Kevin Spacey, who won a Best Actor Oscar in 1999 for American Beauty and Best Supporting for the Usual Suspects in 1995. There are certainly more out actors (Joel Gray, Jodie Foster, Anna Paquin, Angelina Jolie, etc.) and others like Laurence Olivier, revealed to have had an affair with a man, in other Oscar categories to add to this list.
I’m sure they were trying to highlight modern stars who were unabashedly, publicly out when they won the Oscar. Even then, Gaga wouldn’t be the first. I’m sure Cate Blanchett claimed to have some fluidity before winning her Leading Oscar. While if Benedict Cumberbatch wins, he has hinted to messing around with guys. But who knows how much that had to do with not wanting backlash for being a “straight presenting” actor winning awards for a “queer” role. Ultimately, Hollywood, whether they publicly express it nor not, is full of people with dimensions, people in the queer spectrum, people in the gender, sexual, affection, romantic, commitment spectrum. And many of those folks have won awards. So, it really shouldn’t be seen as a big deal for an actor who has claimed to not be exactly “straight” to win some awards. It’s especially a reach with Gaga, who hasn’t ever really embraced a “queer” identity and has only had hetero public relationships. That doesn’t mean that the industry still isn’t full of hetero pressures and closet pressures (especially for ‘sexy’ male actors), queer insecurities, internalized phobias, glass ceilings, etc.
I liked the remake of West Side Story. It’s one of my few favorite movies from last year. And I say that as someone who’s not a huge fan of the original outside of a handful of scenes.
None of those actors were openly queer at the time they won, and some were never openly queer. Brando said he had had sex with men in one interview, framing it as “I, too, have had homosexual experiences, and I am not ashamed.” (It was way more than that, but just saying, he wasn’t pansexual or openly anything.)
@MatthewRettenmund, I’m not sure if you read Michael Musto’s article, but he made the point that actors like Gielgud and Hunt did not reveal their sexual orientations or identifications until after they had won, so the list I gave follows from this point. I thought it was clear enough. Also, Marlon Brando did publicly affirm that he had sex with men (hell, Richard Pryor’s widow confirmed that Brando and Pryor slept together, and Pryor wasn’t the only one) and we know about the women (many of them), so he was open about it in a way many still are not.
I think Ladt Gaga should be nominated for an Oscar every year whether she makes a movie or not.
They haven’t awarded the Oscars yet. Remember Brokeback Mountain was supposed to easily win and it got “Crash”ed by some homophobic academy members
Lovari never said that. He’s a huge supporter of the gay community.
Lady Gaga is queer/bi like David Bowie was. He claimed to be in one or two youthful interviews while he was cultivating an ambiguous/edgy image, but a lifetime of exclusive interest in the opposite sex kind of told a different story.
As for Kristin Stewart being awarded for Spencer, there’s about as much chance of that as there was for Faye Dunaway winning for Mommie Dearest. It’s a bonkers, over-the-top, everything-AND-the-kitchen-sink performance that lives in the same space as the camp craziness of Dunaway’s turn. She gets kudos for going there – especially after a string of seriously dull performances in dull movies – but don’t expect fellow actors in the Academy to salute the absolute opposite of nuanced acting.
Michael do your homework, you are a good writer but this was lazy. although I do think GAG will wen for Gucci, she isn’t eve even close to bi saying you hooked up with a couple of girls over 12 years ago isn’t being bi its called a college girl phase. Also she said herself she doesn’t represent the community they represent themselves so that’s agani her r saying she’s straight She has only been lined to men, So nice try kids but GAGA ain’t bi I should know I am one
if these are the two choice and sexuality aside neither will win as neither were that good.
Wtf did u get that fake news about Lovari from???