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.