We now live in a world in which Lady Gaga is not only a Golden Globe-winning actress, but also an Academy Award-nominated songwriter. This morning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Gaga and fellow queer recording artist Sam Smith along with LGBT-themed films Carol and The Danish Girl with Oscar nominations.
Gaga received a nod for best original song for cowriting (with Diane Warren) “Til It Happens to You,” from The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape on U.S. college campuses. Smith was rewarded similarly for his booming Bond theme “Writing’s on the Wall,” from Spectre. The Danish Girl, the beautifully-photographed, but perhaps too polite tale of real-life trans artist Lily El, received nominations for stars Eddie Redmayne as best actor and Alicia Vikander as best supporting actress, as well as nods for best costume design and best production design. Carol, another very polite and emotionally chilly queer film, this one directed by Todd Haynes and based on Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian-themed novel The Price of Salt, received nominations for Cate Blanchett as best actress and Rooney Mara as best supporting actress, in addition to best adapted screenplay, best costume design, best original score and best cinematography, although not for best picture or best director, as some expected.
Although there’s justifiable criticism aimed at the Academy this morning due to the complete exclusion (just like last year) of people of color from the list of acting nominees (Idris Elba and Michael B. Jordan were both deserving for Beasts of No Nation and Creed, respectively), there were many happy surprises, as well. Among them is the first acting nomination for veteran film star Charlotte Rampling, up for best actress for her haunting turn as a woman coming to terms with her husband’s past in 45 Years, the latest from gay director Andrew Haigh, known for Weekend and Looking. Tom Hardy, a ridiculously handsome performer who likes to cuddle but who has been very controversial in the LGBTQ communities, received a best supporting actor nod for his work in the grim wilderness epic The Revenant. The moving romantic drama Brooklyn, one of last years best-reviewed films, received an expected nomination for Saoirse Ronan, as best actress, but less anticipated nods for best picture and adapted screenplay. Room, an intense psychological drama based on the award-winning novel by out writer Emma Donoghue, earned recognition for best picture, director Lenny Abrahamson and best adapted screenplay. Spotlight, about the Boston Globe‘s investigation into the Catholic Church’s cover-up of molestation of young boys by priests, received six nods including best picture, director, supporting actress for Rachel McAdams, best supporting actor for Mark Ruffalo, best film editing and best original screenplay.
UPDATE: We missed this previously, but major kudos go to Antony Hegarty, the vocalist for Antony and the Johnsons, nominated for best original song for “Manta Ray” from the documentary Racing Extinction. Hegarty is believed to be the very first out trans person to ever be nominated for an Oscar.
Read the full list of nominees here and sound off on snubs and surprises in the comments section.