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The Queer Oscar History That Sean Penn Might Join


If Sean Penn walks away with a golden statue during Sunday’s Oscars, it’ll be the seventh Academy Award handed out for an actor playing a GLBT role. Do you know the six previous wins?

• William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman
• Tom Hanks in Philadelphia
• Nicole Kidman in The Hours
• Charlize Theron in Monster
• Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
• Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, which to our knowledge is the only Oscar handed out for someone playing a transgender role

As the LAT notes, John Gielgud did win for Arthur, but while the actor was openly gay, his character of the “uppity butler/valet … wasn’t technically gay.”

On:           Feb 17, 2009
Tagged: , , ,
    • Eminent Victorian

      Someday maybe there’ll be a win for an LGBT character not involving death or jail.

      Feb 17, 2009 at 2:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • REBELComx

      @Eminent Victorian: Or an LGBT character actually played by an LGBT actor.

      Feb 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark M.

      Didn’t Cher win for Silkwood? Or are you not counting supporting actors? Oh, wait, she just got nominated; didn’t win.

      Feb 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom Bacchus

      Hollywood loves its tragic dead gay characters.

      Feb 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC

      Truly amazing that no openly gay actor or actress is offered to play leading straight roles, let alone gay roles, the flimsy excuse being that in doing so, studios wouldn’t make a profit. Sir Ian McKellan hit the nail on the head when he said Hollywood is homophobic, unlike its European counterparts. I don’t see that changing. Is it no wonder Proposition 8 passed in a climate such as that? Its always been that way and it always will be, at least in this country.

      Feb 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe

      @Robert – I’m not so sure about “always”. While Europe is certainly more advanced (slightly) in these areas, I’m not so sure that the UK is all that far ahead of us and a model to emulate or strive for in this area.

      Feb 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC


      Sebbe, it depends on your point of view. In terms of advancement, I know of no openly gay American actor who has received a leading role in a film, let alone received accolades from the American film-going public or the president of the U.S. for that matter. I can’t even recall any gay American actor ever receiving an award for services to the cultural life of this country at the Kennedy Center, can you? If there have been any, please enlighten me and my apologies for any oversight.

      Feb 18, 2009 at 8:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe

      Didn’t Sondheim receive a lifetime achievement award at the Kennedy Center? I’m not sure and not in front of a computer at the moment.

      As far as the president, I’m not sure I agree that is the role or should be of the United State President to be giving accolades on such trivial matters as movies. As far as I know, Downing Street does not either, but I may be incorrect.

      I will admit I am not a huge fan of movies and rarely watch anything that comes out of Hollywood. While we always seem to be commenting at each other, I suspect we have more in common than differences. I suspect you might also be trained in the legal field?

      Feb 18, 2009 at 8:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC


      Sebbe, Steven Sondheim is a theatrical producer, not an actor and as far as I know, never officially came out.

      Downing Street does in fact give recognition to actors/actresses and others associated with services to the culture of the country gay or straight in the form of Knighthoods such as …..Ian McKellan (openly gay), Judi Dench, John Gielgud (gay), Simon Callow (openly gay), Diana Rigg, Joan Plowright, Laurence Olivier (gay), Michael Redgrave (gay), Denham Elliot (openly gay), Maggy Smith and others to name but a few. Knighthoods are recommended by the cultural affairs department of government and presented to the monarch for conferring the title at Buckingham Palace. Simon Callow actually came out on stage during a performance and received a standing ovation by the audience.

      Feb 18, 2009 at 8:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe

      Oh true, I forgot the recommendations are made by the cultural affairs department. I’m not aware of any similar government acknowledgment in the states though?

      Steven Sondheim never came out? Oh, I just assumed.

      Again, I don’t personally feel that it is the place of the government to be involved in such matters and I am a liberal social democrat. Can’t imagine what the opinion of those on the right would say. I would also suggest that all minorities are in a similar position in regards to accolades. I can’t think of an Asian American, Native American or Hispanic off the top of my head.

      Feb 18, 2009 at 9:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC


      Sebbe, no, the US does not have a government department for the arts and cultural affairs, unlike most European parliamentary systems. Governments there fund the arts no matter which government is in power.

      As far as I know, Sondheim never came out publicly but has been generally assumed he is.

      As for those on the right, unlike in Europe and elsewhere, they don’t believe in government funding of anything with the exception of course of the military, fire and police departments, public education system, public libraries, medicare, medicaid, social security and other socialized programs. Somewhat of a doublestandard and hypocrisy on their part. Right wingers are notorious for cherry-picking this or that to suit or advanced its agenda.

      Feb 18, 2009 at 11:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe

      Agree – I actually am tempted to agree with Bill Maher on his opinion that the government has no place funding the National Endowment for the Arts. You cannot stop art and government funding like that just makes it political and open to corruption IMO. Of course under the current state of things, I’m also tempted to say the repubs get all this money for all their crap so we’ll take whatever we can get.

      Feb 18, 2009 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC


      I disagree with Bill on that but what I am vehemently opposed to is government funding of faith-based organizations in any way shape or form. Belief in a cult system is one of personal choice, nobody comes into this world “religious” and as such is a chosen lifestyle. Government should not be in the business of propping up religion based business, organizations or denominations in any manner, let alone belief systems or lifestyles. Nor should it be in the business of issuing marriage licenses to people who choose to have a religious wedding either. I also strongly object to a bible, quran or other religious books being used to swear in witnesses giving evidence at trials or political officials being sworn into office. Its irrelevant, unnecessary and as far as I’m concerned, in direct conflict with the constitution.

      Feb 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe

      @Robert, NYC – agree, agree, agree!!

      Feb 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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