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LGBTQ Films, Actors Shine at Oscars

Academy Awards success follows community’s big showing at Golden Globes

Billy Porter poses before the beginning of the Oscars on Sunday in Los Angeles.
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LGBTQ stars and those playing queer on screen arrived at the Oscars Sunday night well-dressed and left well-decorated, capping off an historic year of queer representation in the film industry.

“Pose” star Billy Porter set — well, nearly stole — the scene with his tuxedo dress, which seems to have been in honor of a similar outfit worn by the late Hector Xtravaganza, who passed away late last year at 60, having made a name for himself decades ago in New York City’s queer ballroom scene.

LGBTQ-related films performed very well throughout the evening. “Green Book,” about gay pianist Don Shirley, yielded Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Mahershala Ali nabbed the award for Actor in a Supporting Role after he earned Oscars honors two years ago thanks to his role in another LGBTQ-themed film, “Moonlight.”

Rami Malek received an Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role for playing Freddie Mercury — the late queer singer from the rock band Queen — in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which collected other awards including Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Film Editing.

That film’s success has been overshadowed by a scandal involving its out gay director, Bryan Singer, who was booted from the film amid multiple allegations of sexual assault.

Olivia Colman won Best Actress after starring as Queen Anne in “The Favourite,” a role that required her to juggle romances with women played by Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. Stone and Weisz both landed nominations for Actress in a Supporting Role.

Bisexual music icon Lady Gaga received an Oscar for Best Original Song thanks to her music and lyrics in “Shallow,” for the film “A Star is Born.” After winning the Oscar, Gaga spoke to Australian news outlet news.com.au and said she hoped fans at the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney would “feel a joy.”

“What I would like to say is: one of the hardest things in life is to be brave enough to be yourself,” she said before adding that her co-star, Bradley Cooper, said he wishes “to everyone that is going to that celebration to feel a joy inside of them.

“He said, ‘Let’s just drop a little bit of joy.’ And I said, ‘Okay’. And turns out, joy did a whole lot for me… I hope that everyone there in Sydney feels so much joy and celebrates all sexual identities.”

Gaga added a message of inclusivity when she said she dreams of awards shows that do not adhere to strict gender norms.

“I also have a true dream in our future as we evolve as humanity that these award shows will not be male and female but that we include everyone,” she said.

LGBTQ actresses Sarah Paulson, Amandla Stenberg, and Tessa Thompson presented awards, and out gay composer Marc Shaiman performed onstage with Bette Midler for his nominated song “Where the Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns.”

Out gay music star Adam Lambert and Queen opened the show by performing a tribute to Mercury, whose image was displayed for all to see.

The promising showing of LGBTQ-related films at the Oscars followed similar success at the Golden Globes earlier this year. “Bohemian Rhapsody” won Best Motion Picture — Drama, while “Green Book” was awarded for Best Motion Picture —Musical or Comedy. Colman received Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, and Ali won Best Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role for “Green Book.”

“Pose,” which focuses on the queer ballroom scene in New York City in the 1980s, was nominated for Golden Globe Awards but did not win.

Updated 12:09 pm, February 26, 2019
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