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The 2019 Oscars Are About to be Queer AF

Melissa McCarthy and Olivia Colman

And so it begins: Oscar season. On Tuesday morning, Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani announced the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominations for their coveted Academy Awards.  In many ways, this is a queerer Oscar year than ever before. Plenty of LGBTQ films are nominated for best picture and plenty of actors are nominated for playing LGBTQ roles. But, of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean there was queer talent writing or playing these roles. Either way, there’s a lot to celebrate. Here’s a quick rundown of the queer highlights from this year’s Oscar nominations:

Best Picture
For the first year ever, half of the films nominated for best picture are either LGBTQ inclusive or deal with LGBTQ themes in some way. As GLAAD announced on their Twitter account, Green Book, The Favourite, A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody all either deal with queerness or include LGBTQ characters in their cast.

Regina King, Best Supporting Actress, If Beale Street Could Talk
We don’t know if you’ve officially filed your stan card for the three-time Emmy Award-winning actress, but if you haven’t, there’s still time. King, the definition of a veteran working actress, has finally made her way to the Oscar circle and could leave the night halfway to EGOT.

Mahershala Ali, Best Supporting Actor, Green Book
While Green Book has plenty of controversy surrounding several of the white men involved — Peter Farrelly’s #MeToo accusations, Nick Vallelonga’s support for Trump’s anti-Muslim lies, and Viggo Mortensen’s blatant use of the n-word in public — that shouldn’t detract from the work of Ali, who plays Black queer pianist Dr. Donald Shirley.

The Favourite
The queer love triangle-slash-power struggle dark comedy from Yargos Lanthimos got a lot of love from the Academy, with nominations for all three of its actresses — Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz in supporting and Olivia Colman in lead — as well as several other awards. Yorgos Lanthimos was recognized for his directing, while the film was also recognized for its screenplay, editing, cinematography, production design and more. If you haven’t seen it yet, get thee to a cinema!

Lady Gaga — Best Original Song, “Shallow” and Best Actress
Gaga walked out of Tuesday with two nominations to her name: one for writing “Shallow” in best original song and another for her lead role in A Star Is Born. Expect her to walk away with at least one statue come February.

A Star Is Born
While Gaga received two nominations, the film overall succeeded in several categories, including best picture, best actress, best actor, best adapted screenplay and best cinematography. Sadly, Cooper did not make the directors’ category for his directorial debut, but we’re sure he’ll have plenty other opportunities in the future.

Rami Malek, Best Actor, Bohemian Rhapsody
There’s been plenty of controversy surrounding Bohemian Rhapsody’s portrayal of its focus, the queer, HIV-positive rock star Freddie Mercury. And while the film has garnered plenty of criticism, most people, and the Academy, love Malek’s portrayal of Mercury. Expect this to be another instance of a straight person walking away with an Oscar for playing queer and HIV positive — we’re looking at you, Jared Leto.  

Glenn Close, The Wife
After decades in the movie biz, workhorse actress Glenn Close has the momentum to go all the way in the best actress category for her work in The Wife. But, hey, last time she went up against a rock star turned actress — Cher in Moonstruck — the results did not land in her favor. But we’re pretty sure she has it sewn up.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? — Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay
By many accounts the queerest film of the year, Can You Ever Forgive Me? landed three major nominations. Melissa McCarthy was able to land a spot in a crowded best actress field for playing lesbian author Lee Israel, while Richard E. Grant (aka the manager in Spice World) was recognized for playing her best friend, Jack Hock. (P.S., a Grant win would also mean another instance of a straight man winning for playing gay and HIV positive.)

Barry Jenkins, Best Screenplay, If Beale Street Could Talk
No, Jenkins is not queer and neither is the subject matter in Beale Street, but it’s nice to see Jenkins back in the running after his 2016 film Moonlight won best picture. And hey, Beale Street got more love than Damien Chazelle’s La La Land follow up, First Man, so he really did win, right? Hashtag petty.

All the Best Original Song Nominees except The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Looking at the list of song nominees — it’s kinda lit? Of course there’s Lady Gaga’s “Shallow,” but there’s also Diane Warren (who wrote “Why Did You Do That?” from A Star Is Born, which should be nominated) for “I’ll Fight,” sung by Jennifer Hudson from the documentary RBG. And the requisite Disney song, “The Place Where the Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns. Glad to see Poppins pop up, though not for one of the film’s better songs. And of course, SZA is now an oscar nominee (along with Kendrick Lamar) for “All the Stars” from Black Panther.

Hannah Beachler, Best Production Design, Black Panther
Listen, Hannah Beachler is now the first Black person EVER to be nominated in the production design category. Her previous credits include Moonlight and … *checks notes* … a small, independent film that debuted on HBO called Lemonade starring Beyonce. #GiveBeachlerHerOscar

Related | Sis, the 2019 Oscar Nominations Are Here 

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