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13 Straight Actors Who Won Awards for Playing Queer Roles
Hollywood loves queer stories. Why not queer actors?
Don't get us wrong: we love seeing LGBTQ+ narratives on screen. But we would be remiss not to mention the fact that a lot of film and television's most well-known — and awarded — queer roles are, more often than not, going to non-queer actors. It's a step in the right direction to see more and more LGBTQ+ stories, but considering that out actors don't get as many opportunities as their straight colleagues, we still have a long, long way to go when it comes to fair and accurate representation.
Here are a bunch of straight actors who took home gold after playing queer on screen.
The beloved actor took home the trophy for Best Lead Actor during the 95th annual Academy Awards in 2023 for playing a solitary, gay, 600-pound English professor named Charlie who is trying to reconnect with his biological daughter despite being estranged from his family after falling in love with another man.
The two-time Academy Award winner took home the Best Leading Actress award at the 2023s BAFTAs (the British equivalent of the Oscars) for playing an abusive lesbian conductor in Todd Field's psychological drama Tár.
After playing gay fashion icon Halston in Netflix's eponymous limited series, McGregor took home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie during the 73rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 2021.
Colman won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2019 after starring in The Favourite as Queen Anne of England. In the film, Anne had love affairs with two women in her court, played by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.
Sean Penn won his second Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 2009 after playing famous gay rights activist and California's first openly gay elected official Harvey Milk in Milk.
Hilary Swank won her first oscar in 2000 for her portrayal of Brandon Teena, a trans man who was brutually murdered in Nebraska, in Boys Don't Cry.
Charlize Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2004 for her role as bisexual serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster.
Bening won a Golden Globe in 2011 for her role as Nic, a lesbian mother raising two teens with her bisexual wife (played by Julianne Moore), in The Kids Are All Right.
Ali won his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2019 after playing gay pianist Dr. Don Shirley in the controversial film Green Book.
Leto won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2014 for his role in Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon, an HIV-positive trans woman.
Darren Criss won a Primetime Emmy in 2018 and a Golden Globe in 2019 after playing gay, Filipino-American serial killer Andrew Cunanan in FX's The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. He has since said he that will no longer be playing gay roles so that more openly gay actors can have a chance at them.
Nicole Kidman won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2003 after she starred in The Hours as acclaimed lesbian writer Virginia Woolf.
20th Century Fox
Malek won the Oscar for Best Actor in 2019 for playing bisexual rock icon and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the controversial biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.