More gays at the Emmys!

The Hofstadter InsufficiencyLast week, I pointed out some gay honorees and content at the creative arts portion of the 65th annual Emmy Awards, and last night, the big guns turned out … and once again, there was gay aplenty.

Chief among them: Out actor Jim Parsons, pictured, took home his third Emmy for lead actor in a comedy series as the repressed genius Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. Modern Family once again took best comedy series (its fourth consecutive win), though out nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson was again a bridesmaid as supporting actor. Modern Family also won for comedy direction, while 30 Rock won for comedy writing.

The gay-friendly Colbert Report finally beat The Daily Show‘s 10-year streak for best variety series, as well as for writing. Gay TV producer Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Asylum won for best supporting actor in a miniseries for James Cromwell. In fact, miniseries is where we really got our gay on, with Behind the Candelabra, the biopic about Liberace, winning for best actor (Michael Douglas, who offered to share it with fellow nominee Matt Damon — offering him “top or bottom”), best director (Steven Soderbergh) and best miniseries/TV movie.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Emmy nominations are pretty damn gay

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The Tony Awards are always gay, the Oscars less so (at least they are more closeted), but the Emmys? They’ve almost kept up with the Tonys in recent years. Consider: This year’s ceremony on Sept. 22 will be hosted by regular Tony Awards host Neil Patrick Harris — who plays straight on his TV show but is a camptastic song-and-dance man at heart.

Harris and Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul announced the nominees for the Emmys this morning, and it proved to be a very gay affair indeed. Here are some queer highlights:

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: ‘Behind the Candelabra’

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Douglas, left, as Lee Liberace, and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson.

That fact has been largely forgotten in the 25 years since he died — still closeted! — of complications from AIDS. By the end (hell, decades before it), he had become a caricature, but the image of the facelifted, lisping Vegas showboy has obscured his humanity.

So its especially impressive that a bunch of straight guys — director Steven Soderbergh, screenwriter Richard LaGravanese, and actors Matt Damon and Michael Douglas — have done do an astonishing job of capturing the truth of gay men in the pre-AIDS, barely-post-Stonewall decade of the 1970s with Behind the Candelabra, the HBO biopic debuting Sunday at 9. They could have soft-pedaled the sex; they could have idealized and mystified the era; they could have taken any number of “safer” routes. Instead, they told a story with such a savvy understanding of gay culture, you might think you’re watching a documentary.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Steven Soderbergh: The gay interview

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Steven Soderbergh, director of ‘Behind the Candelabra’

The new HBO film about Liberace’s relationship with Scott Thorson, Behind the Candelabra, debuts on HBO Sunday; next Friday, I’ll have a review of it. Until then, enjoy Chris Azzopardi’s interview with the film’s director, Steven Soderbergh … who, following this, Side Effects and Magic Mike must be considered the patron saint of gay Hollywood.

By Chris Azzopardi

Steven Soderbergh knows who’s significantly responsible for the major success of his male-stripper romp Magic Mike: gay men eager to ogle the barely-covered bits of Channing Tatum and his hunky posse. The Oscar-winning director’s upcoming feature will obviously court the same audience — and not just because Matt Damon lets it all hang out, too.

Behind the Candelabra the biopic about Liberace, is so gay that major Hollywood studios would have nothing to do with it. HBO took it up, though, and it debuts Sunday. The revealing story stars Michael Douglas as the shiny showman who died of AIDS complications at age 67 and Damon as his much younger beau, Scott Thorson.

In our interview, Soderbergh spoke in depth about their real-life relationship, the “flamboyancy scale” used to guide the actors’ gayness onset, diversity in film and why Damon wanted to flaunt the junk in his trunk.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Liberace biopic ‘too gay’ for theaters

The multiplexes’ loss is HBO’s gain. Steven Soderbergh — he of the Oscar for best director, he who turned a cheesy idea into Magic Mike, the Citizen Kane of male stripper movies — apparently doesn’t have the juice in Hollywood to make gay people seem commercial.

When it was announced a few years ago that Michael Douglas would be starring in Behind the Candelabra, a biopic about flamboyant pianist Liberace (with Matt Damon as his lover), it seemed like Oscar bait, but turns out it’ll have to be Emmy bait: No studios wanted to touch the film.

Keep in mind: It has been seven years since Brokeback Mountain, which, among the five films nominated for best picture that year, was the one with the highest box office gross. This is three years after The Kids Are All Right, another Oscar nominee for best picture, about a lesbian relationship. And after, for that matter, repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” passage of same-sex marriage laws in a fifth of U.S. states and the presence of gay people all throughout our culture.

The reason no studio would touch it? “Too gay,” according to Soderbergh.

Uh-huh.

Imagine a studio saying a movie starring two Oscar winners, and directed by a third, was “too Jewish” or “too black.” (I can guarantee you, no one has ever said a movie idea was “too stupid” or “too white.”) But that’s what Soderbergh said in an interview with the New York Post. “The studios didn’t know how to sell it. They were scared.”

Instead, the movie will air later this spring on HBO. Sounds like a good time to sign up for HBO if you haven’t already.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

News about the Liberace biopic… or is it?

I received a press release today that said “Steven Soderbergh … and Jerry Weintraub … will bring the film Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon… to HBO Films, it was announced today.” The thing is, I’m not quite sure how this is news.

It’s been known for quite a while that Douglas and Damon were starring and Soderbergh directing; I reported about it last May here, and it was already well known by that time. So what exactly is the news? Is it that Jerry Weintraub is producing? That it will appear on HBO? I’m not sure.

What I am sure is that production doesn’t even begin until next summer, for a 2013 release. So whatever this “news” is, well, I’m passing it along…

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Michael Douglas on kissing Matt Damon

Michael Douglas is gong from playing oversexed straight men in movies like Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct to, for his next role, an oversexed gay man playing the title role in Steven Soderbergh’s film, Liberace. Douglas stars opposite Matt Damon as Liberace’s lover, Scott Thorson.

Douglas appeared this week on The View and talked about kissing a man.

The film is due in 2013.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones