The number of gay-themed films that compete in the major categories at the Oscars has always been pretty small, but we’ve seen a slow but steady rise over the past few years: Brokeback Mountain, The Kids Are All Right, The Danish Girl, last year’s best picture winner Moonlight (despite what Faye Dunaway said) to name a few. And it seems our time has really arrived. Not only is the same-sex romance Call Me By Your Name in the running for best picture (though it probably won’t win), it’s practically a lock for best adapted screenplay for out filmmaker James Ivory, who turns 90 later this year and would be the oldest person ever to win a writing Oscar. But that’s only the start. There were prominent gay characters (or queer imagery) in nominees like Lady Bird, The Disaster Artist, Beauty and the Beast, A Fantastic Woman and especially 13-time nominee The Shape of Water, which — set in 1962 — uses homosexuality as a stand-in for all overlooked members of society (including African-Americans, women, mutes and fishmen). There’s even the first trans man director ever nominated for Oscar (best documentary feature filmmaker Strong Island’s Yance Ford).
All of which gives us more reason then ever to watch the ceremonies, which arrive late this year thanks to the Olympics. Jimmy Kimmel hosts the event, airing Sunday on ABC. Cheer for Call Me By Your Name, but enjoy it whoever wins.
— Arnold Wayne Jones