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Oscar noms: Who’s in and out for the 84th Academy Awards

Plummer nominated for portrayal of older gay man

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Kodak Theatre, gay news, gay politics dc

The 84th Oscars will be held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. (via Wikimedia Commons)

Nominees for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced this morning in Los Angeles.

Jennifer Lawrence, nominated last year for the film “Winter’s Bone” and who appears this year in “The Hunger Games,” and Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations in 10 of the 24 categories for the Feb. 26th presentation.

Christopher Plummer was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his turn as a man who comes out as gay to his adult son late in his 70s in ‘Beginners.’ Plummer is familiar to the Oscars stage — in 1965 he joined Julie Andrews and the cast and crew of ‘The Sound of Music,’ when the film won best picture. He was also nominated in this same category two years ago for playing Leo Tolstoy in “The Last Station.”

Plummer is coming off a Golden Globes win for his character Hal Fields, a late-blooming widower who must learn to navigate the rather tricky waters of being single and gay in your 70s, while dealing with a son coming to grips with the news (played by gay favorite Ewan McGregor).

Gay New York blogger, Scott Wooledge was disappointed that one gay-themed movie missed the list, however.

“On the topic of movies, I’m sorry to see Pariah didn’t get any nods, it deserves a handful,” the Daily Kos regular told the Blade. “I suspect that may be because it was released so very late and Focus Features may not have campaigned on its behalf.”

Wooledge says he was “just blown away” by the Spike Lee produced film about a 17 year-old Brooklyn African-American lesbian and the effect that coming out had on her family. The film also features Adeprero Oduye and Kim Wayans.

“If anyone has ever complained there are not middle class, queer people of color in pop culture,” Wooledge says, “I implore you to run don’t walk, open your wallet and reward the director, Dee Rees and the studio for serving up a beautiful and heartfelt film that features exactly that.”

Glenn Close is a contender for Best Actress for her role as a woman passing as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland in ‘Albert Nobbs.’ ‘Nobbs’ also garnered a nod in the supporting actress category for Janet McTeer, as well as in the makeup category.

Up for Best Original Screenplay is ‘Margin Call,’ a film about the financial meltdown of the last decade, produced by recently out ‘Heroes’ and ‘Star Trek’ actor Zachary Quinto, who also starred in the film. Quinto recently starred as a gay ghost on gay creator Ryan Murphy’s ‘American Horror Story.’

Among the films nominated, ‘The Help’ received three nominations (Octavia Spencer & Jessica Chastain for Best Supporting Actress and Viola Davis for Best Actress); ‘The Descendants’ received five (Alexander Payne for Best Director, George Clooney for Best Actor, film editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture); and ‘Moneyball’ garnered noms for Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill, Best Actor for Brad Pitt, Best Adapted Screenplay, film editing and Best Picture.

The big winner, however, is most likely ‘The Artist’ which received 10 nods including Berenice Bejo for Best Supporting Actress, Michel Hazanavicius for Best Director, Jean Dujardin for Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, music, art direction, film editing, costume design, cinematography and Best Picture. Set in 1930s Hollywood, the modern silent film has been described as “a love letter to the silver screen,” by NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast.

Also receiving several nods was the Michelle Williams-helmed ‘My Week with Marilyn’ for which she is nominated in the Best Actress category. Kenneth Branagh is also nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Williams shed her teen drama ‘Dawson’s Creek’ role forever when she appeared in the critically acclaimed 2005 film ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ playing wife to closeted gay cowboy Heath Ledger, in a role that earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination in 2006. Another fan favorite ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ has offered up Max von Sydow for Best Supporting Actor, and is up for Best Picture.

Predictably, Meryl Streep snagged a Best Actress nomination for ‘The Iron Lady,’ as did Gary Oldman a Best Actor nod for ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.’ ‘Iron Lady’ is also up in the makeup category, and ‘Tinker’ is up for music and writing awards.

One LGBT favorite for Best Supporting Actress is standout Melissa McCarthy in ‘Bridesmaids,’ as the loveable friend who gets Kristen Wiig out of her funk in time to save the wedding (and steals a van full of adorable puppies on her way). The movie is also up for Best Original Screenplay.

The other Best Picture nominees were ‘Hugo,’ which also grabbed a Best Director nod for Martin Scorsese as well as art direction, writing, film editing, music, and costume design nominations; ‘Midnight in Paris,’ for which Woody Allen will also be up in the Best Director category as well as Best Original Screenplay and Art Direction; ‘War Horse,’ which will also be up in art direction, music, and cinematography, and ‘The Tree of Life,’ which also scored a nomination for Best Director (Terrence Malick) and cinematography.

Late last year, the Oscars parted ways with producer Brett Ratner after a homophobic rant in which he said “rehearsing is for fags.” The incident prompted the scheduled host, Eddie Murphy, to also resign in protest. The Academy turned to veteran host and fan favorite Billy Crystal, who has hosted the Oscars eight times to much success. Ratner and Murphy’s film ‘Tower Heist’ did not receive any Oscar nominations and did not do well at the box office.

Other nominees of note are Best Actress Rooney Mara in ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ — a movie also up in the cinematography and film editing categories — Best Supporting Actor Nick Nolte in ‘Warriors,’ and Demián Bichir for Best Actor in ‘A Better Life.’

Animated feature film nods go to ‘A Cat in Paris,’ ‘Chico & Rita,’ ‘Kung Fu Panda 2,’ ‘Puss in Boots,’ and ‘Rango.’

Best feature length documentary nominations go to ‘Hell and Back Again,’ ‘If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front,’ ‘Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory,’ ‘Pina,’ and ‘Undefeated.’

Best foreign language film noms went to Belgium’s ‘Bullhead,’ Israel’s ‘Footnote,’ Poland’s ‘In Darkness,’ Canada’s ‘Monsieur Lazhar,’ and Iran’s ‘A Separation.’

Another critically acclaimed gay film that didn’t make the cut in this year of heavy hitters was ‘Weekend’ which won the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association’s ‘Dorian Award’ for best picture.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. laurelboy2

    January 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I encourage the Academy to award best actor to he who has the longest and thickest meat. Bottom line: It’s time we draw the curtain on these meaningless award shows…

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Photos

PHOTOS: International LGBTQ Leaders Conference opening reception

Politicians and activists from around the world met and mingled at the JW Marriott

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Politicians and activists from around the world met and mingled at the JW Marriott. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The LGBTQ Victory Institute held an opening reception for the 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference at the JW Marriott on Thursday.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Theater

Meet the husbands and creative partners behind ‘Christmas Angel’

A funny, redemptive world premiere with a diverse cast

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Stephen Gregory Smith and Matt Conner with pugs Edgar Allan Pug and Lord Byron.

The Christmas Angel
Dec. 9-19
Creative Cauldron
410 South Maple Avenue
Falls Church, VA 22046
Tickets:  $35. Students $20.
Masks and proof of vaccination are required
creativecauldron.org

“Ours is like a lava lamp,” says composer Matt Conner describing the collaborative creative process he shares with musical writing partner and husband Stephen Gregory Smith. “We move together in motion in a continual ebb and flow.” 

A couple for 23 years, married for eight, and making musicals together for 11, the talented pair’s current offering is “The Christmas Angel,” opening on Dec. 9 at Creative Cauldron in Fairfax. 

A musical adaptation of the same-named 1910 novel by Abbie Farwell Brown, it’s the story of Angelina Terry (Kanysha Williams), a wealthy embittered recluse who learns the lessons of Christmas from a box of old toys that she casts into the street. Also featured in the hour-long one-act are Ryan Sellers as Horton, Angelina’s butler, and Carl Williams who plays her brother. The angel and toys are brought to life by an ensemble of a dozen teens plucked from the company’s musical theater training program. 

Via phone from their home in Arlington, Smith and Conner shared thoughts on their new show and working style. In attendance are pug dogs Edgar Allan Pug and Lord Byron, whom they call Eddie and Byron in public – otherwise “it’s just too much,” says Conner whose ultimate fantasy involves living on a pug farm where he’d write music and present the occasional show.

Rather than finish each other’s sentences, the duo (both Helen Hayes Award winners – Smith for acting and Conner for directing) expound on one another’s thoughts.

While Conner composes the music, Smith writes the book and lyrics, and together they co-direct. “But there’s no end and beginning where my job ends and his begins,” says Smith. “What we do complements each other’s work.”

Still, there are differences. Smith’s approach is focused. He writes pages at night and edits in the morning. Conner’s method is more relaxed, preferring to sit at the keyboard and talk rather than writing things down. But throughout the creative process, there’s never a moment when the project isn’t on their mind. They can be watching TV or buying milk when an exciting idea pops up, says Conner. 

A clever nod to Dickens, the novel is more than just a female “Christmas Carol,” says Smith. And in some spots, he’s beefed up the 55-page book, fleshing out both storyline and characters including the toys whose shabby appearance belies a youthful confidence. 

He adds, “Every holiday season you go to the attic and pull down the box, or boxes in my case, of holiday decorations and it’s all old but it’s new. That’s the nostalgic feeling of toys from the attic that we’re trying to find through the show.”

The music is a combination of traditional carols performed by a hand bell chorus, and original Christmas songs that intentionally sound very familiar. The score includes songs “Don’t Hide Your Light,” “The Sweetest Gift,” and “Yestermore” – the moment when the past, present, and future come together. 

Also, there’s Angelina’s Bah! Humbug! number “Fiddlesticks,” her great renunciation of the holidays. She believes the world a disappointing place to be, and the sooner realized the better. 

Conner and Smith aren’t new to Creative Cauldron. Through the company’s Bold New Works project, the team was commissioned to write five world premiere musicals in just five years. The result was “The Turn of the Screw,” “Monsters of the Villa Diodati,” “Kaleidoscope,” “Witch” and “On Air.”

Judging from some of the titles and their slightly macabre content, it seems the duo was better poised to write for Halloween than Christmas, but nonetheless, they were commissioned. Creative Cauldron’s producing director Laura Connors Hull brought them the obscure yet charming book that surprisingly had never before been reworked for stage or celluloid, and the pair got to work last spring. 

Conner and Smith agree, “The show is a lot of things rolled up into one.”

Not only is it a funny, redemptive world premiere with a diverse cast, but it’s also a story largely unknown to today’s audiences. Additionally, the show boasts intergenerational appeal while holding messages about Christmas, family, and finding light when you’re in a darker place. 

More information about Conner and Smith, including links to their music and popular podcast “The Conner & Smith Show,” can be found on their terrific website at connersmithmusicals.com.   

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Books

‘Capote’s Women’ is catnip to older pop culture fans

Revisiting iconic author’s seven ‘swans’

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(Book cover courtesy of Putnam)

Capote’s Women
By Laurence Leamer
C.2021, Putnam $28/356 pages

Her lips are locked tight.

Your best friend knows all your secrets, and she’s keeping them; you told her things you had to tell somebody, and she’s telling nobody. You always knew you could trust her; if you couldn’t, she wouldn’t be your BFF. But as in the new book “Capote’s Women” by Laurence Leamer, what kind of a friend are you?

For months, Truman Capote had been promising a blockbuster.

Following his success with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood,” he was “one of the most famous authors in the world” but he needed a career-booster. The novel he was writing, he teased, would be about “his swans,” seven wealthy, fashionable women who quite personified “beauty, taste, and manners.”

His first swan was Barbara “Babe” Paley, whom he’d met on a trip with the David Selznicks to Jamaica. For Capote, “Babe was the epitome of class,” simply “perfect” in every way; it helped that the famously gay writer was no threat to Paley’s “madly jealous” husband.

Babe’s “dearest friend” was Nancy “Slim” Keith, who quickly learned that if a lady wanted her confidences kept, she didn’t tell Capote anything. She shouldn’t have trusted Babe, either: When Slim left for a European trip, Babe asked if Slim’s husband could accompany Babe’s friend, Pamela Hayward, to a play.

Slim was aware of Pamela’s predatory reputation, but what could she say?

Of course, Pamela, another of Truman’s swans, stole Slim’s man, a scandal that Capote loved.

Gloria Guinness was highly intelligent, possibly enough to be a spy in Nazi Germany. Lucy “C.Z.” Guest was an upper-crust “elitist” with a “magical aura.” Marella Agnelli “was born an Italian princess”; Lee Radziwill, of course, was Jacqueline Kennedy’s sister.

Through the late 1960s, Capote claimed to be writing his masterpiece, his tour de force based on his swans, but several deadlines passed for it. He was sure Answered Prayers “would turn him once again into the most talked-about author in America.”

Instead, when an excerpt from it was published, his swans got very ruffled feathers.

Every time you stand in line for groceries, the tabloids scream at you with so much drama that you either love it or hate it. Or, in the case of “Capote’s Women,” you cultivate it.

And that’s infinitely fun, as told by author Laurence Leamer.

Happily, though, Leamer doesn’t embellish or disrespect these women or Capote; he tells their tales in order, gently allowing readers’ heads to spin with the wild, globe-hopping goings-on but not to the point that it’s overdone. While most of this book is about these seven beautiful, wealthy, and serially married women – the Kardashians of their time, if you will – Capote is Leamer’s glue, and Truman gets his due, as well.

Readers who devour this book will be sure that the writer would’ve been very happy about that.

“Capote’s Women” should be like catnip to celeb-watchers of a Certain Age but even if you’re not, find it. If you’re a Hollywood fan, you’ll want to get a lock on it.

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