March 1, 2018 at 7:11 am EST | by Susan Hornik
LGBT critics weigh in on rights and wrongs of this year’s Oscar noms
Academy Awards, Oscars, gay news, Washington Blade

(Image courtesy AMPAS)

Thankfully, after 2017’s “Moonlight” Oscar victory fiasco, nominations for 90th annual Academy Awards (to be handed out Sunday evening) thankfully reflect more LGBT diversity than ever before. But while this pleases some critics, the choices fall short with others. Los Angeles Blade talked with film critics about their favorite films.

Jimmy Kimmel hosts the Academy Awards live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 4. ABC will broadcast the ceremony.

Brian T. Carney, Washington Blade 

From art house indies to the Academy Awards, 2017 was a great year for LGBT film. In a groundbreaking move, a mainstream movie that actually stars a transgender woman playing a transgender woman is nominated for an Oscar. The Chilean film “A Fantastic Woman,” is on the Oscar ballot for Best Foreign Language Film and star Daniela Vega will be onstage as a presenter.

Three of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture include gay characters (one’s a spoiler), and many members of the cast and crew of those movies have been nominated as well. One of the nominees for Best Documentary was directed by Yancy Ford, a trans man. For her outstanding work on “Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison, a black lesbian, is the first woman to be nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar.

With “Negative Space” and “In A Heartbeat,” even the Short Features are becoming an LGBT showcase.

Unfortunately, there are some LGBT films and filmmakers who didn’t get the nominations they deserve. Dee Rees should have been nominated as Best Director and Michael Stuhlbarg should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor. “BPM” and “God’s Own Country” did not make it through the nomination process for Best Foreign Film, and “Wonder Woman” did not get any Oscar love.

Sadly, the best queer movie of the year, Angela Robinson’s “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” did not even get an Oscar campaign from Annapurna Pictures. Hopefully the brilliant Robinson will find a more supportive studio for her next film.

Nonetheless, there will certainly be a lot to celebrate Sunday. I’ll be cheering on the breathtaking and revolutionary “The Shape of Water.”

Daniel Montgomery, 

This has been an encouraging year for LGBT movies. Twelve years after “Brokeback Mountain” was the subject of so much debate and controversy, and one year after “Moonlight” broke new ground by winning Best Picture at the Oscars, the presence of “Call Me by Your Name” in the awards conversation has seemed almost matter-of-fact.

And the fact that it wasn’t the only option for awards voters this year felt refreshingly ordinary. I thought the French film “BPM” and the British film “God’s Own Country” deserved a lot more awards attention — they’re both among my favorite films of 2017.

Beth McDonough,

My favorite 2017 film was “Battle of the Sexes,” which I think was hugely overlooked this year during awards season. I did love “Call Me By Your Name” though. “Thelma” and “My Days of Mercy” were really great films that didn’t get enough attention.  “A Fantastic Woman” was incredible and will hopefully won the Foreign Film award.

Jeremy Blacklow, GLAAD 

Two-thousand-seventeen has been a banner year for LGBT representation at the Academy Awards, albeit mostly still relegated to limited release or independent films. Following the huge breakthrough moment of “Moonlight” winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards, we’ve seen a record amount of diverse LGBT inclusion among this year’s nominees.

While a lot of the buzz has focused on “Call Me by Your Name” (and its nominations for Best Picture, for Timothée Chalamet for Lead Actor, for James Ivory for Adapted Screenplay and for Sufjan Stevens for Original Song “Mystery of Love”), when you look a bit deeper, you’ll see a tremendous amount of LGBT talent nominated for their work behind the camera.

Some of the most exciting nominations are for women, transgender people, and people of color, showing the beginning of a concerted effort by activists and advocates, the film industry, and the Academy to be recognize more diverse nominees. For “Mudbound,” Dee Rees is the first black woman ever nominated for Adapted Screenplay, and Rachel Morrison is the first woman ever nominated for Cinematography (they are both out lesbians).

Trish Bendix, Into

LGBT-themed films I would liked to have seen recognized this year: “Professor Marston & The Wonder Women,” for its progressive queer take on polyamory, kink and feminist themes from out director, Angela Robinson.

“Thelma,” the lesbian-themed horror film, was one of the most overlooked offering of the year, despite getting early Oscar buzz. I also liked the documentary, “Whitney: Can I Be Me?” an inside look at one of the most tragic stories of homo and biphobia as it related to one of the most talented pop stars of our time.

Frank J. Avella, GALECA

I don’t think there are necessarily more gay characters/movies than last year. It seems that way because a few big name films (“Call Me By My Name”  in particular but also “BPM,” “God’s Own Country,” “A Fantastic Woman”) have been written about more than most LGBT fare most years. And “Call Me” has been especially controversial for many because of the non-nudity clause in both lead’s contracts which many LGBT media writers have mixed feelings about, myself included. I personally feel it compromised Ivory’s brilliant script.

“BPM” (Beats Per Minute) deserved to, at least have gotten a Foreign Language Film nomination. It’s a daring and startling depiction of LGBT life (something “Call Me” is not) and far better than any of the five nominees in that category. Also “God’s Own Country” which BAFTA recognized, deserved some love. This was my favorite because it never compromised in hopes of reaching a larger audience. It’s real and resonant.

Timothee Chalamet, left, is up for an Oscar for his role in ‘Call Me By Your Name.’ He’s seen here with director Luca Guadagnino, center, and co-lead Armie Hammer. (Photo courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)

Matthew Todd, author “Straight Jacket”/former editor of U.K.’s Attitude

“Call Me By Your Name” is a love story and that always plays well with audiences and the great performances really ensure it’s a must-see film. That said, despite it winning the Dorian award, and huge support from the LGBT community, it has also created some controversy.

Some believe it doesn’t show the power of the gay identity that was emerging then, they believe it perpetuates the everlasting idea that gay people can’t have happy endings. It’s a reminder that LGBT audiences still don’t have a variety of stories to choose from from big studios. There is an audience for them who are keen for fresh stories and hopefully even more will be made.

Erik Anderson, AwardsWatch

Every year we will see more and more LGBT characters who are their own, fully realized people and not just the props they used to be. This is both because of the positive progression LGBT rights have taken as well as a response to the pushback over the last year from the current regressive administration. Art and the voices that supply it will always stand up and speak louder when told to sit down and keep quiet.

I wish “The Wound” had gotten a nod for Foreign Language Film. I was shocked and heartbroken that “In a Heartbeat” was snubbed in Animated Short. And I was really happy that “Strong Island” made it in Documentary Feature.

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