The Academy Awards are finally getting more diverse. This is the first year there are black actors in every acting category. Even though the queer community is represented pretty well, there are plenty of great gay films that didn’t get the nod. Here’s a look at some of our favorite gay film moments, some of which caught the Academy’s attention and some which did not.
1. Moonlight Has Everyone Talking
It’s no secret we really like Moonlight — and, thankfully, the Academy did too, giving it eight nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Score.
Most people set the odds on La La Land sweeping most of the awards it’s nominated for. (#OscarsSoWhite, after all, and what’s whiter than a musical about a white man turning his white girlfriend on to jazz?) Thankfully, Moonlight‘s expected to pick up, at the very least, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.
2. Kelly Mantle Was Submitted for Best Supporting Actor and Actress
— Kelly Mantle (@thekellymantle) December 6, 2016
As Laura Jane Grace said, Gender Is Over (If You Want It), and there couldn’t be a better example than Kelly Mantle. This gender-fluid performer and former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant (and who made our list of 100 Intriguing LGBTs to Look Out for in 2017) was submitted for both the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards for an amazing performance in Confessions of a Womanizer. Sadly, Mantle didn’t get nominated, but the dual-submission threw an interesting wrench in the Academy’s gender-defined categories.
3. I Am Not Your Negro Was Nearly 40 Years in the Making
In 1979, gay black author James Baldwin pitched a book to his agent called Remember This House, which would have been a personal account of the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X (assassinated 52 years ago on Feb. 21, five days before this year’s Oscar ceremony) and Martin Luther King, Jr. — all three close friends to Baldwin.
Sadly, the book was never finished — only 30 pages were completed at the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987 — but director Raoul Peck turned those 30 pages into the Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro. Not a bad return for a project 38 years in the making.
4. King Cobra Had the Only Premiere Party
The film King Cobra premiered late last year, and the IFC premiere and after-party were off the chain. The film is a dramatic adaptation of the murder of Cobra Studios producer Bryan Kocis by porn performer Harlow Cuadra and his boyfriend Joseph Manuel Kerekes. As befits a dark look at the seedy underbelly of gay porn, the premiere was full of sexy go-go boys, erotic art and stars like Christian Slater and Nico Tortorella.
5. Looking: The Movie Tied Up Loose Ends
HBO may have unceremoniously cancelled Looking in 2015, but thankfully last year we got to see what happened to Patrick, Richie and the gang. Of course, the biggest news to come from the film was that Dom (played by Murray Bartlett) finally got to follow his dreams and open up a chicken restaurant. (Thanks to Dom, queers around the world felt empowered to follow their dreams and open their own metaphorical chicken restaurants.)
6. Closet Monster Taught Us to Talk to Hamsters
Do you ever feel like you haven’t got a friend in the world? Gay teen Oscar Madly (played by Connor Jessup) can relate — in Closet Monster, his best friend is a hamster. Thankfully, it’s not all bad — his hamster can talk, thanks to Isabella Rossellini. (Rossellini knows a thing or two about animals, since one of her recent triumphs is Green Porno, a look at creatures’ mating habits.) His hamster is one of the few things keeping him sane in his small, rural hometown until he can escape to the sanctuary of college so he can finally explore his sexuality.
7. Armie Hammer Has Us Craving Peaches
When Call Me By Your Name premiered last month at Sundance, big buzz concerned whether or not the film would keep the most infamous scene from André Aciman’s source novel. Good news: the scene where Elio (played by Timothée Chalamet) masturbates with a peach, which is then tasted by Armie Hammer’s Oliver made the cut. Not just that, but the peach was the logo for the film’s art department. Finally, gay men have their answer to American Pie!
8. Spa Night Proved Gay Asians Deserve the Spotlight
Andrew Ahn’s debut feature focuses on David, a young, first-generation Korean-American kid who’s in the closet — at least as far as his ultra-traditional parents are concerned. But when David takes a job at a bathhouse/cruising spot in L.A.’s Koreatown, it makes hiding a bit more difficult. Spa Night is a coming-of-age tale about a baby gay looking for role models among his family, friends and the bathhouse clientele.
9. Finally — Ab Fab: The Movie, Sweetie Darling
Though the last episode of the show aired in 2012, it took another four years for Patsy and Edina to finally hit the big screen with Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Outside of theaters, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley helped celebrate pride in London and Los Angeles, and Patsy and Edina lookalikes could be found marching in San Francisco, too.
The movie had a few misfires — including a scene with Janette Tough in yellowface — but we’d been waiting so long for more AbFab that we’d have been happy if it was just 90 minutes of Patsy and Edina sitting on a couch drinking.
10. Other People Proves Comedy and Tragedy are Sides of the Same Coin
While Other People is Chris Kelly’s debut feature, he’s got a prestigious résumé as the former co-head writer of Saturday Night Live, a writer/producer on Broad City and creator of a number of Funny Or Die shorts. With a background like that, you may expect Other People to be a laugh riot. (Until you find out it’s about a young gay writer returning home to take care of his dying mother.) But strangely enough — it is funny. Other People is a great, semi-autobiographical film that’s not quite the downer it sounds like it would be.