June 18, 2021
If Ammonite and Supernova are anything to go by, queer roles are no longer awards bait. Instead, such films’ stars find themselves having to justify taking work away from LGBT+ performers
Not only the brave: why straight actors playing gay are no longer automatically acclaimed
In February 1994, Hollywood seemed to change for ever. Tom Hanks – the epitome of the American everyman – won a best Actor Oscar for playing the out gay protagonist in a major studio movie.
In retrospect, Philadelphia looks a bit iffy. It is melodramatic, littered with tropes, and gets an awful lot of cathartic mileage out of the tragic martyrdom of its lead. Still, the tide appeared to have turned for good. Hollywood was not merely telling queer stories, it was rewarding them. Gay and lesbian roles were no longer something an agent would immediately bin; they were a fast track to kudos and awards.
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