Mahershala Ali | J.LO | The Johnny Lopez

The 91st Academy Awards started on the wrong foot months before anyone entered THE MALL that houses the Dolby Theatre. (You didn’t forget that the Oscars are held at a mall, right?!)

The Kevin Hart debacle & deciding to go hostless, all the misfires with the categories, Kendrick Lamar & SZA not performing their nominated song & the vocal dissent of Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody from the communities they were allegedly trying to represent. It was a disaster waiting to happen and in the end I thought it all came out … just fine.

Here’s the thing, sometimes bad is, at the least, more memorable and, perhaps, better than just fine.

I didn’t really miss having a host and thought things were moving along faster than usual since they nixed the endless montages, skits and inevitable attempts to go viral. I’m talking to you Ellen & NPH.

Even the red carpet was fine. But at the Oscars, we need a statement. We want some drama. We deserve the WOW! While the days of Bjork swan dresses are now relegated to thirsty headline-chasing C-list Deplorables at the Grammys, I’ll take Rachel Weisz‘s red latex American Horror Story over Laura Dern‘s basic ’90s bridesmaid any day. (I still love you, Laura!)

On a positive note, I will say it was fantastic seeing a broader representation of winners, as women and people of color accepted awards in 16 out of 24 categories. And possibly the best line of the night was uttered by 25-year-old Iranian-American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi (right) as she accepted the award for Best Documentary Short: “I can’t believe a movie about menstruation just won an Oscar.” Period. End of Sentence, indeed.

1. Adam Lambert – Welcome to the Grammys Oscars! I am so here for an openly gay man kicking off  the Oscars by paying tribute to the body of work of a legendary gay bisexual gay bisexual rock star that was the subject of a huge box office hit under a set adorned with a drag queen’s blonde wig. You betta, werk! Not bad for a guy who came in second on American Idol. Also, watching Allison Janney, Queen Latifah, Javier Bardem, et al. wave their arms in the air is more unity than we’d ever get from any Kevin Hart homophobic tweet monologue.


2. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph – In the name of the Tina, the Amy and the Holy Maya, save us from the next 3 and a half hours. Also, I have on good authority that Maya is wearing drapes from a Pigeon Forge, Tennessee AirBnB and that’s fine by me!


3. Regina King – Brenda from 227 just did that! Absolutely stunning. Beale Street is gagging!!!


4. Rachel Weisz – Oops she spit in my mouth again! The correct question is not, who are you wearing, (Givenchy!), but, what is your safe word? Forget Vanity Fair or Madonna’s, I want to know what after-party she’s dom topping at?


5. Emma Stone – Never has serving burnt waffles with a failed honey bee colony glaze over a grimy BBQ grill looked so glamorous. So glad she’s not in pants again!


6. Stephan James – Red velvet if you please! Someone DM me when Zara knocks this off. I need this. I don’t have anywhere to wear this, but I will. Winner: Best dressed male.


7. Ruth E. Carter, Hannah BeachlerBlack Panther costume & production design winners. Giving us talent, LEWKS and great speeches. Proof that “smaller categories” should not be given out during commercials. And their best is definitely more than enough.


8. Jennifer Lopez – J.Lo has been bringing it to the Academy Awards red carpet since 1997 (right) & she never disappoints. NEVER. People love to bash her acting & singing, but being a mutha fuckin’ STAR is a talent deserving of an honorary Oscar, a biopic and an animated short. And besides, Second Act might have been the most fun I had at the movies this year. Yep, I said it.


9. Chris Evans – I need Chris Evans, his green velvet blazer & this to be a romcom, immediately! What’s that? Oh, snap! Second Act 2 has just been greenlit.


10. Alfonso Cuaron – With three wins for Roma (my favorite film of the year) and two previous wins for Gravity, the Mexican director is building a wall …of Oscar statues. Si se puede!


11. Jennifer Hudson – JHud has an Oscar, 2 Grammys and can blow the roof off the Dolby Theater on any given Sunday. Not bad for someone who came in 7th on Amercian Idol.


12. Brian May – He’s the lead guitarist in Queen, but his hair is straight out of The Favourite. #HouseOfLordsRhapsody


13. Dana Owens – Queen Latifah introducing a movie about lesbian royalty may have been The Favourite moment at every Oscar view party from West Hollywood to Hell’s Kitchen.


14. Angela Bassett & Javier Bardem – She’s Black & 60 & he’s Latin & 50 (on Friday), but they’re both white HOT. Dayum! Ok, but what I want to know is: where was Penelope Cruz? Seriously, do we need to be concerned?


15. Bette MidlerJoy Behar, is that you? 73 & fab-u-lous! The Divine Miss M was Mary Poppin’ out of that dress.  Now I need to watch “Otto Titsling” from Beache, again.


16. Charlize Theron – She’s back, honey and so is her Aeon Flux hair game proper. Mennonite chic. Cult wife glamour. Late 19th century school marm for your nerves. Yes, YES, YAASSS! On anyone else it would be complete and utter failure, but Charlize can do no wrong in my book. Only two more spots left next to J.Lo & Charlize on the Mount Rushmore of Hollywood Fashion. Also, go watch Tully, because you must.


17. Mahershala Ali – And just like that he became the 12th straight star to win an Oscar for playing gay.


18. Michelle Yeoh & Pharrell – The epitome of every straight couple on any date night anywhere in the USA  — she’s dressed to the nines and he’s in shorts.


19. Kacey Musgraves & Linda Cardellini -Their colors are blush & bashful. Fresh off the runway of the 1968 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. They both told their stylists they wanted looks that went from day to nightgown. So in that sense it was a success.


20. Gemma Chan – No offense to Crazy Rich Asians, but Angelyne’s duvet is now the funniest thing she’s been in.


21. Mike Myers & Dana Carvey – Oh mama mia, mama mia! This L-Word reboot looks interesting.


22. Diego Luna & Jose Andres – One cooks hot dishes, the other is a hot dish, and they both hate Trump. Dinner is served!


23. Paul Rudd – He’s turning 50 this year and hasn’t aged in 20 years. That’s him in ’99 (right).The male Jennifer Lopez lives!


24. Lady Gaga – Last night she broke the internet! Kidding aside, the Gaga-ssance since 2013’s ArtFlop has been astounding. 2 Super Bowls, 2 Oscar performances, Grammy wins and now her own actual Academy Award. #ForYourConsideration


25. Bradley Cooper – Somewhere in all the Gaga ASIB buzz I forgot he was even nominated for Best Actor. But just like Glenn Close, he has 7 Oscar nominations & 0 wins. If nothing else, at least the “Shallow” duet – reprising the chemistry between Jackson Maine & Ally – was a win.


26. Spike Lee & Barbra Streisand –  No sleep til Brooklyn! Also, when one of your Oscars is for Best Song from a previous version of A Star Is Born, but you introduce BlacKkKlansman instead, that’s a read.


27. Rami Malek – Adorable. And just like that he becomes the 13th straight star to win an Oscar for playing LGBT. His speech wasn’t as good as Tom Hanks for Philadelphia, but at least he said: “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant who lived his life unapologetically as himself.” Mentioning HIV/AIDS, Freddie Mercury by name and for the first time somebody acknowledging the Bryan Singer mess would have quelled at least some of the film’s backlash. But probably not.


28. Olivia Colman – And just like that she becomes the 14th straight star to win an Oscar for playing LGBT.  The gasp! The upset! The speech! In a night full of Queens, Olivia ascended her throne & into America’s hearts. My only question, is she truly the lead in The Favourite?


29. Glenn Close …but still so far! I bend the knee to Glenda Veronica of the House of Close, First of her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the 7 Nominations, Lady of the World According to Garp, Protector of The Big Chill and The Natural, Breaker of Fatal Attractions, Dangerous Liaisons & Albert Knobbs, Khaleesi of The Wife, Slayer of Gaga, Mother of Acting, Rightful Heir to the Oscar Throne. Vengence is hers & Winter is coming! #GlennOfThrones


30. Frances McDormand – Her Tony Award-winning denim jacket has been overthrown by her Oscar-presenting Birkenstocks!  She’s doesn’t give AF and it’s iconic. Even without a Grammy, give her the EGOT because I can’t stop singing her praises. Putting her next to J.LO & Charlize on the Mount. Don’t be fooled, a FASHION LEGEND walks among us… in sensible shoes!


31. Billy Porter – Category is: YOU OWN EVERYTHANG! Call security and a nurse, because there is a man in a gown on the red carpet & he just slayed the house down boots! This is the drama. This is the statement. This is the WOW we’ve been waiting for. NYC ball culture was honored. History was made. And we all got served! Halloween costume shopping starts now.


32. Cicely Tyson – You guys, Cicely was born in 1924. She is 94. NINETY-FOUR. And she showed up wearing all of this last night to pick up her honorary Oscar. They technically gave it to her in November at the Governors Awards, but this needs to be praised, respected and meditated upon for generations to come. We are not worthy. J.Lo, Charlize, Frances & Cicely. The Mount is now complete.


33. Selma Blair – The 46-year-old walked her first red carpet since revealing her MS diagnosis. Amazing. Please read her Instagram post.

 

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There are moments that define us. This is one of those indelibly watermarked in my heart. This is #troynankin ; my former publicist turned manager , best friend , and fake husband. We joke. I have become a different woman in the last few years, through struggles and the intense pride of motherhood. @vanityfair has always been a champion of mine, like Troy. And yet, I have not fully realized my capabilities as an actress. I wanted to be at this red carpet to remember my first time attending with a not yet famous friend, @jakegyllenhaal . I believed in him and his career and wanted him there. And this dinner always symbolizes so much. And I kept going because it was always a night in hollywood that was full of hollywood dreams with all the talent present in their glory. I loved to watch. I was invited this year. I am featured in March issue . Thank you @radhikajones @kristasmith @samiranasr #juliemiller @cassblackbird . So this was a streak of light. To say I am here. I am still in an exacerbation so there was some nervousness. I don’t do anything the way I was once able. I will though. I can regain much. Mommas gotta work. And I will be able to do so much more on my own, But this man. Until that comes …This man and a host of others light the way and hold the moon @thetexastroya was a hero. Wanting me to shine brightly in a time that can be so challenging. He knew I wanted to be able to stand proudly as the woman I have become and hope to be. To be a part of something so special when my body won’t move clearly yet. And then I felt the love from the photographers who have watched me goof around on red carpets since I was in my twenties. I felt the warmth of the bulbs. The strength of my gown. His attentive touch. And still I hoped my brain could send signals for the remainder of my time there. And I sobbed. And I appreciated every single second. Every surprising tear, he was there. As he has always been. And that is the reason I could. Thank you Troy. We got me just where I wanted to be. For a night. And I later pushed my way into a family photo with @dianaross (omg) . So much to post but not before this one. True love. Right here. Forever.

A post shared by Selma Blair (@selmablair) on


34. Julia Roberts – Gorgeous woman! Fun fact: If you present Best Picture you are Hollywood royalty & Julia was the first solo female presenter of Best Picture since Barbra Streisand in ’91.  That was 28 years ago. Seriously WTF, Academy?! And are we sure there wasn’t another Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway LA LA Land/Moonlight mix up? Are we sure it said Green Book?  Where’s the envelope? Did Jussie Smollett send it? Recount!


35. Madonna & Lady Gaga – If you haven’t heard, there is now gay world peace, Trump is no longer president, universal healthcare is the law of the land and Jake Gyllenhaal finally received his Oscar for Nightcrawler. Sleep well, Earthlings. Don’t @ me. Good night!

ICYMI: 11 STRAIGHT STARS WHO WON OSCARS FOR PLAYING GAY … 

 

UPDATE: On Sunday, Mahershala Ali, Rami Malek & Olivia Colman became the 12th, 13th & 14th straight stars to win Oscars for playing LGBT characters.

 

Sunday is the Gay Super Bowl and Adam Levine will not be taking off his shirt!

And while this year’s Oscar ceremony has been plagued with a series of misfires, starting with the whole Kevin Hart homophobic tweets debacle, it promises to deliver plenty of gay content with the usual A-list red carpet arrivals and performances by Lady Gaga, Bette Midler, Kendrick Lamar & SZA, Jennifer Hudson, and Adam Lambert with Queen.

In addition, seven of the 20 acting nominees  – Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Monique Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone (The Favourite), Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me) – portray LGBT characters while being actively straight in their private lives. Progressive!

While that’s all fine and good, this year, unless alleged bisexual Lady Gaga wins for Best Actress, there will once again be no openly LGBT star taking home the gold for acting. In fact, no OPENLY GAY person has ever won an Oscar for acting.

Although there have been several openly LGBT Oscar winners including Sam Smith (song), Elton John (song), Scott Rudin (film), Bill Condon (screenplay), Melissa Etheridge (song) and director Pedro Almodovar (foreign-language film, original screenplay), none have been in the acting categories.

LGBT thespians like Jodie Foster, Kevin Spacey, Joel Grey, Charles Laughton, Janet Gaynor and Marlon Brando have all won Oscars for acting, but were not publicly out at the time, if ever.

The only one that comes close is Sir John Gielgud, who won Best Supporting Actor in 1982 for Arthur.  But whether he was out at the time is debateable, as he never publicly discussed his private life.

So while there’s been no truly loud & proud queer acting winners, there have been nearly a dozen openly straight actors who have received the coveted 8.5 lb golden trophy of a chiseled, bald, muscular man for playing an LGBT character. A character, who, more often than not, leads a tragic life and winds up dead by the end. For your consideration, bury your gays!

And while I have no problem with straight actors playing gay, a shout out to the community in your acceptance speech is always a welcome gesture.

So here are the 11 stars who bravely went gay for pay, won an Oscar, and then gave LGBT inclusive (and not-so inclusive) acceptance speeches.

*WARNING! SPOILER ALERTS INCLUDED!*

1. William Hurt in 1986 for Kiss of the Spider-Woman

Hurt, a white cis straight man, won Best Actor for playing Molina, a South American transgender woman jailed in a Brazilian prison for having sex with a minor.  After working for the secret police and falling in love with a fellow prisoner (sexy Raul Julia), she is set free. Not long after, Molina winds up shot by revolutionaries and her body dumped in a pit by police. Roll credits!

In his acceptance speech, Hurt made no specific mention of the LGBT community, but did thank “the courageous people in Brazil with whom I made this film.”

Side note: Brazilian actress Sonia Braga shines as the aforementioned Spider-Woman and who Sex and the City fans might recognize as Samantha’s lesbian lover in a few episodes.

2. Tom Hanks in 1994 for Philadelphia

Hanks won his first Best Actor Oscar playing Andy Beckett, a gay corporate lawyer who sues his firm after being fired for AIDS discrimination.  With the help of a homophobic personal injury lawyer (played by Denzel Washington), Beckett winds up winning $5 million in damages. Denzel’s character manages to overcome his homophobia just in time to allow himself to physically touch Beckett’s face, who then dies in a hospital surrounded by his lover Miguel (Antonio Banderas). Cue the Springsteen song!

In his acceptance speech, Hanks thanked his gay drama teacher and a fellow gay former classmate. Those words would later lead to the inspiration for the 1997 film In & Out starring Kevin Kline.

I mention their names because they are two of the finest gay Americans, two wonderful men that I had the good fortune to be associated with, to fall under their inspiration at such a young age. I wish my babies could have the same sort of teacher, the same sort of friends.

But it’s because of Hanks’ emotional homage to the millions of people who had died from AIDS that this speech is often considered one of the best in Oscars history.

I know that my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels. We know their names. They number a thousand for each one of the red ribbons that we wear here tonight. They finally rest in the warm embrace of the gracious creator of us all. A healing embrace that cools their fevers, that clears their skin, and allows their eyes to see the simple, self-evident, common sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all and was written down on paper by wise men, tolerant men, in the city of Philadelphia two hundred years ago. God bless you all. God have mercy on us all. And God bless America.

3. Hilary Swank in 2000 for Boys Don’t Cry

The former Beverly Hills 90210 star won her first Best Actress Oscar portraying Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was brutally raped and murder by two cis men in Nebraska in 1993.

While forgetting to thank her then husband Chad Lowe made all the headlines, her final words are what truly needed to be lauded, especially back in March 2000.

I want to thank Brandon Teena for being such an inspiration to us all. His legacy lives on through our movie to remind us to always be ourselves, to follow our hearts, to not conform. I pray for the day when we not only accept our differences but celebrate our diversity.

4. Nicole Kidman in 2003 for The Hours

Kidman notched Best Actress by donning a prosthetic schnoz (The Kidman Nose™) to play bipolar, bisexual author Virginia Woolf, who committed suicide by drowning in 1941.

In her speech, Kidman didn’t reference gays, Woolf, or her nose, but she did use part of it to honor families and soldiers torn apart by the start of the recent war with Iraq.

Fun fact: Due to the invasion, traditional red carpet arrivals were cancelled & no one did press interviews. #Homophobic

Another standout moment from her speech was that Kidman was accompanied in the audience by Bella, her rarely seen Scientologist daughter with ex Tom Cruise.  That’s gotta count as some sort of gay bonus points, right?

5. Charlize Theron in 2004 for Monster

Theron gained weight, lost her brows and cancelled her Dry Bar appointments to transform into lesbian serial killer Aileen Wournos. While Theron became the first African woman to win Best Actress, in real life Wournos was exectued by lethal injection in 2002.

As would be expected, Theron made no mention of Wournos in her speech, but she did thank: “Tony G for transforming me.” So there’s that.

6. Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2006 for Capote

Hoffman took home Best Actor for playing out gay author Truman Capote in the biopic that centers on the events that led up to writing In Cold Blood.  Sadly, Hoffman and Capote’s real-life struggles with drugs and alcohol were factors in both of their early deaths.

Hoffman didn’t bring up Capote in the speech, but did give an especially poignant shout out to his mother and what mama’s boy doesn’t love that? Totes gay!

7. Penelope Cruz in 2009 for Vicky Cristina Barcelona

The Spanish star won Best Supporting Actress for her role as spirited bisexual Maria Elena, who begins a thrupple relationship with her real-life husband Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson in the Woody Allen romcom. Not only did she get an Oscar, but her character is still alive at the end. Baby steps!

In her speech, Cruz thanked out gay director Pedro Almodovar, with whom she often works, for creating many great female characters and letting her be apart of “so many of his adventures.”

8. Sean Penn in 2009 for Milk

Madonna’s ex-husband won his second Best Actor Oscar for portraying slain gay rights icon Harvey Milk.

The 2009 ceremomy occurred just months after Prop 8 passed banning gay marriage in California and Penn used his time to call out the Deplorables haters.

I think it’s a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue in that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.

Also of note, out Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

9. Natalie Portman in 2011 for Black Swan

Portman danced away with Best Actress for playing a ballerina in the psychological thriller, but it was her trippy girl-on-girl sex scene with Mila Kunis that really gets a standing, or is it lying down, O. It’s unclear what is real or not in the whole movie, but her fate by the end of the film doesn’t look good.

While she didn’t acknowledge her sapphic scene, Portman did give shout outs to “people on the film that no one ever talks about that are your heart and soul every day” like hair & makeup (gay), wardrobe stylists (probably gay) and camera operators (definitely lesbians!).

10. Christopher Plummer in 2012 for Beginners

Plummer won Best Supporting Actor for playing an elderly widower who comes out of the closet following the death of his wife. Although the character dies from cancer, he does manage to find love with a younger man and forges a new closer relationship with his adult son (Ewan McGregor).

After winning his first Oscar at the young age of 82, Plummer gave a career’s worth of thank yous to his handlers and family, but no nod to the gay community.

Fun fact: Plummer was nominated for Best Supporting Actor again in 2018 for All the Money in the World, a role he took only after Kevin Spacey was edited out of the completed film due to his sexual assault allegations. Oh and don’t forget, Spacey finally came out publicly while responding to those allegations. How lovely!

11. Jared Leto in 2014 for Dallas Buyer’s Club

Leto won Best Supporting Actor for playing Rayon, a drug addicted HIV-positive trans woman who eventually dies from AIDS-related complications.

Unlike his fellow Oscar-winning co-star Matthew McConaughey, Leto finished his acceptance speech by addressing the epidemic and those who inspired the role.

This is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS. And to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you.

Almost Extra Credit:

Cate Blanchett in 2005 for The Aviator

Blanchett won Best Supporting Actress for playing Katharine Hepburn in the Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) biopic. While the legendary film icon’s sexuality had been the subject of rumors throughout her career, it was not addressed in the Martin Scorsese film.

Obviously, her speech makes no reference to Katharine’s sexuality or anything LGBT related.

But Blanchett would go on to receive her 7th Oscar nomination for playing a divorcée who begins a lesbian relationship with a younger woman in Carol. Suprisingly, it’s one LGBT movie that doesn’t end tragically.

Now we’ll have to wait until Sunday to see this if this list needs to be updated with Rami, Mahershala,  Olivia, et al.

As far as finally having an out LGBT Oscar winner for acting, that’s just one more positive thing I’m hoping to see happen in America in 2020.

The 91st Academy Awards air Sunday at 8pm ET/5pm PT on ABC.

ICYMI: THE BEST, WORST & THE WTF FROM THE 2019 GRAMMYS