The covid pandemic may have disrupted film production over the past year but is hasn’t disrupted the awards season where it seems that quotas, inclusion and diversity are more important than actual talent and achievement.
It isn’t generally known, especially by self-identified lgbt spokespeople, that there have been many lgbt winners and nominees of Oscars. There were more lgbt nominees in the ten years of the 1950s (132) than there were in the 25 years from 1994 to 2019 (126). Many of these nominees may not have been lgbt publicly, but then they didn’t have social media demanding that this part of their life should be made public. Most were openly lgbt to those they worked with and knew. There has only been two awards ceremonies where there weren’t any lgbt nominees – November 1933 (there were two ceremonies that year, the first being in April) and 1935. As the ceremony last weekend was the 93rd that means that there are had been at least 91 lgbt nominations in Oscar history.
Do you remember Sam Smith looking like a complete fool by declaring in front of the world to be the first openly lgbt Oscar winner in 2015 (probably the only thing Sam will ever be remembered for)? Thankfully, there were plenty of previous lgbt Oscar winners ready to put the record straight.
Of course, there were people who were deliberately secretive about their sexuality, but fewer than you might think. It is recognised that the film studio bosses deliberately suppressed news in the media about a film star’s sexuality. To cover up any scandal the news would have caused at that time the studios arranged for that person to get married. This attitude towards sexuality in the American cinema still prevails today, despite the deceptive appearance of there being a lot of out American actors and film-makers.
There are too many lgbt nominees and winners to list here (602 in total, held by 219 individuals), but an almost accurate list is available on Wikipedia. A handful of the names it lists are not verified as being lgbt, being based purely on unsubstantiated rumour or unreliable testimony. Some names that have been included which are based on rumour have other supporting evidence which supports their identification. There are also a few omissions and wrongly categorised names.
So, here are some of the more interesting and significant facts and figures about lgbt nominees and winners of Oscars.
Best Art Direction (replaced with Best Production Design in 2012) received 20 lgbt nominations. Between 1941 and 1970 the category was subdivided into Colour and Black and White.
Best Art Direction: Colour received 67 nominations, and Best Art Direction: Black and White received 58. In total the Best Art Direction category has received 145 lgbt nominations. Of those 145 nominations, 28 won. Best Art Direction won 4 times, Best Art Direction: Colour won 13 times, and Best Art Direction: Black and White won 11 times.
Number of lgbt nominations for acting
First lgbt nomination, first lgbt acting nomination, first ever female nomination, and first female to receive more than one nomination, and first female to win all nominations received in one year.
First lgbt male nominations
First male lgbt winner
First non-acting lgbt nomination
First non-acting lgbt winner, the most nominated lgbt non-actor, the most consecutive years with a nomination, and the lgbt person with the most Oscars
First female transgender nomination, first transgender person to be nominated twice
First male transgender nomination
First transgender acting nomination (pre transition)
First lgbt actor to play a non-lgbt character of the opposite sex
First black lgbt acting nomination
First black lgbt non-acting nomination
Lgbt actors with the most nominations
Sir Laurence Olivier, Lord Olivier (1907-1989) received 13 nominations, though they include Best Director and Best Picture (“Hamlet”, 1949), and one honorary award. He also won 4 times.
First posthumous lgbt acting nomination
First posthumous lgbt male acting nomination, first lgbt actor to be nominated posthumously twice
First posthumous lgbt non-acting nomination, first posthumous lgbt winner, most number of posthumous nominations
Lgbt nominee with the lowest success rate
Film with the most lgbt nominees, and film with the most lgbt winners
Year with the most number of lgbt nominees, and the most lgbt winners
Lgbt people with the most multiple nominations in one year
Samuel M. Comer (1893-1974) in 1964 for Best Art Decoration on 3 different films,
I think that’s enough statistics for now. If I get the time I’ll produce another list of interesting lgbt Oscar facts in the future, perhaps concentrating on music, design or production.