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LGBTQ people, real and fictional, will take center stage at the Golden Globes

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Once considered taboo in film and television, gay performers and characters will be hard to miss at the 80th Golden Globe Awards.

As the curtains open at Tuesday’s annual ceremony, viewers will be greeted by Gay Comedian of the Year, Jerrod Carmichael (“Rothaniel”), who hosts the awards ceremony. Some of the evening’s most nominated films – including sci-fi comedy-drama ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ and psychological thriller ‘Tár’ – and TV series which include ‘The White Lotus’ and ‘Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” – star LGBTQ actors or portray fictional queer characters. And to cap off the evening, the Golden Globes will pay tribute to gay writer and television producer Ryan Murphy, perhaps best known for co-creating “Glee,” “Pose” and the “American Horror Story” franchise, with a lifetime achievement award.

“This year really feels like a complete celebration of queer talent,” said James Kleinmann, founder and editor of The Queer Review, a website dedicated to reviewing LGBTQ shows and movies. “It kind of makes you feel like we’re everywhere – and the Golden Globes are right to notice that.”

Some of the notable nominees creating the pervasive sense of queerness are non-binary actor Emma D’Arcy, who stars in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel, “House of the Dragon”; actor and singer Zendaya, who plays a troubled queer high school student on HBO’s “Euphoria”; and actor Jeremy Pope, who plays a young gay man who joins the Marines in the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ era in Elegance Bratton’s ‘The Inspection’.

Facing fierce competition in his category, gay Belgian director Lukas Dhont, who has a good chance of winning Best Foreign Language Film for his coming-of-age story about two friends torn apart by peer pressure , “Close”. Elsewhere, nominees like “Abbott Elementary,” “Severance,” “Babylon,” and others are arguing for the inclusion of queer stories (even minor ones) in mainstream comedies, cerebral TV, and high-grossing shows. budget – whether they end the night with trophies or not.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s embrace of queer themes and creators coincides with an increase in LGBTQ representation in the film industry over the past decade.

A report on diverse representation in films released last month by LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD found that the percentage of queer-inclusive films has increased by 50% over the past 10 years. In 2021, more than 20%, or a total of 17 out of 66 films released theatrically by a major studio, featured at least one LGBTQ character. However, the report noted that gains in representation were not evenly distributed across the LGBTQ community, with gay male characters dominating movie screens: of the 17 major studio films that had LGBTQ characters, 11 films (69% ) had gay male characters, four (25%) included lesbian characters, and two (13%) included bisexual characters.

As this year’s group of Golden Globe nominees up the awards show’s queer factor, many of the most anticipated wins involve seemingly straight actors playing queer characters.

“Tár,” which garnered three nominations, centers on a world-famous fictional lesbian bandleader played by Cate Blanchett, who is a top contender in the race for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. Brendan Fraser and Daniel Craig are both nominated in the Best Actor categories for portraying queer characters in “The Whale” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” respectively. And ‘The White Lotus,’ which earned four nominations for its explosive second season, features several queer characters, the most prominent of which is beloved British actor Tom Hollander, who has never identified as anything other than straight. .

“Some things change very quickly, and some things change very slowly,” said Harry Benshoff, author of “Queer Cinema, The Film Reader” and professor of film and television at the University of North Texas.

Benshoff summed up Hollywood’s tendency to cast heterosexual actors in gay roles as a cautionary tale from producers prioritizing star power and box office sales.

“Are there any LGBT actors or actresses who star a Jake Gyllenhaal?” he asked, referring to the actor’s portrayal of a queer man in the Oscar-winning film “Brokeback Mountain.” “I do not know.”

For this year’s awards, Kleinmann said he was “most excited” about gay actors nominated for gay roles, such as Hannah Einbinder’s Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in the drama series and HBO comedy “Hacks.” But he also championed the practice of straight actors portraying queer sexuality in general.

“As long as you have an emotionally intelligent actor who understands the whole human experience, there’s no reason he can’t play these roles,” Kleinmann said, pointing to Blanchett, who portrayed a character lesbian. in at least one other acclaimed film.

The increase in LGBTQ representation at this year’s Golden Globes comes a year after the ceremony was plagued by accusations that its electoral bloc, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, lacked diversity. The controversy prompted NBC to drop the broadcast of the ceremony last year. (NBC News and the NBC Broadcast Network are owned by NBCUniversal.)

In September, NBC and the HFPA announced that the awards show would resume on the television network this year, after the association took steps to diversify its membership. The HFPA said it added 103 new voters, including industry professionals based outside the United States for the first time, comprising a group that is now “52% women, 51.5% racially diverse and ethnic, with 19.5% Latinx, 12% Asian, 10% Black and 10% Middle Eastern.The association has not released statistics on voters’ sexuality or gender identity.

“While it is clear that the HFPA is taking action in response to the need for more diversity this year, such inclusion should become the norm for the HFPA in all of its endeavours, including within its membership,” Anthony Allen Ramos, vice president of communications and talent at GLAAD, said in a statement.

The Golden Globes airs Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC and Peacock.

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