With Barry Jenkins’ ‘Moonlight’ snapping up eight nominations, this year’s Oscars are the biggest for queer film representations since ‘Brokeback Mountain’ won Best Film in 2016.
Not only has Hollywood addressed the ‘whitewashing’ of last year’s Oscars with eight nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, going to Moonlight, but it’s made this year’s ceremony the biggest for a gay film since 2006, when Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain received an equal eight nominations.
Directed by Barry Jenkins, Moonlight tells the story of a black, gay man’s life in three chapters, through childhood, teenhood and adulthood. Dealing with issues of bullying, drug addiction, crime and violence, at its heart is a story of coming to terms with the gay self that is deeply moving.
Also up for nomination is another film about a black gay man, this time the real life story of author James Baldwin’s stand against racism in America, I Am Not Your Negro. Heavily tipped to bring home the Best Documentary gong, it was described by The Guardian as “one of the best movies about the civil rights era ever made,” and is part of the line-up at this years Audi Dublin International Film Festival.
Irish actress Ruth Negga has been nominated in the Best Actress category for Loving, which is also rooted in the civil rights movement, and related to the modern fight for gay marriage equality. The story of of Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 US Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage, it’s a powerful film with a brilliant performance from Negga.
And a special mention must go to the Cohen Brothers’ Hail Ceasar!, which has been nominated for Best Production Design, if only for Channing Tatum’s hilarious turn as an all-singing, all-dancing gay villian.
Moonlight opens in Ireland on February 17. The Academy Awards — hosted by Jimmy Kimmel — will take place February 26. Good luck, Ruth!