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The Golden Globe Awards and the SAG Awards air this month.
by Donalevan Maines
Groundbreaking actress Rita Moreno’s Golden Globe isn’t even mentioned in the announcement naming her as recipient of the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. Moreno won a Golden Globe in January 1962, before its ceremony became a boozy televised bash with stars of both movies and television, and long before SAG began presenting its “Actor” trophy in a sometimes ridiculously self-important union infomercial.
This month, Oscar nominations are sandwiched between the Globes and SAG awards, giving fans a preview of what might happen on Hollywood’s biggest night, when Ellen DeGeneres hosts the Academy Awards on Sunday, March 2.
However, by being such close neighbors on the awards calendar, the Globes and SAG awards set themselves up more for comparison to each other. That’s ironic because the Globes are voted on by a handful of maybe-shady, maybe-not members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, while the SAG Awards are supposedly a jury of peers, all 100,000 members of SAG and its partner union, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
Globe voters are infamous for nominating films and performances by popular celebrities just to get them to attend the awards ceremony, but they shocked fans this year by ignoring Oprah Winfrey, who was thought to be a shoo-in to win for Best Supporting Actress in Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
SAG embraced the movie by out filmmaker Lee Daniels—nominating Winfrey, Forest Whitaker in the title role, and stunt casting in cameo roles as Best Ensemble—making SAG look more like star chasers than the foreign press.
Robert Redford was left off the SAG list for Best Actor, but the Globes threw a lifeline to his performance in All Is Lost by nominating him for Best Actor in a Movie Drama.
As usual, Globe voters embarrassed themselves by allowing the category fraud of nominating dramatic movies in the comedy or musical field, while SAG again lumped leading and supporting actors together in awards for the small screen.
At both the Globes (co-hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on January 12) and the SAG Awards (on January 18), Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are film nominees for their work in the AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club. The gayest and greatest finalist at each show is Emmy champion Behind the Candelabra, the HBO biopic starring Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover, Scott Thorson.
Oscar nominations will be announced Thursday, January 16.
Rita Moreno won a Tony Award in 1975 for her hilarious portrait of talentless Googie Gomez, who attempted to entertain gay men draped in towels in the pool area of a New York City bathhouse in Terrence McNally’s The Ritz. Translating as best I can from Moreno’s thickly accented portrayal of Googie Gomez in The Ritz, what she said about her own delusion of becoming a superstar entertainer went something like this: “One of these days you’re going to see the name of Googie Gomez up in lights and you’re going ask to yourself, [gasps] ‘Was that her?’ And then you’re going to answer yourself [gasps], ‘Yes, that was her!’ Well, let me tell you something, Mister: I was always her, just that nobody knows it!”
Moreno performed at the first AIDS benefit at the Hollywood Bowl, a year or so before Elizabeth Taylor took up the mantle of fundraising to fight the epidemic. “It was the very first time they had done one,” recalled Moreno in an interview with OutSmart magazine in 2001. “And it was such a new and bold thing that all the local TV people showed up sticking mikes in my face, saying, ‘Why are you doing this?’ And my only response was, ‘Why wouldn’t I? What a silly question.’”
Moreno added, “The gay community has always been just absolutely warm and lovely and devoted.” [Editor’s note: to read the 2001 interview with Rita Moreno, click here.]
While this will be just the 20th presentation of the SAG Awards, it’s the 50th year the actors guild has bestowed the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession,” including career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment.
Danny Kaye, who was rumored to be gay, won in 1982. Taylor was honored in 1997.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Globes, voted to give its career achievement honor, called the Cecil B. DeMille Award, to reclusive film director Woody Allen. The comic isn’t gay, but he famously quipped, “Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.” Allen’s onetime squeeze Diane Keaton, whom he directed to an Oscar in Annie Hall, reportedly will accept the award on his behalf.
Blue Jasmine—in which Allen essentially updated the characters of Blanche DuBois and Stella Kowalski from Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire—won nominations in movie-drama categories for lead actress Cate Blanchette and supporting actress Sally Hawkins.
Other gay nominees and films with LGBT content that are Golden Globes finalists:
• Philomena, nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Motion Picture Drama, along with its star, Judi Dench.
• Blue Is the Warmest Color, in the running for Best Foreign-Language Film. The controversial movie about a lesbian relationship, based on a 2010 French graphic novel, won the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for both its director, Abdellatif Kechiche, and stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. (Exarchopoulos also won recognition from other critics’ group and a citation from the National Board of Review as the year’s breakthrough female actress.)
• Dallas Buyers Club, with nominations for McConaughey, who won Best Actor at the Gotham Awards, and Leto, whose portrayal of a transgender woman was honored by the New York Film Critics Circle. Leto tied with James Franco (as a rapping gangsta named Alien in Spring Breakers) at the Los Angeles Film Critics awards.
• Behind the Candelabra, including a surprise but welcome nod for supporting actor Rob Lowe as a creepy psychotherapist.
• TV series nominees with LGBT characters include Brooklyn-Nine-Nine, Downton Abbey, Girls, Masters of Sex, Modern Family, and Orange Is the New Black.
• House of Cards, starring best-actor finalist Kevin Spacey, whose character Francis Underwood hints at his life in the closet during a drunk all-nighter with his BFF from college, and co-starring supporting actor nominee Corey Stoll, who has performed stellar work in a number of independent films with gay themes.
• Out Houston native Jim Parson for Best Actor in a TV Comedy for The Big Bang Theory.
Sosie Bacon, daughter of Globe winners Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, will assist at the ceremony as this year’s Miss Golden Globe.
The SAG Awards will include these film nominees who are of special interest to OutSmart readers:
• Out actress Sarah Paulson is among the 13 performers in 12 Years a Slave who were nominated for Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture.
• Lee Daniels directed 15 actors to a cast nomination for The Butler.
• Denis O’Hare is among the six actors in Dallas Buyers Club who are nominated for Best Ensemble, along with McConaughey and Leto’s individual recognitions.
• Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine and Judi Dench in Philomena.
• Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in Behind the Candelabra.
Among nominees in TV categories are American Horror Story: Coven, 30 Rock, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, David Cross’s Tobias Fünke and out actress Portia de Rossi in Arrested Development, Eric Stonestreet’s Cameron Tucker and out actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett in Modern Family, Spacey, and Parsons.
What: The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards
When: Sunday, January 12, 7 p.m. CST
What: The 20th Annual SAG Awards
When: Saturday, January 18, 7 p.m. CST
Where: Simulcast on TNT and TBS
Donalevan Maines also writes about We Will Rock You in this issue of OutSmart.