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Oscar Nominations Signal More Queer Representation

Several LGBTQ actors and films could win this year.

When the 2022 Oscar nominations were revealed on February 8, queer actors were nominated in two of the four major acting categories, and several other queer-centric films, like The Power of the Dog and Flee, may also take home the Oscar gold on March 27.

Kristen Stewart brought home the sole nomination for Spencer, for her portrayal of Princess Diana. After missing other key nominations during what has been an unpredictable awards season, it wasn’t certain if Stewart would be included. She is the first out actor to be nominated in 20 years. Although Jodie Foster, who came out publicly in 2013, has taken home two Academy Awards, she was not out at the time. Elliott Page was nominated in 2007 but did not win, and was also not out at the time. Stewart’s win would also be a huge win for queer representation in the top acting category.

Ariana DeBose was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her fantastic performance as Anita in West Side Story. DeBose has had a streak of career highs recently, with major roles in Schmiggadoon on Apple+ and The Prom on Netflix. DeBose has already taken home the Golden Globe in the same category, and her chances appear to be far better than Stewart’s. Should DeBose win, she will be making queer history as well as Oscars history as the second actor to win an Oscar for the same role. Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 version, also won Best Supporting Actress. Incidentally, Moreno executive-produced the 2021 version and also starred in a different role, of course.

The Power of the Dog, with its themes about queer sexual repression, took home a slew of nominations including Best Director (for Jane Campion) and Best Picture. It follows in the footsteps of Moonlight, which won in 2017 and also had similar themes. The Power of the Dog has a decent chance of winning at least one of the major categories it was nominated in, which would be a further indicator that queer-themed stories can perform.

The animated documentary Flee, about a gay Afghan refugee starting over in Denmark, was nominated in three categories—which in and of itself made Oscars history. They were Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best International Film.

There were also a fair number of Oscar snubs. Lady Gaga’s role in House of Gucci did not get the nomination she had been campaigning for. And queer actor Tessa Thompson, who many thought might get an acting nomination for her role in Passing alongside Ruth Negga, was also overlooked.


Ryan Leach

Ryan Leach is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine. Follow him on Medium at
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