By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com March 05 2010 3:30 PM ET

Since the Stonewall riots of 1969, 30 men and women have been nominated for an Academy Award for playing LGBT on film. In anticipation of this Sunday’s Oscars, The Advocate takes a look back at these superb, often career-making performances.

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Peter Finch
Best Actor in a Leading Role, Sunday Bloody Sunday
1971
Role: Dr. Daniel Hirsh, who is competing with a woman for the affections of a bisexual artist.


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Al Pacino
Best Actor in a Leading Role, Dog Day Afternoon
1975
Role: Sonny Wortzik, a man who robs a bank to pay for his male lover’s gender-reassignment surgery.


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Chris Sarandon
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Dog Day Afternoon
1975
Role: Leon Shermer, a pre-op trans woman who is in love with a bank robber.


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Marcello Mastroianni
Best Actor in a Leading Role, A Special Day
1977
Role: Gabriele, a gay man repulsed by fascism who strikes up a friendship with a neighbor (Sophia Loren) on the day Hitler travels to Rome to meet with Mussolini in 1938.


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James Coco
Beast Actor in a Supporting Role, Only When I Laugh
1981
Role: Jimmy Perino, a gay theater actor relegated to supporting roles in off-off-Broadway shows.


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John Lithgow
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, The World According to Garp
1982
Role: Roberta Muldoon, a transsexual ex-football player who becomes best friends with Garp (Robin Williams).


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Robert Preston (pictured at right)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Victor/Victoria
1982
Role:
Carroll “Toddy” Todd, owner of a tawdry nightclub who poses as struggling female impersonator Victoria’s (Julie Andrews) gay lover.

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Cher
Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Silkwood
1983
Role: Dolly Pelliker, the lesbian best friend and coworker of plutonium plant whistle-blower Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep).


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William Hurt
Best Actor in a Leading Role, Kiss of the Spider Woman
1985
Role: Luis Molina, a man in prison for having sex with an underage boy. Hurt won the Oscar for his work.


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Bruce Davison
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Longtime Companion
1990
Role: David, an affluent gay man living in New York in the 1980s, who loses his lover to AIDS.




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Tommy Lee Jones
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, JFK
1991
Role: Clay Shaw, a New Orleans businessman who is sleeping with a male hustler (Kevin Bacon) and is alleged to have participated in the conspiracy to assassinate JFK.


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Jaye Davidson
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, The Crying Game
1992
Role (SPOILER ALERT): Dil, the girlfriend of a murdered British soldier who, in the film’s big reveal, turns out to be a man.


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Tom Hanks
Best Actor in a Leading Role, Philadelphia
1993
Role: Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer who successfully sues his former employer in one of the first AIDS discrimination suits. Hanks won the Oscar for his work.


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Greg Kinnear
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, As Good as It Gets
1997
Role: Simon Bishop, a gay artist who forms an unlikely bond with his homophobic neighbor (Jack Nicholson).


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Ian McKellen
Best Actor in a Leading Role, Gods and Monsters
1998
Role: James Whale, the gay director of Frankenstein who befriends (and ultimately becomes obsessed with) his gardener (Brendan Fraser).


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Kathy Bates
Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Primary Colors
1998
Role: Libby Holden, a nutty campaign adviser to a fictional presidential candidate based on Bill Clinton (John Travolta).


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Hilary Swank
Best Actress in a Leading Role, Boys Don't Cry
1999
Role: Brandon Teena, a trans man who was raped and murdered by his friends after they found out he was born female. Swank won the Oscar for her work.


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Javier Bardem
Best Actor in a Leading Role, Before Night Falls
2000
Role: Reinaldo Arenas, a Cuban poet and novelist who is imprisoned for being gay.


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Ed Harris
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, The Hours
2002
Role: Richard Brown, a writer dying of AIDS struggling to stay alive for a dinner party his friend Clarissa (Meryl Streep) is throwing in his honor.


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Nicole Kidman
Best Actress in a Leading Role, The Hours
2002
Role: Novelist Virginia Woolf, who was known for her many relationships with women; the film chronicles her life and eventual suicide. Kidman won the Oscar for her work.


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Julianne Moore
Best Actress in a Supporting Role, The Hours
2002
Role: Laura Brown, a deeply unhappy suburban housewife on the verge of suicide, who has feelings for women.


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Charlize Theron
Best Actress in a Leading Role, Monster
2003
Role: Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute and rape victim turned serial killer who nonetheless finds love with Selby (Christina Ricci). Theron won the Oscar for her work.


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Philip Seymour Hoffman
Best Actor in a Leading Role, Capote
2005
Role: Truman Capote, the flamboyant gay author of the best-selling true-crime book In Cold Blood. Hoffman won the Oscar for his work.




Felicity Huffman
Best Actress in a Leading Role, Transamerica
2005
Role: Bree Osbourne, a pre-op trans woman who goes on a road trip with her long-lost son (Kevin Zegers).


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Heath Ledger
Best Actor in a Leading Role, Brokeback Mountain
2005
Role: Ennis Del Mar, a ranch hand who falls in love and carries on a secret relationship with a rodeo cowboy (Jake Gyllenhaal).


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Jake Gyllenhaal
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Brokeback Mountain
2005
Role:
Jack Twist, a rodeo cowboy who falls in love and carries on a secret relationship with ranch hand Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger).

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Judi Dench
Best Actress in a Leading Role, Notes on a Scandal
2006
Role: Barbara Covett, a bitter schoolteacher who forms an unhealthy obsession with a new young art instructor (Cate Blanchett).


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Sean Penn
Best Actor in a Leading Role, Milk
2008
Role: Harvey Milk, the San Francisco politician who kick-started the city’s gay rights movement before being assassinated in 1978. Penn won the Oscar for his work.


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Penélope Cruz
Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2008
Role: Maria Elena, a mentally unbalanced woman who, with her ex-husband (Javier Bardem), takes a lover (Scarlett Johansson).


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Colin Firth
Best Actor in a Leading Role, A Single Man
2009
Role: George Falconer, a gay British university professor struggling to find his way after the death of his lover (Matthew Goode).


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