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Queer Stories and Actors Win Big at the Critics' Choice Awards

Janelle Monáe
Photo by Axelle Bauer-Griffin/Film Magic

In the second major award show of 2023, the critics celebrated LGBTQ+ films and television.

Days after the gayest Golden Globes in recent memory, the Critics' Choice Awards aired on the CW, rewarding queer actors like Janelle Monae and Niecy Nash with major awards, and recognizing LGBTQ+ film and television shows such as Tar, Hacks, The Whale, and Everything Everywhere All At Once.

The evening started out with a clever monologue from comedian Chelsea Handler, who said what the sapphics have always said: "[Cate Blanchett] should win an Oscar every year for just being alive." She also highlighted some of this year's biggest queer films, including Tar, Fire Island, and Bros.

One of the first awards of the night went to gay icon Jennifer Coolidge for her role in The White Lotus. Soon after, out actress Niecy Nash won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for her role in Ryan Murphy's Dahmer. During her acceptance speech, Nash thanked her wife and proudly exclaimed: "To everybody who doubted this Black woman, and told me what I couldn't do, I want to humbly say: IN YOUR FACE!"

Other queer Black performers were also celebrated during the evening. Kate Hudson presented Janelle Monae with the SeeHer Award, which honors actors who advocate for gender equality and challenge stereotypes. At the top of Monae's speech, she explained that her pronouns are: "she/her, they/them, and free-ass m-----f----r." They also emphasized that they are non-binary and queer, explaining that their "identity influences [their] decisions and [their] work."

Later in the evening, LGBTQ-inclusive television shows like Hacks, Abbott Elementary, and Euphoria were recognized. Jean Smart earned Best Actress for her role as Deborah Vance in Hacks. Abbott Elementary took home the trophy for Best Comedy and its star Sheryl Lee Ralph won for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. And Zendaya won Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role as queer high schooler Rue on Euphoria.

Queer and queer-inclusive films also proved victorious. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, which stars Monae and features Daniel Craig in a gay role, won Best Comedy and Best Acting Ensemble. Brendan Fraser took home the trophy for Best Actor for his portrayal of an overweight gay man in The Whale.

Blanchett won Best Actress for her role as lesbian conductor Lydia Tar in Tar. And finally, queer-inclusive film Everything Everywhere All At Once won Best Film and Best Director. We can only hope the rest of this season's award shows are as queer as this was!

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