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Gay guide to the

Gay guide to the


Brokeback Mountain. Capote. Transamerica. No matter who wins--sorry, no matter who the Oscar goes to--this year's Academy Awards promises to be the gayest in its 78-year history. Here's a look at who's been invited to the party on March 5

Some years, it's a real challenge to come up with a gay guide to the Academy Awards. Try to find a queer hook for In the Bedroom--uh, Nick Stahl was in Bully!

What a treat, then, to consider the films of 2005 as they jockey for position at Hollywood's biggest night of the year. The exquisite Brokeback Mountain leads the field with eight nominations, while Capote pops up with five, and Transamerica with another two. Having just one of these movies in a past year would have seemed special--all three at once feels miraculous. As a glass-is-half-full colleague pointed out in late 2000, when the Supreme Court handed the presidency over to George W. Bush, "Oh, well, at least it'll be good for art."

Here's a quick look at this year's gay and gay-adjacent Oscar nominees--and even if Nick Stahl doesn't appear in any of them, we might stretch the connections a bit, just for old times' sake:

Brokeback Mountain is the movie to beat this year, of course, although seeming like such a sure thing early on in the awards process makes this King of the Mountain ripe for being knocked off. Still, its nominations--Best Picture, Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Actor (Heath Ledger), Best Supporting Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal), Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams), Best Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana), Best Original Score (Gustavo Santaolalla), and Best Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto, who also plays Jack's Mexican whore)--edge it past Philadelphia as the most-nominated gay-themed film ever.

And tying with Philadelphia's five nominations is Capote, although "gay-themed" seems a reductive description of this riveting portrait of an artist and his willingness to sell his soul. Philip Seymour Hoffman appears to be the favorite in the Best Actor category, but don't rule out this film's chances for Best Supporting Actress--Catherine Keener as Harper Lee, whose To Kill a Mockingbird features one of American literature's greatest baby dyke characters--Best Director (Bennett Miller), Best Adapted Screenplay (Dan Futterman), or even Best Picture.

While Transamerica had pulled in only about $1.5 million before the announcement of the Oscar nominations, Felicity Huffman's striking performance puts her at or near the front of the Best Actress pack. And even if Huffman doesn't win for her convincing portrayal of an MTF counting down the days to gender-reassignment surgery who discovers she has a long-lost son, look for Dolly Parton to steal the show when she performs Best Song nominee "Travelin' Thru"--and to steal it again when she wins.

Elsewhere on Oscar night:

Munich: Multiple award winner Tony Kushner scored his first Oscar nod as cowriter of Steven Spielberg's revenge-and-recrimination thriller.

The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation: Gay animator and Disney historian John Canemaker received his first nomination for Best Animated Short with this look at a son's difficult relationship with his distant, deceased father.

North Country: It was a slim year for female performances in movies that Academy members would actually deign to see--sorry, Zhang Ziyi (2046), Vera Farmiga (Down to the Bone), and Julianne Moore (The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio). Consequently, the Academy returned to the comforting arms of Charlize Theron as a Best Actress nominee, honoring her for her first major role since her Oscar-winning turn as lesbian multiple murderer Aileen Wuornos in Monster.

Mrs. Henderson Presents: Judi Dench scored a fifth nomination for this valentine to British showgirls who weren't afraid to show some skin when their nation was at war. No Oscar love for out supporting actor (and Pop Idol winner) Will Young, alas; it will be up to history to determine whether Mrs. Henderson is any better than From Justin to Kelly.

Syriana and Cinderella Man: Bears everywhere, take note: Weight gain and a beard are for movie-star men what weight gain and ugly teeth/noses/complexions are for movie-star women. Namely, Oscar bait. The Academy's three-way lovefest for George Clooney didn't cover just his writing and directing Good Night, and Good Luck; they decided to take him seriously as an actor after he paunched up and stopped shaving to play a CIA agent in Syriana. Of course, if you already happen to have a beard and some extra poundage, like the great Paul Giamatti, the Academy will ignore your superlative lead performances in American Splendor and Sideways and honor you only for doing all of your scenes next to Russell Crowe.

Pride and Prejudice: We dub Keira Knightley, who scored her first Best Actress nod this year, Officially Gay-Adjacent: She kicked off 2005 costarring in out director John Maybury's The Jacket, and her character in 2002's Bend It Like Beckham was thought to be a lesbian by her mum. (Rumor has it that the character was a lesbian in early drafts.) Plus, she can totally rock an Empire waist.

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