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Why the Oscars Now Needs a Gay Host

Why the Oscars Now Needs a Gay Host


The recent flap over the Oscars -- Brett Ratner's crummy "fags" slur got him the boot from his job as producer, paving the way for his buddy Eddie Murphy's abrupt departure from the hosting gig -- presents its own tidy solution: Give the hosting job to someone gay. Someone openly gay.

It's a widely acknowledged fact that the Oscars broadcast is the gayest night on television. Granted, not all gays participate, but there is enough glamour, hair, jewelry, gowns, and tightly tailored suits, singing and dancing, divas, wry jokes aimed at conservative politicians, and chances for viewers to demonstrate pop culture acumen and party hosting skills, that this night is the undeniable Gay Super Bowl. You don't have plans for the 84th Academy Awards night yet? Well, I'm making mine now. (Whoever is the host, I know I'm far more likely to watch now that Ratner and Murphy are out of the picture.)

Just how gay is the Oscars? Let me count the ways.

  1. Playing LGBT virtually guarantees you a nomination. Just ask Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress nominees who played gay, lesbian, bi, or trans: Peter Finch for Sunday Bloody Sunday, Al Pacino and Chris Sarandon for Dog Day Afternoon, James Coco for Only When I Laugh, Cher for Silkwood, Bruce Davison for Longtime Companion, Greg Kinnear for As Good as It Gets, Ian McKellen for Gods and Monsters, Ed Harris and Julianne Moore for The Hours, Javier Bardem for Before Night Falls, Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain, Felicity Huffman for Transamerica, and Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal. And then there are the winners for Best Actor/Actress: William Hurt for Kiss of the Spider Woman, Tom Hanks for Philadelphia, Hilary Swank for Boys Don't Cry, Nicole Kidman for The Hours, Charlize Theron for Monster, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Capote. This year will likely to be no different, with several possible nominees from queer projects.
  2. The same-sex kisses (winners to their spouses or presenter to presenter) are one of the best parts of the shows -- even if the kiss never makes it to the airwaves; witness the fuss over the Javier Bardem-Josh Brolin censored smooch onstage this year. Didn't see it? No one did, but it happened, and we talked about it all the next day.
  3. The second-best parts are the musical numbers -- when they work well. Who do you think does the choreography? Beyonce's hair? Barbra's lighting?
  4. The third-best parts are the musical numbers when they're absolutely atrocious.
  5. James Franco in a white leotard.

Who should host? Ellen DeGeneres hosted to acclaim in the past, and we know Oscar loves its repeat hosts (Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg), and she looks great in a tux. As does Neil Patrick Harris, a proven host with the most, and Jane Lynch, a hilariously commanding presence on the big or small screen.

Although Oscar's bid in 2011 for a younger demographic (hosted by Franco and Anne Hathaway) had some questionable results, another option in that vein might be 30 Rock hottie Cheyenne Jackson, who's no slouch on the live stage either. Or Cynthia Nixon, Portia de Rossi, Wanda Sykes, Ian McKellen, Sean Hayes. George Takei and Zachary Quinto as Star Trek-themed cohosts? Sulu and Spock! A whole new demographic of Trekkies awaits.

Lily Tomlin! Can we please have Lily Tomlin as host? Her brilliant partner, Jane Wagner, could write for the show. We'd also likely see the return of Bruce Vilanch as an Oscar joke writer. No doubt he made Ratner and Murphy a little, um, uneasy.

So why not make the de facto gayest night on TV into the official gayest night on TV? The Academy needs a solution to this mess, and our people are perfectly poised to pluck Oscar out of a publicity predicament. In addition to the balm that naming a gay host would be, the announcement that someone LGBT would host the affiar is still newsworthy -- it's only happened once before. And even if Marcus Bachmann is a weird but distant memory by the time of the broadcast (hoping, praying), a gay host would make hay with electoral politics in 2012.

And just imagine the possibilities for drinking games! A shot for each time you see a white tux, or every time someone is nominated for playing Queen Elizabeth I, or every time Kevin Spacey visibly squirms in his seat, or when the lady presenters check out each other's decolletage, or when someone is introduced as a "dame," or when the Best Costume award goes to a period film. So many possibilities!

My money's on Glenn Close to win for Best Actress for her gender-bending title role in Albert Nobbs. So it's inevitable. The Oscars will be gay, whether officially or not. So why fight the power Academy?

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