Recent Comments

    Loving Lady Gaga and Other Lingering Oscar Thoughts

    By Jan Wahl–

    Just when I thought I couldn’t have more respect for Lady Gaga, she made an artistic choice at the Oscars that blew me away.  She at first appeared in the audience, dressed and made up beautifully, as only Gaga can. Less than a half hour later, she appeared onstage, completely sans makeup, in jeans and a t-shirt. She had wiped every stitch of makeup down to where you could see her chapped lips. As she sang “Hold My Hand,” we felt her heart. Given the closeup cameras and an international audience, this was a gutsy choice for Gaga. Hats off to you, girl.

    It may be old news by now, there are moments from this Oscar show that will stay with me. I was rooting for Navalny, about the imprisoned Russian opposition leader, to win Best Documentary—and it did. When his wife Yulia and his two children accepted the Oscar, it was beautiful. I also was hoping for a win for Women Talking for Adapted Screenplay; another victory. For once, the winners did not pull out stupid written acceptance speeches but spoke from their hearts. When Michelle Yeoh said, “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re past your prime,” the audience cheered. We also all applauded when the codirector of Everything Everywhere All at Once, Daniel Scheinert, said: “Thank you, mom, for not squashing my creativity when I dressed in drag as a kid, which threatens no one.” Hello, Florida?

    Last year’s Best Supporting Actress Ariana DeBose won my fashion gold of the night, in an art deco column. Angela Bassett brough purple reign. Bows and roses seemed to costar with Halle Barry and Nicole Kidman. There was sexy glam with Eva Longoria and Jessica Chastain. Fabulous Janelle Monae was the best part of the cut-out look, and Malala showed her usual courage with graceful silver shimmers. She thought fast when Jimmy Kimmel randomly asked her some Housewives type question.  She calmy answered, “I only talk about peace.” You go, girl.

    Though I didn’t love Ashley Graham’s look, I give her major points for getting through an interview pre-show with an obnoxious Hugh Grant. As an interviewer myself, I felt her pain. Check this out, and all these looks too, on the internet.

    I found something terrific on Google that I hope you will all discover. Those who type in phrases like “List of LGBT Academy Award Winners and Nominees” will receive pages and pages pf lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people who have been up for the gold or won. Also included are cis-hetero actors who played queer characters. There is also a list of individuals who are identified as LBGTQ, though may not have come out publicly or personally identified. There’s some wonderful information here, and I will be using this as a reference in my lecture, “Reel Fabulous: LBGTQ in Hollywood.”

    Cisgender heterosexuals who have played iconic gay characters include some of our finest actors. Think Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote, Benedict Cumberbatch (should’ve won!) as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, to name a few. Fictional characters played by straight performers include Cate Blanchett in Tar, the amazing leads of Brokeback Mountain, Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, Felicity Huffman in Transamerica, Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs, and Elliot Page who was nominated when he was Ellen Page for Juno. Bisexual Cynthia Erivo was nominated as Harriet Tubman and should have won! Other gay actors and actresses of our time include Ian McKellen, Linda Hunt, Ariana DeBose, Jodie Foster, Joel Gray, Kevin Spacey, and Lily Tomlin. 

    Classic Gay Hollywood represents with Monty Woolley in one of my favorite comedies ever: The Man Who Came to Dinner.   We add to the list Anthony Perkins, Clifton Webb, Charles Laughton, Rock Hudson, and Nigel Hawthorne. Famed bisexuals include Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Kate Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Montgomery Clift, and James Dean.

    The lists go on with other performers, directors, costume designers, and technicians in all branches. Wikiwand, in particular, has a great compilation of them at:

    Jan Wahl is a Hollywood historian, film critic on various broadcast outlets, and has her own YouTube channel series, “Jan Wahl Showbiz.” She has two Emmys and many awards for her longtime work on behalf of film buffs and the LGBTQ community. Contact her at

    Off the Wahl
    Published on March 23, 2023