Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017 GLAAD Awards Nominations Show Trials And Progress


So the nominations for the GLAAD Media Awards, which celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in the media, were recently announced. There was a lot to celebrate but I just wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge a category that stook out like a sore thumb. In the Outstanding Film- Wide Release category, there were literally two films. One of them is understandably Moonlight and the other is Star Trek Beyond which only features a snippet of the character of Hikaru Sulu and his husband.

There were five films in the Outstanding Film- Limited Release category: The Handmaiden, Naz and Maalik, Other People, Spa Night, and Those People. Almost all of them are about queer people of color. But the fact there were only two films in the Wide category shows how Hollywood has so much work to do.

When you look on the TV side, you'll see that in the categories for Best Comedy series and Drama series, there are 10 nominees in each category. So television has gotten steps ahead of film. Also, the fact that there were five film nominees in the Limited Release category shows how inclusive the independent film world is. There are films like The Handmaiden, Tangerine, and Weekend that come out each year. But nobody sees them because their studios don't have the marketing budgets for them to reach a wider audience.

Not only that, but when there is an opportunity to introduce a queer character into the mainstream like with Dr. Jillian Holtzmann in the new Ghostbusters and both Chirrut and Baze in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, whose sexuality has only been hinted at, the filmmakers go "Eh, the studios say otherwise" or "Fans can freely interpret that." But if these characters were to officially come out as gay, then the Outstanding Film-Wide Release category at this year's GLAAD Awards would have more than just two movies and it would show signs of progress.

Also, in a time where the Presidency is imposing threats on human rights, ranging from the Muslim ban to the defunding of Planned Parenthood, we need stories depicting people of different orientations, genders, creeds, races, and countries in a more positive manner now more than ever. We are seeing people from many different backgrounds coming together to march out on the streets in protest against the President. So it is only fitting for movies to reflect that unity amongst the people which is taking place. More movies like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Eye In The Sky, and Hidden Figures. Films with people of different genders and ethnicities uniting to achieve a common goal like what those of us trying to combat the violation of human rights are doing.

We may have seen the end of #OscarsSoWhite this year but as I have said before, we have a lot more work to do and given our current political climate, that work is needed now more than ever.