There was an unusually high number of films with LGBTQ characters and themes at last year’s Oscars, but that wasn’t the case in 2020. That meant the exclusion of, among others, “Booksmart” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” but they have lots of company when it comes to queer movies that either lost Oscars or weren’t nominated at all. Click above for our list of 38 great films that came away without any hardware from the motion picture academy.
The critically acclaimed “Booksmart” follows two teenage overachievers (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) looking to cut loose for the first time right before they graduate. Dever’s character is openly, matter-of-factly gay and pines for a classmate, which makes this a rare teen movie about a queer young woman who explores her sexuality the way straight characters commonly get to do in coming-of-age films. Alas, the film was blanked at the Oscars despite scoring screenplay nominations from the Writers Guild and BAFTAs and a Best Film Comedy/Musical Actress nom at the Golden Globes for Feldstein.
The French-language “Portrait” received even more acclaim from critics — it had the second highest MetaCritic score of 2019, behind only “Parasite” — for its romance between a painter (Noémie Merlant) and her subject (Adèle Haenel). And it received plaudits around the world, including Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival and Best Foreign Film noms from the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Critics’ Choice Awards, and the Independent Spirit Awards, among others. It probably would have been nominated for an Oscar too, but France elected to submit “Les Miserables” for Oscar consideration instead and that film was indeed nominated for Best International Feature.
On the plus side, “Pain and Glory” did manage to make the cut at the Oscars, earning nominations for Best International Feature and Best Actor for Antonio Banderas, who plays a gay film director coming to terms with his past. And Margot Robbie is up for Best Supporting Actress for playing a fictional Fox News reporter who has a same-sex fling — though the Evangelical character doesn’t explicitly identify as gay or bi. But that’s about it for significant queer representation this year, apart from Elton John‘s songwriting nom for “Rocketman.”
Were you disappointed that “Booksmart” and “Portrait” missed the cut? What other LGBTQ films do you think have deserved Oscars over the years, but didn’t get them?
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