On Monday, January 18 the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association will announce its slate of awards for the best movies and tv shows of 2009. The association of film and television critics don't limit themselves to just those that are marketed to the LGBT community. Rather than a spotlight, they shine a floodlight on quality, depth, and entertainment value, not merely the presence or non-presence of gay themes. Thus the inclusion of such fare as Mad Men and Grey Gardens on television, and the animated gem Up or the delightful Julie and Julia in film.
A look at the nominations for 2009 is fascinating:
FILM OF THE YEAR
(500) Days of Summer
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
A Single Man
FILM PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Catalina Saavedra, The Maid
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
LGBT - THEMED FILM OF THE YEAR
A Single Man
CAMPY — INTENTIONAL OR NOT — FILM OF THE YEAR
Drag Me to Hell
Julie and Julia
TV DRAMA OF THE YEAR
TV MUSICAL OR COMEDY OF THE YEAR
TV PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR: DRAMA
Drew Barrymore, Grey Gardens
Glenn Close, Damages
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Sigourney Weaver, Prayers for Bobby
TV PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR: MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Adam Lambert, American Music Awards
Jane Lynch, Glee
Lea Michele, Glee
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
LGBT - THEMED TV SHOW OF THE YEAR
An Englishman in New York
Prayers for Bobby
CAMPY — INTENTIONAL OR NOT — TV SHOW OF THE YEAR
The Colbert Report
The Real Housewives of New Jersey
THE MORE, PLEASE! BREAKOUT AWARD
SAVAGE WIT OF THE YEAR
Stephen Colbert and the writers of The Colbert Report
Kirby Dick, director of Outrage
Tina Fey and the writers of 30 Rock
Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show
THE FOREVER AGELESS AWARD
(Each year, an iconic film and/or television star AS WELL AS an indelible film or TV program is honored)
FILM OR TV PROGRAM
All About Eve
The Golden Girls
Contenders for Film of the Year include the harrowing teen drama Precious; the quirky romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer; director Jane Campion's period romance Bright Star; Disney's uplifting animated tale Up; and A Single Man, designer Tom Ford's take on the Christopher Isherwood novel about a gay college professor in 1960s Los Angeles.
A Single Man's lead Colin Firth is nominated for Film Performance of the Year, along with Precious standout Mo'Nique and that film's newcomer Gabourey Sidibe; The Hurt Locker's rising star Jeremy Renner; and Catalina Saavedra, for her turn as the titular tortured soul in the Chilean drama The Maid.
TV Drama of the Year nominees include Showtime's blood-drenched serial killer series Dexter; the shimmery HBO biopic Grey Gardens (whose star, Drew Barrymore, is nominated for TV Performance of the Year, Drama); Lost; Mad Men and the rising vampire opus True Blood. Meanwhile, the tuneful freshman hit Glee; ABC's tart sitcom Modern Family; the venerable 30 Rock; Ugly Betty; and Showtime's darkly comic hospital expose Nurse Jackie vie for TV Musical or Comedy of the Year. Nurse Jackie's star Edie Falco is up for TV Performance of the Year, Musical or Comedy of the Year, alongside Adam Lambert for his raucous American Music Awards appearance, Rock's Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live funnywoman Kristen Wiig, and Glee ladies Jane Lynch and Lea Michele.
In the more unusual categories, flicks such as the horror tales Drag Me to Hell and The Orphan, and the Fatal Attraction-esque thriller Obsessed, compete for Campy — Intentional or Not — Film, while Glee, The Colbert Report, The Real Housewives of New Jersey and others are nominated for Campy TV Show.
The "More, Please!" breakout star of the year award could go to The Daily Show veteran and Hangover/Office costar Ed Helms, Up in the AIr find Anna Kendrick, Locker's Renner, Sidibe of Precious, and True Blood's ethereal hunk Alexander Skarsgard.
For the Savage Wit of the Year honor——an homage to the Dorian Awards' indirect namesake, Oscar Wilde——the members of the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association have nominated a heady mix: Stephen Colbert and the writers of The Colbert Report; Kirby Dick, director of the searing political documentary Outrage; Tina Fey and the writers of 30 Rock; Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show; and dogged MSNBC news analyst Rachel Maddow.
Mo’Nique — who plays a nasty mother in Lee Daniels‘ Precious — is by far the North American critics’ top choice for best supporting actress of 2009: 17 wins and counting, in addition to awards at both the Sundance and Stockholm film festivals. Mo’Nique has also nabbed SAG, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and Spirit award nominations.
Most of the actors in these films have been busy promoting them for the various awards, including the Oscar noms which will be announced February 2. Of these, Mo’Nique from Precious has been been on a roll. And she is unusual for speaking her mind rather than studio babble when she is out and about. For example, on watching Precious alongside a typical festival audience of Tinseltown elite she said:
“None of those people looked like us,” Mo’Nique observes, addressing the issues of race, class and gender that adhere to the film. “And it was mind-blowing when it was over, to have white men in their 60s coming up to us, crying. It killed the myth. It killed the myth that a white man couldn’t possibly enjoy two big black women onscreen.”
The producers of Precious were consistently booted out of the major film studio offices before even finishing their presentation because "nobody wants to see two fat black women on the screen." Well, anyone who fails to see this film is missing a gem.
They are still waiting for straggler's votes (and presently there is a 3-way tie for one category) but it is expected that winners will be announced January 18, 2010, in Los Angeles. You can join the Gay Independent Films group on Facebook to get a head start on the films and tv programs that everyone will soon be talking about.