For queer audiences watching around the globe, the night was a powerful display that there is a place for us
BY SIAN HOPKINS, IMAGE VIA INSTAGRAM
While most of the attention from the 94th Academy Awards ended up revolving around the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock, there were some empowering and historic moments at this year’s Oscars ceremony that deserve recognition and celebration.
One of the most historic highlights of the evening was Ariana DeBose winning Best Supporting Actress, for her portrayal of Anita in the latest adaptation of West Side Story. Ariana took to the stage in the most gorgeous red cord pantsuit, with a large cape to accept her award.
The win followed her predecessor Rita Moreno, who, much like Ariana, won after playing Anita in 1961. Ariana DeBose represents an evolution in the film industry, becoming the first openly queer, Afro-Latina woman to have won an Oscar at The Academy Awards.
She beautifully accepted her award by saying, “You see a queer, openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina who found her strength in life through art and that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate.”
“To anybody who has ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever, or you find yourself living in the grey spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us.”
LGBTQI couples sharing the love
The red carpet was full of the best-dressed film stars in the industry, many sharing their night with loved ones and partners. Among the vast number of couples, Twitter was overwhelmed with photos and clips featuring Kristen Stewart (up for an award for her portrayal of Princess Diana in Spencer) kissing her fiancee Dylan Meyers. Kristen also gained a lot of recognition for her amazing suit and shorts combination, adding a glitter tie to pull the outfit together.
For LGBTQI audiences watching across the globe, their actions of affection represented the joy of a queer couple being their natural selves, without any shame over their PDA. Similarly, married couple Niecy Nash and her wife Jessica Betts shared a kiss before cameras on the red carpet. Their open love and affection towards each other marks another step forward for publicly embracing LGBTQI couples.
“I’d like to thank the academy for….. this couple’s existence”https://t.co/G7xPQS0Ajc— Cosmopolitan UK (@CosmopolitanUK) March 28, 2022
This year the Academy Awards was hosted by, Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes. Within their jokes and opening speeches, they each gave a reflection on the political climate, from the gender pay gap to LGBTQI rights. In this A-List environment, Wanda Sykes used her voice to make a statement against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Florida’s new legislation that would limit the discussions of sexual orientation and gender issues in schools. As an openly gay woman, who is married with two children, Wanda was not afraid to make her feelings known.
“We’re going to have a great night tonight! For you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night. Gay, gay, gay!”
At a time when some -including in my home state of Florida- would like to ban and marginalize #LGBTQ, I am grateful to my friends @iamwandasykes and her wife, @IamAlexSykes, for proudly showing that families come in all sorts of configurations. Love is love. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 pic.twitter.com/Sn9X8o9CVn— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) March 28, 2022
Another iconic moment of the night was when Elliot Page joined his fellow Juno co-stars, Jennifer Garner and JK Simmons, to present the award for Best Original Screenplay. Their appearance marked the 15th anniversary of their film Juno, which gained Elliot his first Oscar nomination back in 2007. Juno went on to win the same category for Best Original Screenplay 15 years ago. After coming out as Trans in 2020, Elliot has been a huge advocate for and defender of the trans community. The reunion at this year’s awards brought a lot of nostalgia and fond memories back for fans of the film, but also recognised Page’s success and growth from his life 15 years ago.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis dazzled the red carpet in her Stella McCartney blue gown, which she wore to present the Betty White “in memoriam” award for the 94th awards. The actor and ally to the LGBTQI community wanted to dedicate her presentation to ally Betty White, right through to the outfit she was wearing for the event. Jamie stated, “My first thought was that I should bring out a rescue dog with me since Betty White loved animals more than people. It would honour her legacy of activism and support for animal rights.” The actor then went to fashion designer Stella McCartney. “Stella McCartney has been carrying on the legacy of her mother, Linda McCartney, and her lifelong veganism and animal rights activism,” Curtis explained.
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