Adam Polaski

The Gayest Emmy Season Ever?

Filed By Adam Polaski | July 20, 2011 11:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Alan Cumming, Becoming Chaz, Chaz Bono, Chris Colfer, Emmy Awards, Eric Stonestreet, Glee, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, LGBT, Mildred Pierce, Modern Family, The Good Wife, tv

TelevisionStonestreetFerguson.jpgIt's been almost a week since the nominations for the 2011 Emmy Awards - the ceremony honoring the best in television for the year - have been announced, but I was on vacation and missed them, so forgive the not-super-fresh news.

The news, of course, is that this may be the gayest Emmy season ever. Close to a dozen LGBT actors or actors playing LGBT characters have been honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and while many of the actors are no strangers to accolades, this is one of the largest crop of LGBT-themed nominees ever.

Take a look at some of the LGBT nominees:

  • Chris Colfer, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Glee, the gay-friendly series that's also up for Best Comedy
  • Jane Lynch, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for Glee
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Modern Family
  • Alan Cumming, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for The Good Wife
  • Chaz Bono, Outstanding Nonfiction Special for Becoming Chaz
  • Nathan Lane, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for Modern Family
  • Evan Rachel Wood, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Mildred Pierce
  • Todd Haynes, Outstanding Directing (and Writing) for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special for Mildred Pierce

And some of the LGBT characters:

  • Eric Stonestreet, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his gay character on Modern Family
  • Archie Panjabi, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her bisexual character on The Good Wife
  • Cinema Verité, nominated for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, featuring a portrayal of Lance Loud, one of the first gay men on TV

See all of the nominees here.

The news, I think, is even more fodder for a question I raised a few months ago - Why is television so much gayer than film? Time and again we see gay actors and gay characters enjoying enormous success on TV, and yet they're not getting job offers or airtime in the movies.

Lots of ideas have been thrown out to explain the disparity. Studio heads are more willing to commit to short stints for LGBT themes - since they always have the option of killing the story arc if it faces audience backlash - some have argued. Others suggest the notion that producers don't want to risk millions of dollars creating and marketing a story with gay themes.

But when we're seeing that there is very little risk in portraying LGBT characters on the small screen, why aren't more filmmakers making the big, rainbow jump to the big screen? This year's crop of Emmy nominations, which once again show that LGBT actors and LGBT characters can hold their own with the straight actors and characters, will hopefully help studio heads incorporate some more queerness into their scripts.

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Chaz Bono is not a performer nor an actor... he's the subject of a documentary which wasn't directed by trans people. Yes, he was a co-producer of it, but that doesn't exactly put him in the same category as a pack of actors. Which basically means there are no trans people in acting roles and no trans roles period. So, yes, I'm glad there are gay actors nominated but I don't see this as an especially good LGB(T) year... it's a good gay year, and there were actually more trans roles on tv a few years ago.