GLAAD, the organization that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer equality, announced the nominations for this year’s Media Awards, which celebrate “fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives.”
There were 176 nominees in 30 categories. (Six categories are for Spanish-language programming and journalism).
The nominations selected using criteria that measure inclusivity, originality, impact and overall quality are in categories ranging from film, television, and theater, music, comic books, and video games, blogs and journalism.
Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, will receive one of this year’s Special Recognition Awards for LGBTQ journalism. GLAAD stated that his noncompetitive award is for “his individual work, as well as the critical continued role that LGBTQ media play in driving LGBTQ acceptance forward.”
GLAAD noted Segal was at the Stonewall uprising 50 years ago, a founding member of Gay Liberation Front, founder of the nation’s first LGBTQ youth organization and marshal of the first Pride March in 1970. In 1973, Segal famously disrupted live TV news broadcasts, including “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” and “The TODAY Show” with Barbara Walters. GLAAD also noted Segal’s award-winning journalism and that he served as president of both the National LGBT Press Association and the National Gay Newspaper Guild, along with PGN’s 2019 honor of best weekly newspapers by the National Newspaper Association. His memoir, “And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality,” won best book by the National LGBTQ Journalist Association in 2015, and Segal also developed one of the first LGBTQ-friendly affordable living communities for seniors. Now a member of the Comcast NBC/Universal Joint Diversity Committee, his papers and artifacts from 50 years of LGBTQ activism were added to the collection of The Smithsonian Institute of American History in Washington, D.C.
Karen Ocamb, who GLAAD noted is “an award-winning LGBTQ journalist who currently serves as news editor of the “Los Angeles Blade” will also be honored.
Along with the recipients of noncompetitive awards, GLAAD announced nominees in other media categories. For films that received a theatrical release in 2019, there are three categories: Outstanding Wide Release, Outstanding Limited Release, and Outstanding Documentary.
The nominees in the Wide Release category include: “Bombshell,” which depicts the relationship between Kayla (Margot Robbie) and Jess (out actress Kate McKinnon); “Booksmart,” which featured a lesbian co-lead (Kaitlyn Dever); “Downtown Abbey,” which was directed by the out gay Michael Engler, and included a subplot about a gay character; “Judy” a biopic about Judy Garland with queer supporting characters; and “Rocketman,” the Elton John musical. The smart money is on “Rocketman,” but it would be satisfying for “Booksmart” to win.
The Limited Release films include 10 titles, all deserving of a prize and almost all written or directed by openly LGBTQ filmmakers. Two American comedies were nominated: “Adam,” a teen coming of age film with trans, lesbian, and genderfluid characters, by a trans director Rhys Ernst, and “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” directed by the out gay Paul Downs Colaizzo. “Brittany,” featured a gay supporting character and was shot partially in Philly.
The Philadelphia film distributor, Breaking Glass Pictures, was nominated twice in this category for its films “Kanarie,” a coming of age war musical set in South Africa during Apartheid, and “Socrates,” out gay director and co-writer Alexandre Moratto’s Brazilian drama about a gay 15-year-old facing homelessness.
Two lesbian films were nominated: “Rafiki,” the controversial Kenyan film that was banned in its country for “promoting homosexuality” (the ban was eventually lifted), and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” out lesbian filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s dazzling romantic drama set in 17th century Brittany, opening Feb. 14 in Philly.
Three films from Latin America are also nominated in the Outstanding Limited Release category. “End of the Century,” is out gay writer and director Lucio Castro’s stunning gay romance; “The Heiresses,” from Paraguay, is out gay writer and director Marcelo Martinessi’s magnificent drama about two aging lesbians facing financial and personal troubles; and “This Is Not Berlin” is Hari Sama’s absorbing drama about two teens — one of them queer, one of them curious — experimenting with sex, drugs and punk music in 1980s Mexico.
Rounding out the category is the likely winner, “Pain and Glory,” out gay filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar’s autofiction about a gay filmmaker (Antonio Banderas) grappling with his past as well as his uncertain future.
Alas, the GLAAD awards do not nominate individual performances.
Competing in the Outstanding Documentary category are: “5B” about the San Francisco AIDS ward; “Gay Chorus Deep South,” about the San Francisco Gay Men’s chorus’s tour of the American South; “Leitis in Waiting,” about transgender women in the South Pacific; “State of Pride,” a history of the pride movement; and “Wig,” about the reboot of the annual Wigstock drag festival. While “5B” is arguably the best film in this category, the crowd-pleasing “Gay Chorus Deep South” will likely win.
In the Television categories, programs that air on network, cable and streaming platforms are vying for Outstanding Series awards.
The 10 nominees for Outstanding Drama Series include: “Batwoman,” “Billions,” “Euphoria,” “Killing Eve,” “The L Word: Generation Q,” “The Politician,” “Pose,” “Shadowhunters,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” and “Supergirl.” It is a tough category, with many fan favorites, but the beloved “Pose” is likely to emerge the winner.
The 10 nominees for Outstanding Comedy Series include: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which won in 2018, “Dear White People,” “Dickinson,” “One Day at a Time,” “The Other Two,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “Sex Education,” “Superstore,” “Vida,” which won last year, and “Work in Progress.”
It would be gratifying for “One Day at a Time” to take the prize given that Netflix canceled the highly praised show before it was rescued for a fourth season by Pop TV. But “Vida” is poised to win again.
The five series competing in the Outstanding Limited Series category include “Mrs. Fletcher,” “The Red Line,” “Tales of the City,” “When They See Us,” and “Years & Years.”
While “When They See Us” is possibly the best of these series, with “Years & Years” a strong runner up, it is likely that “Tales of the City,” will claim this prize given that shows’ inclusiveness and positive treatment of LGBTQ characters.
The 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards will be held in New York City at the Hilton Midtown on March 19 and in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on April 16.