Do Straight Actors Have to Play Gay Roles to Win An Oscar?

An Oscar is one of the most coveted awards that an actor in the United States could strive for. In fact, being just cited during the Academy Award Ceremonies as one of the finalists for the best actor categories is already a big achievement for an actor. However with the recent acceptance of gay and lesbian topics in literature and media, it is easy to notice that more and more actors are getting the Oscar for playing a gay character. Interestingly, these actors are straight – as far as we know.

Tom Hanks in “Philadelphia”

Tom Hanks plays Andrew Beckett, a senior lawyer at the largest Philadelphia law firm. While hiding his homosexuality and his AIDS condition from his coworkers, he works on a case in which some of the final paperwork that he submitted couldn’t be found. Although it was stated that he was fired due to the misplacement of the paperwork, he suspects that it was his condition that has led his partners to fire him from the law firm.

Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry”

Hilary Swank’s role in Boys Don’t Cry calls for her to play a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to live the life of an ordinary man. As a man, he (or she) experienced falling in love and fighting for love and all that men do. Women also find it easy to fall for him because of his affectionate nature, which is what most women would like to find in their men. However, the good times did not last long because Brandon Teena’s (or Teena Brandon – his legal name) real identity was discovered by his peers.

Sean Penn in “Milk”

One of the latest award-winning movies that feature a male character in a gay role is the 2008 movie Milk. Starring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the gay activist who fought for the right of the gay and the lesbian community in the 1970s. During those years, they were not freely accepted by the society that favors straight men and women. In Milk’s continuous advocacy to represent the LGBT, he was shot while he was in his office.

An Oscar takes a lot of work

Winning a prestigious award takes a lot of work for the actor. In order to portray a role really well, there are times that an actor has to immerse himself or herself in the setting of the plot. If the storyline requires him or her to live as a gay or a lesbian, he or she might have to spend months studying how the character is supposed to live.

Thus, it is not surprising if we see actors and actresses winning the Oscars for portraying roles that are least like themselves. If we now see Oscar winners in LGBT roles, we shouldn’t be surprised if actors start receiving awards for animal roles.

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