Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oscar Redux


I probably should have blogged about the Oscars yesterday, but I wanted to tell you about the IPC conference first. It will certainly be too late to do this tomorrow, and I find that I still have something to say about how the Academy Awards evening, just like last year, somehow demonstrates that the universe is indeed moving towards greater justice.

You may remember last year -- Brokeback Mountain won for best picture, bringing the anguish of the closet to multiplexes across America. Like this year, more people of color were nominated and received awards than ever before. Gay people thanked their partners on national television. More normal size women graced the red carpet.

Melissa Etheridge took us one step farther this year. She, like almost every other nominee, jumped up when her name was called and kissed her partner on the lips. She said "I was kissing her because that's what you do, you kiss your loved one when you win an Oscar, that's what I grew up believing." She thanked her wife and four children during her acceptance speech. I couldn't help but wonder how people around America were reacting, but to me, it seemed perfectly natural. You win an award, you kiss and thank your partner.

But, it was Ellen in her pant suits and sneakers that told you that America was really changing. When she came out in the late 1990s, it made the cover of Time magazine and her show was cancelled. On Sunday night, she owned the auditorium and her sexual orientation was a NON-ISSUE. She and partner Portia Rossi were photographed without comment like all of the other celebrity couples. She was NOT a statement; she was just the emcee. Perfectly natural.

But another step for justice in the world.

2 comments:

ms. kitty said...

I loved that about the Oscars too, Debra. You said it better than I can.

Yesterday I was thrilled to attend and speak at the annual Equality Day rally at the Washington statehouse, advocating for equal marriage rights for sexual minorities. We had a good turnout (probably about 1000) of people of all persuasions, from staid grandmas and grandpas to boldly decorated, extravagant drag queens and teenagers doing their "if you're homo and you know it, clap your hands" song.

We also had a contingent of protesters, who were remarkably polite, even though noisy before the rally. They were quiet during the rally and just observed, holding signs. (They were moved to a distance of about a hundred feet away by the state patrol during the rally.)

It was a great day. I'll say more on a blog post later.

Timothy said...

Great Oscar blog posting. I'm glad you pointed out how 'normal' Ellen has become, in particular. I just need to point out one thing -- Brokeback didn't win best picture last year; it was nominated, and won best adapted screenplay and best directing, but lost to Crash for best picture. I vowed never to watch the Oscars again after that -- I think it was homophobia on the academy's part. It still makes me angry when I think about it!