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“Nomadland” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” win top film awards from GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics

Nomadland, the spare and fact-based drama of a group of struggling Americans living off the grid; the vivid blueswoman biopic Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; the family-happy fish-out-of-water fable Minari; writer-director-actress Radha Blank and her biting showbiz satire The Forty-Year-Old Version; the death-to-misogyny revenge thriller Promising Young Woman; and the urgent human-rights documentaries Disclosure and Welcome to Chechnya all scored more than one Dorian Award from GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics tonight via a televised special.

GALECA’s Dorian Awards honor the best in all of film and TV, from mainstream to LGBTQ fare, on separate occasions. As revealed in the group’s three-hour Dorians Film Toast 2021, shown on LGBTQ+ streaming platform Revry and hosted by Karel,

Nomadland earned 3 Dorians: Best Film, Best Director for Chloé Zhao, and Most Visually Striking Film. Minari earned Best Non-English Language Film plus a supporting actress nod for Yuh-Jung Youn. Ma Rainey’s was deemed Best LGBTQ Film by GALECA, and the musical drama’s male lead, the late Chadwick Boseman, earned Best Film Performance—Actor. Boseman was “such an incredible human, scholar, humanitarian, and a really wonderful actor,” said Ma Rainey’s costar Colman Domingo, accepting via a recorded video on behalf of Boseman and his family. “Creating complex roles about the African-American experience, and about people who are marginalized in society and trying to stand up and have a strong voice, fighting for representation—that is Chadwick Boseman’s legacy.”

Pretty Young Woman star Carey Mulligan, fascinatingly mischievous as a woman out to avenge the death of a female friend, and the mystery’s witty screenwriter, Emerald Fennell, both delighted with their humble acceptance videos for Best Film Performance—Actress and Best Screenplay, respectively. “I’m just so happy that (Woman) has resonated, and I’m so grateful to (Fennell) for inviting me along for the ride,” said Mulligan. Fennell, meanwhile, graciously spoke of her “admiration for (GALECA’s) members.”

In homage to Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, GALECA’s Dorian “trophies” are actually small pop-art portraits of the winner (sometimes in character) or a rendering of a memorable scene from the champion title (the pieces, fashioned from an existing photo, come
with an easel). “This might be the coolest prize I’ve ever seen,” said Mulligan, holding up her Dorian. Fennell, taking a moment to lift the little velvet drape that covers each award when first received, called the art piece “amazing” and quipped that the artist (Jason Young) was “kind in
giving me cheekbones.”

Chloé Zhao said her Dorian for directing Nomadland is “deeply meaningful” because “Oscar Wilde is one of my greatest heroes,” and because the film speaks to so many segments of society facing tough times. “Nomadland is about a woman who goes on a journey of grief and healing and ultimately of self-discovery and self-acceptance.”

Jessie Tyler Ferguson and Laverne Cox, both performers who’ve taken to producing documentaries, saw their respective projects, Welcome to Chechnya and Disclosure, tie for the win in two categories: Best Documentary and Best LGBTQ Documentary. A grave Ferguson said Chechnya, which details the persecution of LGBTQ people in the Eastern European republic, is about “people fighting genocide.” Cox, in discussing her film’s look at the history of transgender representation on screen, noted that “2020 was the deadliest year on record for trans people. We have to continue to highlight the humanity of trans people in the face of us being dehumanized.”

Also speaking truth to power, Best Supporting Performance—Actor winner Daniel Kaluuya, honored for his portrayal of martyred Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, said he was glad that more people were learning about what Hampton “stood for, what he believed, and what he did for the Black community and the community at large. I really hope that he continues to live on in everyone’s hearts and minds.”

The Wilde Artist Award, meant for “a truly groundbreaking force in entertainment,” went to singer-songwriter-actress-humanitarian Dolly Parton, whose memorable role in the landmark feminist comedy 9 to 5 has generated revived interest just as she made headlines for her deep- pocketed advocacy in helping get Americans vaccinated during the pandemic.

“Thank you to all the members of the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics for this lovely Wilde Artist award,” Parton relayed in statement via her publicist. “I’m not sure I’m as edgy as past winners (in the Wilde Artist category) like Todd Haynes, Kate McKinnon, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jordan Peele—but I am honored and humbled. I appreciate all of you entertainment journalists who are so passionate and are working so hard. Keep up the good work!”

Parton’s celebrated friend, septuagenarian actor and social media superstar Leslie Jordan, currently on screens in The United States vs. Billie Holiday—another fact-based drama about the fight against racism—was named the group’s latest Timeless Star, a career achievement accolade previously awarded to the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Jane Fonda, George Takei, John Waters, Lily Tomlin, Betty White and Dame Angela Lansbury.

Paying tribute to Jordan in video form ahead of a segment featuring the star himself: Billie Holiday’s director Lee Daniels, Cheyenne Jackson (Jordan’s costar in the Fox sitcom Call Me Kat), Beth Grant (sharing a ribald behind-the-scenes story back from their days filming 2000’s cult hit Sordid Lives) and Leslie Grossman (a pal from TV’s American Horror Story 1984).

Summed up Grossman about Jordan’s accomplishments, including a new gospel CD: “At a time when our world is as divided as its ever been, there is one thing that everybody can agree on and that is their love for Leslie Jordan. You’ve done it all: Book, television, movies, social media, an album . . . and we know you’re just getting started.”

Trans filmmaker and actress Isabel Sandoval (Lingua Franca), in a special interview segment with GALECA Board Member Jazz Tangcay of Variety, accepted the Society’s inaugural, Board- picked Trailblazer Award “for creating art that inspires empathy, truth and equity.”

Also offering accepting videos or appearing in segments were Ma Rainey’s director and Broadway legend George C. Wolfe, Welcome to Chechnya director David France, Nomadland producers Peter Spears and author Jessica Bruder, Turner Classic Movies host Jacqueline Stewart (trumpeting fall’s opening of A.M.P.A.S.®’s Academy Museum of Motion Pictures), and California Governor Gavin Newsom, who offered a special message to GALECA members as well as LGBTQs and allies in the entertainment community.

In perhaps the Wilde-est portion of the Toast, fun-loving entertainer Charo presented the Campiest Flick honors with her usual gusto—and Rachel McAdams, star of the winning title, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, popped up to accept with a knowing wink. Her costar Will Ferrell, she kidded, considers the movie “as a serious drama, a thespian’s opus, so he might be a little pissed.” Not to be outdone, celebrity impressionist extraordinaire Chad Michaels (RuPaul’s Drag Race) evinced his favorite stars, from Joan Crawford to Cher.

Among the presenters helping raise the proverbial glass in the special: Sex and the City favorite Cynthia Nixon, actor Jharrel Jerome (Moonlight, Concrete Cowboy), comedian Margaret Cho, Rosanna Arquette (Pulp Fiction, Crash), Harry Hamlin (the groundbreaking gay romance Making
), acclaimed newcomer Danielle Zalopany (Waikiki), director Andrew Ahn (Driveways, Spa Night), Brad Rowe (the cult classic Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss), Rafael Silva (TV’s 9-1-1: Lone Star), Peter Kim (The Forty-Year-Old Version), writer-comic Bruce Vilanch, and satirist Deven Green.

Even GALECA members got the star treatment in the special, which included a half-hour pre-show. A couple dozen critics and journalists from the group discussed the nominees in choice categories, while groundbreaking media fixtures Jane Velez-Mitchell, Judy Wieder, Bobby Rivers and legendary film critic Kevin Thomas—all on the Society’s Advisory Board—shared thoughts on some of their all-time favorite films.

Yet another highlight: Singer Morgan Mallory also performed an original song, Look Into The Light; a tribute to the power of film written and composed by Karel and Mallory.

The Dorians Film Toast 2021 is currently available on-demand on Revry including The Roku Channel, Samsung TV Plus, Comcast Xfinity X1, Cox, Distro TV, Plex, Galaxy TV, Local Now, VIZIO, Zapping TV, STIRR, TiVo, and LGBTQ+ virtual reality channel on RAD available on PlayStation devices.

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One Remark

  1. And both were snooze-inducing movies, Greg – Nomadland and Ma Rainey’s. Boring!

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