The film awards season is just getting started.
While it may be a new year, last year’s best films (and some television) are just getting their due.
The film awards season is split up between the mainstream award films that look for glory during the Academy Awards, or Oscars, and the smaller independent film circuit. While there is some crossover, the films that compete for the Oscars, Golden Globes, and SAG Awards tend to have higher budgets and more recognizable actors.
It isn’t uncommon for a smaller independent film to break through and achieve widespread awards glory, but it costs money to campaign for a film, which sadly hinders some great films' chances. Regardless of who you’re rooting for, the Hollywood Reporter has tabs on all the frontrunners for the limited Academy Award nominations.
Since Moonlight’s Best Picture win in 2016, the film awards circuit has gotten somewhat better at highlighting the previous year's crop of queer films; however, going into 2022, there isn’t a film majorly focused on queer people in the frontrunner spot, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some queer treats awaiting their glory.
The Golden Globes are the first signs of greatness.
The Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Oscars are considered the big three for the film awards season. The Golden Globes, which announces their nominees earlier than the other two, often asserts itself as the first major indicator of what films we will talk about come Oscar time, while the SAG Awards often help root out who the winners will be.
As of writing this, there are no SAG nominations, but the Golden Globe noms point to a slim showing for queer films on the major stage, sadly.
That being said, get ready to hear a lot about The Power of the Dog, Flee, and Parallel Mothers as the queer films with the potential to take the big prizes in their respective categories. These queer films were nominated at the Globes for Best Picture (Drama), Best Animated Picture, and Best Picture (Non-English), respectively, and have a good chance of taking home some trophies.
The Power of the Dog may just take the top spot.
The Power of the Dog, directed by legendary filmmaker Jane Campion, stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a rancher who takes in his brother's family, including his effeminate nephew, and is one of the most talked about films for this year’s awards.
The film, streaming on Netflix, has the opportunity to take it all, and while it isn’t the most out and proud film ever, it may end up being one of the most celebrated of the year. Almost all of its cast and technical elements have been lauded since it premiered, and it is a frontrunner for the Best Picture trophy at the Oscars, much less a nomination.
The film is deeply queer-coded, and while it doesn't outright assert itself as a queer film, it makes its character's queerness a central part of their story.
Flee is the lesser-known favorite in the awards conversation.
Flee, an animated documentary directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen about a gay Afghan immigrant who arrived in Denmark as a child, tells his heart-wrenching story in a beautiful mix of documentary storytelling and animation.
The film has caught on as one of the under-the-radar films that has been gaining steam for its raw and perilous story of a man telling his story for the first time shortly before he marries his husband.
It's heart-wrenching and genre defying, setting it up for significant chances to achieve nominations for the animated and documentary category, something few other films in history have replicated.
Other films to look out for this awards season.
Parallel Mothers, the latest from queer auteur and acclaimed director Pedro Almodóvar, sees him reuniting with Penélope Cruz in a story about two very different experiences in motherhood.
While the film itself isn’t explicitly queer, if we learned anything from the great Carol snub of 2015, where gay director Todd Haynes, and the film itself, were snubbed for the top spots, it's that the film academy loves to erase queer people's contributions to the year's cinema.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines, an animated family feature starring queer icon Abbi Jacobson, stood out among the pack for letting her character bring her girlfriend home for Thanksgiving at the end of the film. While it’s a long shot, it could break through in the animated film category.
Queer actors to keep an eye on.
Kristen Stewart, the queer loca of our dreams, is considered a lock for an Oscar nomination for her role in Spencer, where she stole the show as Princess Diana.
The film included a bit of queer-baiting with Sally Hawkins playing a doting maid, but here’s hoping our queer queen steals the show come Oscar night.
Lady Gaga in The House of Gucci has been part of the awards conversation since the film was announced.
That being said, this year's crop of actors may edge her out of a nomination at the end, but the star power of Mother Monster can always swoop in for a spot in the Best Actress category.
Queer icon Tessa Thompson has received some buzz for her role in Passing, based on the 1929 novel about race, and could slip in one of the acting categories.
Here are the queer indie films being celebrated as well.
As is the way of the film industry, queer films are often not celebrated as much on the bigger stages, but the independent scene has a decades-long history of doing the opposite, and this year is no different.
The Independent Spirit Awards are basically the indie Oscars and serve as one of the biggest platforms for indie films.
The Novice, a psychological drama about a queer college girl’s obsession with getting a top spot on her varsity rowing team, is packed with queer talent and was nominated for a handful of awards at the Spirit Awards.
Trans-actor Patti Harrison was also nominated for her role in Together, Together at the Spirit Awards alongside a host of other queer actors and films, including Zola antagonist Colman Domingo, Shiva Baby, Cicada, Swan Song, and a whole lot more.