Oscars 2019: Queer stories are front and center

The 91st Annual Academy Awards were held Sunday evening, live from the Dolby Theater is Los Angeles. Queer stories were front and center in the winners and on stage at the ceremony. 

One of the biggest highlights of the night was bi singer and actress Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who received a standing ovation for their performance of the hit “Shallow” from A Star is Born, with Gaga playing the piano during the number. The song went on to win Original Song, with Gaga giving a moving acceptance speech. Gaga is only the second nominee ever to be nominated both for song and in an acting category in the same year.

"From Billy Porter rocking the carpet, to Lady Gaga’s powerful performance on stage, queer people, stories, and characters were front and center at the Oscars this evening," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

In an exciting surprise, Olivia Colman won the Actress in a Leading Role award for her portrayal of the queer Queen Anne in GLAAD Media Award-nominee The Favourite.  In her speech she thanked, “Emma and Rachel, the two loveliest women in the world to fall in love with.”

Mahershala Ali took home Actor in a Supporting Role for portraying the queer classical pianist, Dr. Don Shirley. His speech honored the life and work of Shirley, saying, “I was trying to capture Dr. Shirley’s essence, which was a reflection of the person he was and the life that he lived.” Green Book also took home Best Picture, the most coveted award of the night, as well as Best Original Screenplay.

Rami Malek won Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of queer icon Freddie Mercury in biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. In a press statement about removing the film from contention for the GLAAD Media Awards, GLAAD noted: “Bohemian Rhapsody brought the story of LGBTQ icon Freddie Mercury to audiences around the world, many of whom never saw an out and proud lead character in a film or saw the impact of HIV and AIDS in fair and accurate ways. The impact of the film is undeniable. We believe, however, that we must send a clear and unequivocal message to LGBTQ youth and all survivors of sexual assault that GLAAD and our community will stand with survivors and will not be silent when it comes to protecting them from those who would do them harm.” The film also won the Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Film Editing awards.

Regina King took home the award in Best Supporting Actress for If Beale Streets Could Talk, adapted from the novel by infamous gay writer and activist James Baldwin. King’s speech started with her thanking Baldwin.  

Out double nominee Marc Shaiman accompanied Bette Middler on the piano during the performance of the nominated song, “Where the Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns.

There were multiple LGBTQ presenters throughout the night. Queer actress Sarah Paulson presented the nominees in Achievement in Visual Effects, out bi actress Tessa Thompson presented the award for Best Original Score, and queer actress Amandla Stenberg along with Congressman John Lewis presented the nominee Green Book.

On the red carpet, GLAAD’s President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis was photographed sporting a GLAAD ‘together’ pin and a pantsuit designed by August Getty. 

Another red carpet highlight was Pose’s Billy Porter walking in a Christian Siriano velvet tuxedo gown. Porter was one of the hosts of ABC's red carpet coverage, and his outfit was one of the most talked about looks of the night. Other LGBTQ red carpet standouts include Shangela, Adam Lambert, and Lady Gaga.

The opening number was a  musical performance by out singer Adam Lambert performing a Queen medley with the band. The “In Memoriam” segment included tribute to legendary gay producer Craig Zadan and classic Hollywood actor Tab Hunter.

GLAAD's Megan Townsend was live-tweeting the ceremony from the press room. Check GLAAD's twitter to see her recap of the night!