It warms my heart to get to write an awards show that actually did a good job with diversity in their nominations. The 2016 Golden Globes nominations are very LGBT inclusive. I'm talking multiple shows and movies whose main characters are gay or transgender earning nods. Now, of course, we haven't quite moved beyond cis actors playing those roles, but it's a welcome step in the right direction.
In the television category, nominations were handed out to shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black (nominated for Best TV Drama and Best Comedy respectively) which house characters who are gay and transgender in prominent roles. Plus, both shows give care and attention to the struggles the LGBT community faces. The most recent season of OITNB addressed what it can be like for transgender women in prison, from the hellish treatment the endure to lack of attention the officers pay to the violence they suffer. The best part about that storyline on OITNB is that Laverne Cox is transgender in real life which means that the important storyline was told by someone who truly understood the implications.
But, streaming services weren't the only ones featuring LGBT casts this year. The Golden Globes also recognized Viola Davis for Best Drama Actress for her role on How To Get Away With Murder. On that show her character, Annalise Keating, was revealed to be bisexual this season. Annalise didn't even officially came out, she just started seeing a woman like it was no big deal, because it's not. And, American Horror Story: Hotel (which nabbed a Best Television Limited Series nod) has featured a number of LGBT characters. From the Countess and Will Drake (Lady Gaga and Cheyenne Jackson) who are bisexual to Trisan (Finn Wittrock) who is gay to Liz Taylor (Denis O'Hare) who is transgender, they've told so many LGBT stories this season. I fact, so many of the relationships on the show blend into the sexuality spectrum, rather than fitting in a box, that it would take up too much space to write them all down here.
Over in movies, the Globes made sure to honor one of the year's biggest LGBT hits: Carol, which garnered five nods total. The film, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, is about a relationship between a younger woman and an older woman who is going through a painful divorce. Set during the '50s, the story details the struggle of exploring one's sexual orientation during a time where homosexuality was deeply frowned upon. At one point [spoilers] Blanchett and Mara's characters' relationship is used as evidence in court that Blanchett's character should lose custody of her daughter. It's not what you'd call an uplifting film, but it's awesome to see that kind of story get told, and then also get accolades. As Cate Blanchett said during the 2014 Oscars, "Those of us in the industry who are perhaps still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films, with women at the center, are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money."
And, now we have proof through these Golden Globe nominations that shows and films with LGBT leads will also earn critical and viewer approval. And, from here, hopefully representation will only continue to grow in both the TV shows and films created and those given awards. We need these stories, and people want them; it's just common sense. As Blanchett summed up that 2014 speech: "The world is round, people!" Duh.
Image: The Weinstein Company