Thursday, June 19, 2008

It Was The Best Times, It Was the Queerest of Times

Ja over at the magnificent My New Plaid Pants has been doing a little series of queer-themed image posts, highlighting his favourite cinematic same sex couples. No words, just pictures. It's amazing how much they conjure up though.

However, it just struck me today how frequetly I look at these pictures and go "that was so-and-so's best performance". What is it about "playing gay" (to coin a cliched phrase) that brings out the best - and sometimes worst (here's looking at your Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Flawless) - in actors. Strange but, as a look at the following list will demonstrate, true. Sure, it's perhaps a very narrow and simplistic way to look at things, especially considering the movies in which the likes of Watts, Hoffman, Affleck and Theron give great work weren't necessarily "about" homosexuality, but homosexuality was a very unavoidable aspect.

Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James

Steve Carell, Little Miss Sunshine

Cher, Silkwood

Alex Dimitriades, Head On

Dan Futterman, Urbania

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mysterious Skin

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

Piper Perabo, Lost & Delirious

Dennis Quaid, Far From Heaven

Hilary Swank, Boys Don't Cry

Charlize Theron, Monster

Jennifer Tilly, Bound

Jonathan Tucker, The Deep End

Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive

Patrick Wilson & Jeffrey Wright, Angels in America

Sam Worthington, Somersault

And that's not including the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis (My Beautiful Laundrette), Chloe Sevigny (Boys Don't Cry), Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain), Al Pacino (Dog Day Afternoon, Angels in America), Ewan McGregor (Velvet Goldmine), Kate Winslet (Heavenly Creatures), Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terrence Stamp (The Adventures of Priscilla) who have all gave supurb performances, but have bettered themselves.


adam k. said...

I think you mean JOSEPH Gordon-Levitt.

And I think Cher has totally bettered herself too - in Moonstruck, duh - but I suppose it's debatable.

Glenn said...

Oops, duh.

Don't get me wrong, I love Cher in Moonstruck, but Silkwood is one of my absolute favourite movies and Cher is just amazing in it, I think.

Dame James Henry said... that you mention it, I think you're on to something. I've never really thought about it, but looking through your list I find myself nodding in agreement at most of these performances as being the best. I would suggest that maybe, as gay men, we see parts of ourselves in these performances that make us respond to them more, but many straight reviewers would cite them as their best (Can you think of any Theron performance that even begins to match Monster?).

On a side note, am I the only person who thinks Naomi Watts' best performance was in 21 Grams? I thought she was absolutely brilliant in it.

Emma said...

Dan Futterman was terrific in Urbania! Such an underrated performance.