The New York Times published a list of the “25 greatest actors of the 21st century (so far)” and, unfortunately, that selection does not include any LGBTQ+ people, laments Advocate magazine.
Times film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott curated the list, which, however, includes many actors who have played LGBTQ+ characters in their careers. Many were praised for these performances in the article, including Gael García Bernal (And His Mother Too, Bad Education), Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Julianne Moore (The Hours), Saoirse Ronan (Ammonite) and Nicole Kidman (The hours).
The list, in its composition, does not lack racial and international diversity. Although diversity was not stipulated as a consideration by film critics, it is present in these aspects, says the magazine.
European actors include Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Tilda Swinton and Toni Servillo. Asian actors include Kim Min-hee, Zhao Tao and Song Kang Ho. Black actors include Rob Morgan, Alfre Woodard, Michael B. Jordan, Viola Davis and Denzel Washington. On the list is an indigenous actor, Wes Studi. Oscar Isaac is Latino. Keanu Reeves, a Canadian actor, is of Hawaiian, Chinese, English, Irish and Portuguese descent.
Aware that their list could cause controversy and be “possibly scandalous in their omissions”, Scott and Dargis provided a warning in their introduction.
“There is no formula for choosing the best (only disputes), and this list is necessarily subjective and possibly scandalous in its omissions,” they wrote. “Some of these artists are new to the scene; others have been around for decades.”
Historically, our actors were less likely to be cast in leading roles, even gay ones, as this list of 61 heterosexual people who received Oscar nominations for LGBTQ+ roles attests.
Critical acclaim and media attention are integral parts of elevating the career of our actors, who continue to be eclipsed by their heterosexual (or closeted) counterparts, perpetuating a cycle of discrimination in the entertainment industry.