Last week, The Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association announced winners for the group’s first-ever Dorian Awards, honoring their year’s best in film and television
A Single Man’s lead Colin Firth took Film Performance of the Year for his heartbreaking portrayal of a gay man looking for love in the 1960s. Firth prevailed over Precious standout Mo’Nique, that film’s newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner, and Catalina Saavedra of The Maid. A Single Man, from The Weinstein Company, itself was named Film of the Year, beating out Precious, Up, Bright Star and 500 Days of Summer.
HBO’s shimmering fact-based, decades-spanning Grey Gardens edged out Dexter, Mad Men, Lost and True Blood for TV Drama of the Year. Gardens star Drew Barrymore earned kudos for TV Performance of the Year: Drama; the actress was voted tops over Michael C. Hall of Dexter, Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, Glenn Close of Damages and Sigourney Weaver, star of the Lifetime TV movie Prayers for Bobby.
The Fox network’s toe-tapping hit Glee was named TV Musical or Comedy of the Year (over Modern Family, 30 Rock, Ugly Betty and Nurse Jackie, with Glee’s costar Jane Lynch (right) landing TV Performance of the Year: Musical or Comedy for her hilarious turn as a brash high school cheerleading coach named Sue. Lynch’s fellow nominees had been Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie, Adam Lambert for his raucous American Music Awards appearance, Rock’s Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live funnywoman Kristen Wiig, and her Glee cohort Lea Michele.
In the more unusual categories, the widely panned Fatal Attraction-esque flick Obsessed was named Campy Film of the Year. Other dubious contenders in that category had been Orphan, Whip It and Julie and Julia, along with the tongue-in-cheek effort Drag Me to Hell.
In addition to winning TV Musical or Comedy, Glee also wound up nabbing the Campy TV Show of the Year award, most likely for its snarky, over-the-top humor. Glee triumphed over the Fox News-spoofing The Colbert Report, the glitzy yet tragic Grey Gardens tale, and silly, water-cooler reality shows Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Though Sidibe lost to Firth for top acting honors, the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association chose her as the recipient of their special “More, Please!” Breakout Star of the Year award for her hard work as the titular, abused yet hopeful teen in the Lionsgate release Precious. Contenders there had included Anna Kendrick, Renner, Alexander Skarsgard and comedian Ed Helms.
Another star on the rise, dogged news analyst Rachel Maddow of MSNBC TV’s The Rachel Maddow Show and syndicated radio, was named Savage Wit of the Year, an honor that highlights the group’s aim to fete sharp minds that would please Dorian Awards’ indirect namesake, Oscar Wilde. For this category, GLECA members had also nominated Stephen Colbert and the writers of The Colbert Report; Kirby Dick, director of the searing political documentary Outrage; Tina Fey and the writers of 30 Rock; and Jon Stewart and his cohorts at The Daily Show.
In the Dorians’ two gender-specific categories, Prayers for Bobby, a Lifetime TV movie starring Weaver as the mother of a gay teen who kills himself after feeling ostracized by members of his family, was named LGBT-Themed TV Show of the Year over Modern Family, Glee, True Blood and An Englishman in New York. Meanwhile, A Single Man was pegged as LGBT-Themed Film of the Year (other nominees were the political documentary Outrage and Precious, which featured a nonchalant lesbian couple in its story.
Rounding things out, the comic icon Cloris Leachman was picked by GLECA members as their first recipient of its Forever Ageless Award. The unstoppable star’s credits over her 60-year career include TV’s Studio One, Lassie, The Mary Tyler Moore Show (her own spinoff Phyliss), Malcolm in the Middle and hamming it up on Dancing with the Stars, and, just as indelibly, as the tormented lover of a younger man in The Last Picture Show.
Each year, this special honor is given to an iconic performer who has shown great wit and gravitas on screen and perhaps even off. A film or TV program is also honored, and the first Forever Ageless Award in that regard went to writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s eternally tart showbiz satire (released in 1950) All About Eve.
The Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association is comprised of some of America’s most noted film, television and culture critics (for print, online and broadcast). The group represents a significant segment of the population whose collective experience continues to offer a unique and cherished perspective on popular culture.
GLECA members nominate movies and TV programs on the basis of their overall quality, depth and entertainment value. Studio and independent productions, general or gay-themed productions, and their makers and performers all have equal footing as potential nominees.
As GLECA and the Dorian Awards grow, its unified participants hope to help advance a stronger and healthier gay community by supporting programs for at-risk youth, HIV prevention, recovery, and equal rights.
Photo credit: Jane Lynch in “Glee.” Photo by: Patrick Ecclesine/Fox.