Oscar Watch: 10 Gay Movie Dads We Love
Sunday's Acadamy Awards ceremony will be the weekend's top buzz, and amidst all the news and nominees and red carpet gowns, our focus is on Christopher Plummer. At 82 this seasoned actor has offered audiences many fantastic performances, but it was his role in Beginners that may earn him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Plummer plays a father and closeted homosexual who comes out after a 44-year marriage to a woman, and this got us thinking of other gay roles that earned Oscars. We immediately turned to Brokeback Mountain, which featured two men who were gay, in love, and eventually had children themselves—not together, but they were still dads.
Were there more in this select category?
We came up with a list of ten gay dads we love in movies. Some of them are well known, some are amusing-yet-somewhat-accurate when labeled a gay father (or "daddy"), and then there are some on the list where it's clear we're scraping the bottom for ideas. Check them out, and let us know if we skipped your favorite.
Writer/director Mike Mills created a film loosely based on his own experiences. Beginners tells the story of Oliver (Ewan McGregor), whose father Hal (Christopher Plummer) comes out after being married to Oliver's mother for 44 years. As Oliver sees his father finally living life to the fullest, he must deal with the sudden news that Hal has cancer and may not be long for this world.
Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom (2008)
Based on the LOGO television series Noah's Arc, this feature film finds Noah Nichols (Darryl Stephens) and crew (Or "arc"—get it?) headed to Martha's Vineyard for Noah's marriage to Wade Robinson (Jensen Atwood). Alex (Rodney Chester) goes along while his husband Trey (Gregory Kieth) stays at home because he has to babysit their newly adopted Ethiopian child. And Alex isn't just your typical, sterile gay dad, he's a pill-popping parent, making him just like many housewives we've seen in countless movies.
Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008)
This Swedish comedy–drama came out a couple years ago but just got U.S. distribution last year. It follows a gay couple who adopt what they believe will be their first baby, named Patrik. However, there's an error on the adoption documents, and instead of getting a year and a half old (1.5) they get a 15-year-old troubled teenager. Hilarity, and a healthy does of sweetness, ensues.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Probably the most well-known gay movie, this romantic drama from director Ang Lee centers around two cowboys (Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal) who fall in love and continue their relationship while having wives (Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams) and children back home. This gem was nominated for eight Academy Awards, the most nominations for that year, and it won Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. It also scored a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Best Picture and Best Director from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Golden Globe Awards, Producers Guild of America Awards, Critics Choice Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards among many accolades organizations and festivals.
Bree (Felicity Huffman) is a transsexual woman who discovers she has a long-lost son named Toby (Kevin Zegers), a small-time drug user and male hustler. Bree goes on a road trip with the young man so she can finally get to know him and the truth eventually comes out. We mean no disrespect to our trans-brothers and sisters with this one, but technically Bree was Toby's father at one time. And Bree's therapist does refuse permission for her to get a vaginoplasty until she deals with this parental situation, so it all kind of fits the sketchy theme we're building here. Plus, Huffman got an Academy Award-nomination and Golden Globe-win for her performance.
Gods and Monsters (1998)
It may be our greatest stretch on this list, but we think it fits. The drama recounts the (somewhat fictionalized) last days of troubled film director James Whale (Ian McKellen), who lived a grand-yet-secretive gay life in Hollywood. Whale befriends his young, handsome gardener and former Marine, Clayton Boone (Brendan Fraser), and a kind of mentor/mentee relationship is created, though it often looked like a daddy/boy kind of thing to us. The darkly tragic ending also shows how Boone saw Whale as almost a father figure. The film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, McKellen was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Lynn Redgrave was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
The Birdcage (1996)
The American remake of the 1978 Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles focuses on Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart), a young couple who are engaged to be married. They want their parents to meet, the only problem is that Barbara's parents are ultra-conservative, while Val's father Armand (Robin Williams) owns a South Beach drag club called The Birdcage and his partner Albert (Nathan Lane) regularly performs there as "Starina." Hilarity ensues (allegedly).
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
A drag-tastic Australian comedy-drama that follows three girls on an adventure: Anthony "Tick" Belrose (Hugo Weaving) is drag performer "Mitzi Del Bra," Bernadette Basinger (Terence Stamp) is a recently bereaved transsexual woman, and Adam Whitely (Guy Pearce) is an obnoxious young drag queen named "Felicia Jollygoodfellow." The trio cross Australia on a tour bus they name "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," but when they reach their destination it's revealed that Tick has an eight-year-old son. He's a gay dad who also loves playing dress up.
Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
This comedy-drama adapted by Harvey Fierstein from his play was a groundbreaking feature film and starred respected actors at a time when it wasn't popular to be associated with LGBT projects. It centers around Arnold (Harvey Fierstein), a New York female impersonator, who meets bisexual teacher Ed (Brian Kerwin); sadly, Ed can't handle the gay side of life and leaves Arnold. CUT TO years later when Arnold meets male model Alan (Matthew Broderick), the two fall in love and apply to foster a child together; tragically, something bad happens, and we don't want to spoil it if you ain't seen it. Months later, Arnold's mother (Anne Bancroft) visits, which leads to a major confrontation about homosexuality, as well as the meaning of love and family in these changing times. Gay teenager David (Eddie Castrodad) is adopted, offering another example of gay parents.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Yes, this rock musical parody of B-movie, science fiction and horror films became a cult hit, and gays especially loved the sexual transgressive themes throughout. But when you think about it, Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), the self-proclaimed "sweet transvestite" from Transsexual, Transylvania created Rocky (Peter Hinwood). He is, in essence, Rocky's father. And yes, he created Rocky for a sexy good time and that implies a certain level of incest, but the movie also features adultery, cannibalism, aliens, murder, and an incredible soundtrack—so we're okay with having Frank-N-Furter and Rocky Horror being the closers to our big gay dads list.