Watching Maya Rudolph jokingly propose to Amy Poehler on live TV wasn’t even close to the gayest moment of the 76th annual Golden Globe awards. Sunday’s show was brimming with queerness, from actors like Olivia Colman and Sandra Oh, who took home trophies for portraying queer characters, to Ben Whishaw, an out gay actor who won for his role in A Very English Scandal. But the gayest and most rapturous part of the evening was both times the cast of The Favourite was featured; Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone, the stars who brought three queer characters to life in Yorgos Lanthimos’ period film, openly flaunted female queerness in a way that’s rarely been done before on an awards show—and it was brilliant.
If The Favourite gets nominated at the Oscars, which it likely will, then a lesbian movie may finally have a Call Me By Your Name moment; movies that center queer female romances are almost never awarded at the Oscars, or any award shows for that matter. In the past, lesbian-themed movies have been majorly snubbed, like Carol in 2015. But the three stars of The Favourite have breathed life into the film in such a magically gay way that’s elevated the excitement surrounding the film. When they’re together, lesbianism just oozes out of their pores, despite none of them identifying as queer. They’re just glowing, and their chemistry is magnetic, their enthusiasm contagious.
On Sunday night, we saw two major moments with these animated leading ladies—Colman, who won for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and Weisz and Stone, both of whom were nominated. First, the Holy Trinity presented an award together. The three women strutted on stage holding hands and giggling like giddy girls with a Sapphic secret, and then continued to toss lesbian innuendos around like rainbow confetti.
Weisz described her character, Sarah Churchill, as “capable of giving even the queen a good tongue lashing,” while her co-star Colman tittered. Then, Stone lamented that her character, Abigail Hill, was overlooked, despite being “just as good with her hands as Sarah.” If hearing Rachel Weisz say “tongue lashing” and Emma Stone joking about finger-banging wasn’t enough to make you blush, the women just pressed further.
“Did these women really love her,” Colman asked about her character, “or did they just want her for her body politic?” She added cheekily, “Then again, when the women were these two hotties, did it really matter?” It was silly and sexy and indulgent; everything we want from an award-winning cast on a live show.
When I first saw The Favourite, I was jarred not only by how much I wanted Rachel Weisz to shoot me with a weathered musket, but by the movie’s brazen queerness; it’s not often queer women get to see themselves portrayed on the big screen, and this movie was certainly one of a kind in regards to the way these women were portrayed; lesbian or bisexual characters are almost never afforded the opportunity to be witty and brash, rather than self-serious and dramatic. So, it was mollifying to see that energy played out in a buzzy awards season movie, and subsequently carried into the real world by the actors themselves. All three actresses wielded the bold, flirtatious queerness of their characters like a sword, threatening to slay any naysayers who dare stand in their way. Rather than shy away from the movie’s gay plot, their giggly presentation seemingly said, “This one is for the queer women watching.”
And when Olivia Colman accepted the award for her role as Queen Anne, she kept the celebration going. In her speech, the British actress thanked her “bitches,” nodding to her female costars and drawing a coquettish wave from Rachel Weisz. Between their gay shenanigans, Sandra Oh’s win, and Halle Berry openly flirting with Lena Waithe on stage (she totally was, right?!) the whole award show felt like a knowing wink to queer fans.
What makes The Favourite so special is exactly what Colman, Weisz, and Stone embodied on stage: It’s just so much goddamn fun. The movie allows queer women to be outrageous and wretched and hysterical and hilarious, rather than boxing them into any tired trope or lesbian stereotype. And to see that spirit translated from the big screen to a live awards telecast was so satisfying. As a queer woman, I finally felt included in the exclusive fun of awards season in a way I never have before. I look forward to every red carpet, award ceremony, or acceptance speech the stars of The Favourite may grace, and I’m already prematurely mourning a world after the Oscars, a lifeless dystopia in which Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone stop publicly fawning over each other like a pack of hormonal teenagers. But it’s good while it lasts.
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