As Hollywood prepares for the biggest night of awards season this weekend, LGBT critics weighed in with their picks for the best films of 2021.
On March 17, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics announced the winners of the 13th Dorian Film Awards, honoring movie content ranging from mainstream to LGBT.
First presented in 2010, GALECA’s Dorian Awards go to the best in film and TV, mainstream to queer+, at separate times of the year. GALECA consists of over 350 critics, journalists and broadcasters who work for some of the most prominent and influential media outlets in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. SFGN Arts & Entertainment Editor J.W. Arnold is a longtime member.
Netflix's noirish western “The Power of the Dog” lassoed three major prizes, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay, the latter two Dorians going to Jane Campion. In the studio numbers race, Netflix itself was top dog with 23 nominations for its titles and capturing five awards.
“Flee,” the documentary utilizing graphic novel-style visuals to tell the harrowing story of a gay Afghan refugee, actually ran past “Dog” with four wins. The Neon/Participant film, produced in part by actors Riz Ahmed (“Rogue One”) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”), won Best LGBTQ Film, two documentary awards and GALECA’s first-ever Best Animated Film honor.
“Passing,” director Rebecca Hall’s adaptation of the Nella Larsen novel about two female friends confronting racial and sexual identity issues in 1920s Harlem, was named Best Unsung Film. The Japanese relationship drama “Drive My Car” drove off with Best Non-English Language Film, while first-time director Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Tick, Tick… Boom!,” starring Andrew Garfield as “Rent” creator Jonathan Larson, took Best Film Music. Director Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi adventure “Dune,” from Warner Brothers, took Most Visually Striking Film.
For the first time, GALECA dropped gender-specific categories for Best Film Performance and Best Supporting Performance. The critics chose Kristen Stewart over nine other contenders for her portrayal of Princess Diana in “Spencer,” and Broadway’s Ariana DeBose, one of several breakouts in Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of “West Side Story,” grabbed both Best Supporting Performance and Rising Star honors.
“Parallel Mothers” director Pedro Almodóvar scored GALECA’s special Wilde Artist accolade — meant for “a truly groundbreaking force in film, theater and/or television” — over Campion, Miranda, Lil Nas X and Jennifer Coolidge. In addition, Almodóvar was named GALECA’s latest LGBTQIA+ Trailblazer, a relatively new award reserved for those “creating art that inspires empathy, truth and equity.” Previous recipients are “Pose” actor Mj Rodriguez and actress-filmmaker Isabel Sandoval.
Rita Moreno, the film, stage, music and TV legend, became the group’s first Latina Timeless Star winner. Past winners of GALECA’s career achievement award include Jane Fonda, Sir Ian McKellen, John Waters, George Takei, Dame Angela Lansbury, Meryl Streep, Harvey Fierstein, Betty White and Meryl Streep.
And, in GALECA’s signature Campiest Flick contest, that honor went to “House of Gucci,” starring Lady Gaga and Oscar-winner Jared Leto.
“You could say the movies and performances chosen by our Society’s members are a reflection of what appeals to the entire trendsetting queer and trans community,” said GALECA President Monika Estrella Negra. “As our representation grows in the industry and beyond, expect the Dorian Awards to continue to shine light on the importance, and excitement, of having diverse critical eyes on cinema. There is much work to be done in advancing a variety of voices and images that often go unheard and unseen.”