todd winner

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CAROL, part one

To conclude this series of Pride 2017-related posts (though certainly not the end of gay-relevant content on this blog), here’s a two-part post on Todd Haynes’s exquisite 1950s-set lesbian romance Carol (2015). Last year, Carol was voted the best LGBT film of all time in a poll that featured over 100 critics and was compiled to mark the 30th anniversary of London’s lesbian and gay film festival, BFI Flare. There are many qualities worth celebrating in this film: the sublimely modulated lead performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, the richly atmospheric period detail and mise-en-scène, Haynes’s deft invocations of classical Hollywood genres (melodrama, film noir, women’s pictures). But most importantly, as the following quote reminds us, Carol’s uncommonly uplifting and affirmative take on same-sex love represents a quietly radical step forward for LGBT narratives in cinema.

Happy Pride!

“In the years since Brokeback Mountain, we’ve seen Best Picture nominations for The Kids Are All Right and Dallas Buyers Club – though in both of those cases, the primary audience surrogate was arguably a straight man (Mark Ruffalo in Kids, Matthew McConaughey in Dallas) – and the slightly Sapphic Black Swan. And, of course, there was Milk and The Imitation Game, both stories about gay men who met with tragedy… Spoiler alert: Carol’s protagonists fall in love, consummate their passion, and encounter some difficulties – it’s the early ‘50s, after all – but do not die for/from being gay. Such a declaration sounds stark, but an astonishing number of films about gay life have seen their characters come to some sort of a tragic end, as if comporting to the old Hays Code, where characters must be “punished” for their “sins.” Ultimately, Carol’s most transgressive quality is its refusal to engage in such shenanigans; this is a film about full-blooded gay lives, not tragic gay deaths. Maybe Oscar voters weren’t sure how to deal with that?” — Jason Bailey, Flavorwire (January 2016)

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SEPTEMBER 18 - ANGELA LANSBURY

From Gaslight to Blithe Spirit, Dame Angela Lansbury’s acting career has spanned over a total of eight different decades, with her 90th birthday approaching this October 16. Whether you know her as Cabot Cove’s crime-solving murder mystery novelist, the voice behind “Bosom Buddies” or a Grammy-winning anthropomorphic singing teapot, there’s a good chance that Lansbury has touched your life at one point or another.

Lansbury took home an Honorary Academy Award in 2013, and over the years, she was received five Tony Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, an Olivier Award, eighteen Emmy Award nominations and three additional Academy Award nominations. On stage, she has dazzled audiences in Mame, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd and Dear World, and on the big screen, she has appeared in The Picture of Dorian Grey, The Manchurian Candidate and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Her voice can be heard in the animated films The Last Unicorn, Beauty and the Beast and Anastasia, and oh, let’s not forget how she spent 12 seasons catching criminals on Murder, She Wrote.

Today marks the third annual International Angela Lansbury Appreciation Day, and it should be recognized this holiday inspired the entire CELEBRATE WOMEN project. Yes, that’s right! The sincerity surrounding a simple hashtag known as #FANSBURY made this all possible, and at this moment, we’d like to thank you all for following, reading and celebrating along with us.