The 5 queerest moments from the 2023 Oscars 

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” was everything, the queers ate on the champagne carpet and yes, Lady Gaga made an appearance 

If Academy Awards are your choice measure of movie quality, then it’s fair to say that a film full of dildos, buttplugs, lesbian love and tender family feelings is officially the best movie of the year. 

During Sunday night’s Oscars telecast, the mind-bending family sci-fi epic Everything Everywhere All at Once took home seven awards, including Best Picture, in a massive triumph for the film’s ravenous fans. For awards with a long history of going to war movies, prestige dramas and period pieces, the film is an unconventional—but for many, welcome—pick from the Academy. 

Seriously, the Daniels, the guys who directed the “Turn Down For What” music video and a movie about a farting Daniel Radcliffe corpse now have an armful of Oscars. That’s pretty cool!

Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

Credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Beyond that big win, the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted ceremony also featured long-overdue acting wins for industry veterans Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis for EEAAO and Brendan Fraser for The Whale (a film this critic hated—but I cannot deny that Fraser deserved a legacy win). Pepper in standout musical performances from Lady Gaga and Rihanna, some stunning red carpet looks and Pedro Pascal giggling about dicks, and it was altogether an enjoyable (albeit long) Academy Awards ceremony for the gays. 

Whether you tuned in for the more than three-and-a-half-hour ceremony yourself, or you just need the highlights, here are the top five queerest moments of the 2023 Oscars worth catching up on and remembering. 

Everything Everywhere All at Once is everything, everywhere all at once

It’s impossible to fully describe how big of a deal EEAAO’s triumph is in Oscars history. The film, which stars Yeoh as a family matriarch and laundromat owner navigating taxes and the multiverse with her husband (Quan) and queer daughter (Stephanie Hsu) was an indie darling throughout the year that quickly evolved into an awards juggernaut. 

In addition to winning Best Picture, the film also took home Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for the Daniels (the creative duo of Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan), Best Editing, Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis, Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan and Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh. Quan and Yeoh became the first Asian actors to win in the same year. Yeoh became just the second actor of colour to ever win Best Actress.

But more than the historic statistics, the film and its team brought a whole lot of fun to the telecast. Beyond a stunning red carpet look (more on that soon), Best Supporting Actress nominee Hsu joined David Byrne and Son Lux for a delightfully bizarre performance of the nominated song “This Is a Life,” complete with laser-eyed raccoons and hot-dog fingers.

 
Stephanie Hsu and David Byrne.

For anyone unfamiliar with the film, it certainly would pique interest. And believe me: that’s only the tip of the everything bagel when it comes to this wild ride of a film. 

The stars bring a touch of queer politics to the proceedings

Host Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue, the overall ceremony and speeches were relatively light on politics, particularly queer ones. Though two EEAAO winners managed to nod to the current conversation. 

Best Supporting Actress winner Jamie Lee Curtis spoke backstage about gender inclusivity in the industry, and took the time to mention her daughter Ruby. 

“Of course, the inclusivity then that involves the bigger question, which is: how do you include everyone when there are binary choices, which is very difficult, and as the mother of a trans daughter, I completely understand that; and yet, to degender the categories, also, I’m concerned will diminish the opportunities for more women, which is something I also have been trying to promote. So it’s a complicated question, but I think the most important thing is inclusivity and more women, basically, more fucking women anywhere anytime all at once.” 

And when accepting one of their awards, Daniel Sheinert of the Daniels even threw in a dig at rising anti-drag sentiments, thanking his parents for letting him make movies and even dress in drag as a kid and calling it “a threat to nobody.”

We have to agree!

The queers ate the champagne carpet

This year’s ceremony ditched the traditional red carpet in favour of a champagne-coloured rug, but the carpet colour didn’t stop the stars from turning some looks. From What We Do In the Shadows star Harvey Guillén to Glass Onion standout Janelle Monáe, LGBTQ2S+ stars dominated the fashion game. 

Harvey Guillén.

Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Janelle Monáe.

Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Hsu’s massive pink gown was a highlight of a pre-show where not nearly enough people went big, as was Angela Bassett’s stunning purple moment. 

Stephanie Hsu.

Credit: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Angela Bassett.

Credit: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

And Glee fans rejoice: Harry Shum Jr. turned it out in a white look, while 2022 winner Ariana DeBose did the thing also in white (the thing being looking fab).

Harry Shum Jr.

Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Ariana DeBose.

Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Pedro Pascal says “My Year of Dicks”

One small moment of joy from the presenters came when The Last of Us star Pedro Pascal was presenting Best Animated Short and couldn’t quite bring himself to say the word “dick” on the Oscars when discussing nominee My Year of Dicks. Pascal’s tickled giggles, the audience’s delight and the social media reaction to him reading the nominees (including that film’s name) showed that we can all still have some fun at the Oscars. 

“Naatu Naatu” gets us dancing, Lady Gaga strips down and Rihanna lifts us up

And of course we can’t forget the music. We already mentioned Hsu, Son Lux and Byrne’s performance, and the less said about Diane Warren’s snoozer “Applause” from this year the better. But the other three musical performances all offered up interesting, albeit different, vibes and truly something for everyone.

Eventual winner “Naatu Naatu” proved to be the infectious banger that fans of its film, RRR, have promised, and the performance from singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava was an absolute bop. Get me a Drag Race lip sync to it, stat! 

Lady Gaga was initially not slated to perform her Top Gun: Maverick track “Hold My Hand,” but came through at the last minute with a stripped-down version of the anthem, certain to please the Joanne fans out there. Sure, some bizarre camerawork meant we got just a zoomed-in view of her face for most of the performance, but Gaga proved that her “Shallow” performance from a few years back was no fluke—petition for a Lady Gaga Oscars performance every year!

Lady Gaga.

Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

And Rihanna, sporting the baby bump she revealed during last month’s Super Bowl appearance, brought the house down with an emotional rendition of “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman. It was a powerful performance signalling that in 2023, it’s Rihanna’s world and we’re all just living in it.

Rihanna.

Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

What was your favourite moment of the 2023 Oscars? Let us know in the comments below. 

Senior editor Mel Woods is an English-speaking Vancouver-based writer and audio producer and a former associate editor with HuffPost Canada. A proud prairie queer and ranch dressing expert, their work has also appeared in Vice, Slate, the Tyee, the CBC, the Globe and Mail and the Walrus.

Read More About:
TV & Film, Culture, Music, Feature

Keep Reading

Miranda July on midlife crises, open marriages and the erotic potential of tampons

Her latest novel, “All Fours,” unpacks the transformative, sometimes painful process of rediscovering oneself in middle age
Theo Germaine and Aden Hakimi are lit in purple; they are both shown from the chest up, shirtless. Germaine touches Hakimi's chest while the pair face each other. Hakimi is balding and has a short beard; Germaine has short brown hair.

Actor Theo Germaine wants more messy trans representation

Recent projects “Spark” and “Desire Lines” showcase Germaine's talents on a new level

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 9’ Episode 2 recap: We’re on each other’s team

As the competition moulds into place, the queens are playing doubles
A collage of AI generated gay male couples. The men are muscular and all look similar. There are four pairs.

Who does queer AI ‘art’ actually represent?

ANALYSIS: Accounts dedicated to queer AI art have popped off, but is there hope for anything beyond “boyfriend twins”?