By Mark Pinkert
* * *
This is the third article in a three-part series.
Though many Academy Award Best Picture nominees contain—or are predominantly about—sex and relationships, very few have been about sex issues in law and politics. In recent years there has been Milk (2008), the biopic of Harvey Milk, a California politician and gay rights activist, and otherwise not much else. Even in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the AIDS epidemic was a hot button issue, few films of this genre made it to the Best Picture ticket (remember, Philadelphia was snubbed from the category in 1993). Sexual issues topics, though, have been more popular within the documentary medium: there was Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989), which won for Best Documentary, and which was the first AIDS-related film to win an Oscar, the The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), which also won Best Documentary, and How to Survive a Plague (2012), which was nominated for Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards earlier this year.
The Oscar race this year, though, does feature an important film about sex issues, Dallas Buyers Club (2013), which will likely make the Best Picture ticket and has a shot to win. Though the sociopolitical scope of this film is generally contained within the Dallas locale of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) and his HIV-positive buyers club, the film is quite relevant today. Through the growth of Woodroof—a once outspoken homophobe turned sympathetic activist—we see the real dangers of sex-related stigmata in society.