11 Surprise LGBTQ Moments From the 2018 Oscars

Change was in the air at the 90th Academy Awards last night. While most of the winners were still white men, there were some notable victories for queer people and people of color; the stage was stacked with POC presenters; and trans women were represented better than ever. The show also featured three commercials starring a variety of queer folks. It was actually quite a surprise! It seemed like nothing was going to be queer this year; we didn’t even liveblog! So let’s count ’em down: here are the top 11 LGBTQ moments from the 2018 Oscars. (In no particular order.)

Twitter’s #HereWeAre ad was narrated by queer spoken word poet Denice Frohman.

The Dee Rees-directed Wal-Mart commercial starred a lesbian couple helping their daughter dream big.


This Samsung Galaxy ad starred Dee Rees, Rachel Morrison, and non-binary actor Olabisi Kovabel.


Lesbian Academy Award winner Debra Chasnoff was featured in the In Memoriam. She passed away last year at the age of 60 after a battle with breast cancer. Mombian notes that Chanoff was the first openly gay person to thank her partner when winning an Oscar, for her documentary Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment, in 1992.

Coco won Best Animated Feature and both the producer, Darla K. Anderson, and the co-director, Adrian Molina, are gay! And they thanked their spouses while championing diversity in film.


A Fantastic Woman won Best Foreign Language Film. It tells the story of a trans woman dealing with the grief of losing someone she loves and the oppression she faces as she tries to move on, and it stars trans actress Daniela Vega. Vega also became the first openly trans presenter in Oscars history last night.

Vega introduced Sufjan Stevens, whose performance of Call Me By Your Name‘s “Mystery of Love” had a surprise St. Vincent.

Call Me By Your Name, the gay coming-of-age story set in Italy in the ’80s, won Best Adapted Screenplay, making gay screenwriter James Ivory the oldest Oscar winner in history, at he age of 89!

Common and Andra Day shared the stage with ten activists during their performance of “Stand Up for Something.” Among them: Janet Mock!

The diversity in film package featured Dee Rees, Daniela Vega, and Yance Ford, the first trans person to ever be nominated for Best Director.

Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence presented the Best Leading Actress award to Frances McDormand. That award is usually presented by the winner of Best Leading Actor from the previous year, but in 2017 that was Casey Affleck, and #MeToo/Time’s Up forced him to stay home.


What were some of your favorite Oscars moments this year?

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Oh hi! It’s the next day, and I’m still not over that Dee Rees directed commercial with the black girls rocking it in a Star Wars style space fantasy, starring Mary J Blige, and TWO BLACK LESBIAN MOMS.

    Still. Not. Over. It.

  2. Neither of these moments were exactly LGBT, nor were they surprises as I didn’t watch live but was tipped off to look for the photos after the fact.
    BUT these moments did give me unsurprisingly queer feelings:

  3. Sufjan Stevens and St. Vincent are too good for this world.

    Not LGBT related but I was so happy for Get Out winning best original screenplay. Yay!

    Also, not Oscars related, but award season related:

    Greta Gerwig please make us the queer rom-com we all want and deserve:

  4. Fashion wise, Janelle Monae’s Siriano cape-suit and Rita Moreno’s 1962 Oscar dress reappearance were pretty incredible

  5. That double whammy gay thank you from the Coco team made my wife and I squeal with delight ?

    “I would like to thank my wife–”
    us: awwwwww!!!!!! ?
    “I want to thank my husband–”
    us: they’re both gay!?!? AWWW!!

    • Seriously that was so adorable I squealed so loud all lesbians within a 10 mile radius murmured “wtf was that.”

  6. My lesbian viewing party erupted when Darla K. Anderson thanked her wife.
    And everyone was in awe of Rita Moreno. I, of course, reminded people to watch One Day at a Time

  7. Jodie and the Oscars have a special place in my heart since the 90s. How perfect that she and Jennifer Lawrence replaced that guy. Also, Holdo.

  8. This is a little thing but I wish people would stop referring to Call Me By Your Name as a story about two gay men when it’s pretty clearly about two bisexual men. Idk, it’s difficult to know since ‘gay’ is used as an umbrella term a lot so I can’t always tell whether the characters’ bisexuality is being erased but it feels like it is a lot.

    Also, I don’t really like Jennifer Lawrence but she looks INCREDIBLE here.

  9. What about @eva_friedman! The queer cutie drummer performing during “This is Me”?

  10. Jodie Foster in that suit and looking tiny but magnificent next to J Law cleared my skin, watered my crops, and reminded me why it’s great to be gay. I would fight Meryl Streep for her any day of the week.

  11. You know I kept thinking is that Annie Clark on stage, cause the dress and moves say so, but there wasn’t a mention of her name.

    Not gay, but really enjoyed Eddie Vedder’s performance.

  12. so many good gay things happened last night!
    adam rippon’s harness. instantly iconic.
    jodie foster looking tiny and dapper in her suit gives me hope as i am also tiny and want to look dapper in a suit. roxane gay is so spot-on in this observation. lesbians don’t age. perks! https://twitter.com/rgay/status/970516738621235200
    frances mcdormand has achieved the level of old-lady effortlessly cool not giving a fuck that i aspire to. no makeup! haircut that looks diy! plan of action to affect real, material change for historically underrepresented people! you’re a national treasure, frances. never change.
    all of the ladies were holding hands and i loved it.
    highlight of the night: these photos of laura dern gunning for another toaster oven! (if that’s not what’s going on, nobody tell me. i want to believe.)

    extra highlight: this… interesting use of “pals” from nbc. https://www.nbcnews.com/card/greta-gerwig-laura-dern-forever-n853236 what do you know that we don’t, nbc?

  13. I had to check my blood pressure after this: Danai Gurira in Vanity Fair’s party

  14. One minor addition. I’m pretty sure the stage was a giant vagina.

    Does it always looks like that?

  15. Not super gay (except for the flutter in my heart), but Helen Mirren is one sexy septuagenarian.

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