It wasn’t long ago that playing gay on film as a heterosexual actor was considered “brave” and often made one a shoo-in for Oscar recognition. These days, LGBTQ themes are far more commonplace in American film, there are a handful of respected, out actors — and we’ve thankfully moved past the time when a trans character’s surprise gender reveal was a major plot twist (ahem, The Crying Game).


Below, a quick rundown of the best movies you may not have seen that have received Oscar nominations or Academy Awards over the past few decades that have LGBTQ characters or themes.


Midnight Cowboy (1969) –

Director John Schlesinger’s gritty portrayal of a friendship between two street hustlers in New York — a con man played by Dustin Hoffman and a naïve sex worker played by Angelina Jolie’s dad, John Voight — holds up fairly well.


Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) –

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant deliver natural, funny, career-making performances as a pair of unlikely friends who bond over booze in 1980s New York.


The Favourite (2018) –

irector Yorgos Lanthimos’ quirky look at an infantile 18th Century queen with secret sexual desires won a well-deserved Oscar for Olivia Coleman.


Moonlight (2016) –

Barry Jenkins’ subtle, moving portrait of a young  Black man coming of age of in Miami made history with its surprise Best Picture win.


Carol (2015) –

Out director Todd Haynes created a beautiful and wrenching period drama about a lesbian affair in 1950s New Jersey, from a novel by Patricia Highsmith.


The Danish Girl (2015) – Eddie Redmayne was nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Lili Elbe, a pioneering trans artist who transitioned in 1920s Copenhagen, and Alicia Vikander won Best Supporting.


Longtime Companion (1989) –

It’s the first movie about AIDS to get Oscar recognition with a nomination for supporting actor Bruce Davison — and it has a stunning ending.


The Kids Are Alright (2010) –

Lisa Cholodenko’s acclaimed film about an LGBTQ family features terrific performances by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.


The World According to Garp (1982) –

Watch it for John Lithgow’s performance as trans activist Roberta Muldoon, and the film’s casual and pioneering embrace of a trans character.