Films depicting cowboys in love, a gay literary legend, and a pre-op transsexual on a road trip took out some top honours at this week’s Golden Globe Awards.

Brokeback Mountain lived up to expectations by winning Best Picture (Drama) as well as three other awards, while Philip Seymour Hoffman won Best Actor (Drama) for his role as writer Truman Capote in Capote, and Felicity Huffman won Best Actress (Drama) as transsexual Bree in Transamerica.

Film commentator and At The Movies host, Margaret Pomeranz, admitted she was delighted, but surprised, the three movies were this year’s big winners.

To see a very conservative institution like this embrace these kinds of films is very heartening, Pomeranz said. We never thought we would see a day when movies like Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Transamerica, depicting a diversity of lives, would take out the top honours, and yet here it is.

So we can say that the world really is growing up just when we all thought it was closing down. It also shows there are really good people working with great integrity in films.

 Senior lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology Alan McKee said the sweep of the Golden Globes, and the attention the films had received, suggested a change in Hollywood’s attitude to the portrayal of gay lives.

But McKee questioned if the films won the awards because of a tendency to reward issue films.

I have always been a strong supporter of the increase in appearance of lesbian and gay characters in films, McKee said.

Compared to 30 years ago, there has been an increase -“ there is no doubt about that. But in terms of who gets awards, playing someone who is gay or transgender is still seen as a big challenge and something out of the ordinary, and that’s when people really notice the performance, he said.

I guess we will have come full circle when no one notices the sexuality of the character in the first place.

This was the first time three gay-themed films have taken out top honours at a single Golden Globe Awards. The last queer winners were Charlize Theron in Monster in 2003, Hillary Swank’s 1999 win in Boys Don’t Cry and 1993’s nod to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.

Capote explores gay writer Truman Capote’s life at the time he was the toast of New York society and was writing his landmark book In Cold Blood.

Transamerica stars Felicity Huffman as a pre-op male-to-female transsexual who is about to undergo her final operation when she meets a son she never knew she had.

In her acceptance speech, the Desperate Housewives star paid tribute to the film’s subject matter, the men and women who brave ostracism, alienation and life lived on the margins to become who they really are.

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