Despite winning the Golden Globe for her transformative performance in Transamerica, there were two factors that made Felicity Huffman’s Oscar chances close to zero. First, 2005 was the year that the Academy Awards exposed themselves as being blatantly homophobic. Brokeback Mountain was the critically acclaimed film of the year, having won every major award ceremony up until the Academy Awards. Yet it is known now, older Academy members, such as Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine, openly stated they had no interest in even viewing Brokeback Mountain due to the homosexual content of the film. Rather than being objective, the Academy’s credibility faltered due to its bias towards sexuality (a flaw that the Academy Awards now over compensates for now), thus denying Brokeback Mountain the Best Picture Oscar. Therefore Huffman’s performance, that of a transgendered person, was likely content that Academy members additionally weren’t willing to see. Second, 2005 was the year of Reese Witherspoon with her role as June Carter in Walk the Line. Having been a media darling in Hollywood for many years, this was the first opportunity Witherspoon had at gaining some awards. Witherspoon’s performance was more of a supporting role in Walk the Line, yet her performance was pushed as Lead Actress, thus eliminating any chance Huffman had at winning her deserved Oscar.
Huffman’s performance is the first of its kind: A female actress portraying a man who is in the process of becoming a woman. Before her doctors can sign off on her procedure, Huffman’s character is expected to connect with her son, who she has never met before. What follows next is a cross-country journey that challenges both of their ideals and beliefs. Huffman is first-rate in her performance, truly becoming the character to the point that one must remind themselves that she is acting. The Academy Awards has undoubtedly learned from their homophobia in 2005, yet it was a little too late for Felicity Huffman.
Lost to: Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line (2005)