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Best Shot: Trevor (1994)

For Pride Month... A great moment in Oscar gayness

This week's Best Shot spotlight shines on an adorable miniature. Since June is Pride Month we're looking at Great Moments in Cinematic Gayness throughout the month. Great Moments in Oscar Gayness are rarer things and usually come with significant caveats. When they award actors for playing LGBT characters it's literally only when they are straight and labelled "brave" for playing the character and the character is either dying or victimized in some way. Their ultimate Best Picture rejection of a universally acclaimed frontrunner in Brokeback Mountain (2005) left another stain on the Academy's rainbow colors.

But in Oscar's gay history, there is a beautiful moment that comes without so many uncomfortable footnotes.

Trevor, a sweet funny short about a boy who realizes his schoolmates have figured out his gayness took home an Oscar in a surprise tie, one of only six in their history, at the 67th ceremony. To make the moment even gayer in retrospect, the late producer and casting director Randy Stone thanked Jodie Foster ("Jodie, I love you") from the stage. (Stone and Foster were frequently each other's dates at film events in the 1990s and he was even rumored to be the biological father of her sons.)


best shot

My favorite moment occurs in the middle of the most depressing sequence in which Trevor decides to commit suicide with a bottle of pills. After a few pills Trevor momentarily stops to lipsync his favorite Diana Ross song. The happiness that spreads across his face, and the sunlight from the window, is so incongruously joyful given the context. It's a potent reminder, executed with the deft light touch but deep understanding that characterizes the whole film, that the things that make you different, that separate you and that others judge you for, can also be the things that define you and bring you great joy. Trevor's crush on his friend didn't go well but in this weird moment, lost in the emotion of the Ross's "Endless Love" you can see who Trevor might become when he embraces himself, as much as he stans for Diana Ross, sometime down the road.

In other more familiar words: it gets better.

Though Trevor's topic (gay teen suicide) is a depressing and unfortunately still resonant one, the film comes through its emotional darkness for an authentically familiar hopeful ending. "It gets better" wasn't yet a thing in 1994 and neither was The Trevor Project, the not-for-profit which would be created by the people behind the short, but those things were coming to rescue a lot of young Trevors in the future.   

Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

The Trevor Project is a not-for-profit doing important work. If you want to donate, you can do so here.

Click on the image to read the accompanying article

If you’ll permit me, I have a short true story to tell you...
-I Want to Believe

Trevor the film has a good sense of humor, but unfortunately relies too much on narration to bring it out, 
-Scopophiliac at the Cinema

As a gay cinephile, I probably should've already heard of the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor before this week
- Sorta That Guy


a wonderful story about a boy who struggles to fit in...
-Film Actually 

Embrace the world, and in so doing, embrace yourself... 
-Dancin Dan on Film 


Next Tuesday on Best Shot:
Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart (1982)
[Amazon Prime iTunes]


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Reader Comments (5)

June 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAR

Thanks for featuring this film. I remember seeing this at a gay conference when it came out. I was surprised and delighted when the sweet, short film I thought no one had ever heard of won the Oscar.

The "Endless Love" scene you mention is so moving. Nice write-up.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBiggs

Never knew this was an Oscar winning short. Saw this on HBO in the late nineties when Ellen introduced it after coming out.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Oh, I forgot it was today! I would have picked Film Actually's shot. That scene kills me.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Ha I saw this in class years ago and then Peggy Rajski came out after since she taught at my school. I remember thinking it was great for a short film and even showed it to my friend who was closeted gay at the time to help him with his coming out. Its nice that a short film can have such a great effect.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJosh
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