The GLAAD nominees are out, and they're not the usual suspects.
While most of the entertainment industry fetes the same sort of fare each year -- sure, Tina Fey deserves every one of her Emmys, but is anyone actually surprised when she gets them? -- the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation celebrates television, film, theater and music that offers outstanding images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Among the nominees for the 21st annual GLAAD media awards, which were released today, are a few names that shouldn't come as a shock: Lady Gaga, the bisexual pop culture icon and current No. 1 candidate to rob Madonna of her title as the Queen of Pop; and Adam Lambert, the eyeliner-loving singer who lost "American Idol" but won the chance to come out to the world on the cover of Rolling Stone.
According to GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, the dichotomy is the point.
"We're excited about the nominees this year because it's the richest crop ever," he told ABCNews.com. "America has moved beyond 'Will & Grace.' Ten years ago, it was enough to have a girl's quirky gay best friend be part of a show or movie. But stock storylines and stereotypes aren't enough anymore. What we want to see is a continued increase of storylines about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people that portray who we really are."
Below, check out some of the most prominent nominees and what makes them worthy of recognition, according to Barrios. Click here for the full list of nominees for the 2010 GLAAD media awards.
Barrios: "In addition to acknowledging her bisexuality, thanking her gay fans and speaking out publicly in favor of LGBT rights as she did at the National March on Washington, she has lots of gay and bisexual images in her videos, which is important in terms of advancing the visibility of gay people."
Barrios: "He was on TV telling his story and being openly gay in places where there weren't a lot of openly gay performers. We applaud the visibility of openly gay performers like Adam who share their stories with the public."
'Mad Men' (AMC)
Barrios: "In the case of 'Mad Men,' what you have is a period drama that shows, in sometimes chilling detail, the life of a gay man [Bryan Batt] in the early 1960s and the real barriers that he faced -- the pressures to be heterosexual publicly and the torture that that was. It's not about endorsing his closeted life. It's about 'Mad Men' telling america about an important chapter in American history. 50 years ago, life was hell."
'I Love You Man'
Barrios: "The entire premise of the film could have been an excuse for one long homophobic joke. But the filmmakers chose not to go that way at all, using the 'bromance' between Peter [Paul Rudd] and Sydney [Jason Segel] as a way to look at straight men's challenges with friendship and intimacy -- without falling back on lazy jokes at gay men's expense."