GLAAD Award Nominees: Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert, 'Mad Men' and More

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.

Video: Lady Gaga releases designer headphones.Play

Then there are the nominees people might not normally associate with gay, lesbian or transgender issues: AMC's hit drama "Mad Men," the duderific comedy "I Love You Man," and ABC's "Modern Family."

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 "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."

VIDEO: Lady GaGa is hit by a bouquet of flowers during a show in Atlanta.Play

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.

Lady Gaga

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."

Adam Lambert

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."


Barrios: "There is a character in 'Precious,' Miss Rain. She's Precious' GED teacher. She's a lesbian, and Precious is taken in by her when Precious is left homeless. The movie shows Miss Rain and her partner as the most loving pair Precious has ever known in her life. In addition, we see in the character of Miss Rain an acknowledgement to Precious that her own family hasn't accepted her. That story that Miss Rain tells is a real one."

'Modern Family' (ABC)

Barrios: "There are at least 200,000 children in America being raised by two-dad and two-mom families, as on 'Modern Family.' To have their story told, especially at a time when right wing zealots are trying, in several states, to put on the ballot laws that would take away gay parents' rights to adopt -- it's hugely important."

'Glee' (Fox)

Barrios: "The boy [Chris Colfer] who comes out and the trouble he faces telling his father -- that is every gay child's story in America. That is every parent of a gay child's story in America. To see it on TV is to validate it."