The POZ Awards spotlight the best representations of HIV/AIDS in media and culture.
The POZ editorial staff selected the nominees, but the winners were voted most popular by POZ readers.
For the 2016 awards, eligibility was performed, published or accomplished between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2016.
Deadline for voting was extended past World AIDS Day, which was Thursday, December 1, by one week to Thursday, December 8.
Here are the winners as voted by POZ readers:
Best Celebrity Advocate: John Legend
Following the likes of Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige and Bono, Legend became the spokesperson of Belvedere’s (Red) campaign, which seeks to bring an end to AIDS in this generation.
Best in Film or Television: Pushing Dead
When you hear the words HIV, bureaucracy and gentrification, you don’t exactly think laugh riot. But that’s exactly what this film tries to accomplish: a movie about the frustrations of living and loving with HIV in a rapidly changing San Francisco.
Best Actor or Actress in Film or Television: Daniel Franzese, Looking: The Movie
Any conversation about the HBO show Looking is incomplete without a discussion of Eddie (Franzese), everyone’s favorite HIV-positive bear. This film, which wrapped up the show’s storylines, centered on Eddie’s marriage to Augustin.
Best Documentary: Last Men Standing
Eight men, all long-term survivors living with HIV, recount the last 30 years of their lives in this documentary that shines a light on the trauma that accompanies the graying of AIDS.
Best Web Series: Unsure/Positive
According to UnsurePositiveSeries.com: “[This web series] tells the story of Kieran, a young man who has just learned that he is HIV positive. The first season is about the stigma that plagues him in light of his diagnosis. Kieran’s personal journey towards self-acceptance is a difficult one, mostly because he cannot find the courage to tell anyone about his status.” Christian Kiley, the creator and lead actor of this web series, lives with HIV. He is currently raising funds to produce the second season.
Best in Performing Arts: Affection
This play isn’t interested in the age-old narrative of HIV progressing to AIDS then ultimately ending in death. Rather, this play dives into what it means to be intimate while living with HIV. The London play mashes together electronic music, a fragmented story structure and video projections.
Best in Visual Arts: Party Out of Bounds: Nightlife as Activism in the 1980s
Not all activism happened in the streets and not all of it looked like shouting or protesting. This gallery collection asked viewers to rethink the boundaries and formats of activism through an examination of 1980s club culture — the escapism, the community and the safer-sex forum, all in one.
Best Literature, Fiction: Capsid: A Love Song by Joseph Osmundson
Comprised of eight prose poems meant to reflect the eight stages of the HIV life cycle, Joseph Osmundson’s Capsid reimagines the host-guest relationship between HIV and a person. If the person is a “host,” then HIV is a guest, but what kind of guest is HIV?
Best Literature, Nonfiction: Lust, Men and Meth: A Gay Man’s Guide to Sex and Recovery by David Fawcett
Though written as a guide for gay men struggling to overcome meth addiction, which affects many living with HIV, and for the doctors that support them, David Fawcett, PhD, and his sociological eye make this an amazing read for anyone, not just those struggling with or helping someone with an addiction. Through reading this book, the reader becomes more intimately familiar with the many psychological, emotional and social traumas haunting gay men today.
This Hyperallergic.com report documents the very specific fight of activists trying to get more black voices represented in the art exhibit Art AIDS America, while also contextualizing that fight among the long history of erasing black artists and black bodies from the HIV/AIDS conversation.
Congratulations to the winners!
The POZ Awards in Media and Culture
Read about the nominees: