Welcome to the 2nd Annual POZ Awards, which spotlight the best representations of HIV/AIDS in media and culture.
The POZ editorial staff selects the nominees, but POZ readers choose the winners.
Eligible nominees were active or were presented, published or produced between October 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017.
Be sure to vote for your favorite nominees by the World AIDS Day deadline: Friday, December 1, 2017.
Here are the nominees:
120 Beats Per Minute
This fictional account of the people and passions behind ACT UP Paris in the 1990s would make a thrilling double feature with the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague. The director of 120 Beats Per Minute, Robin Campillo, is an ACT UP veteran whose intimate familiarity with the tear-stained terrain is evident in every frame of his film. This operatic drama of politics, power and loss caused a sensation at its Cannes Film Festival premiere last May.
How do gay long-term survivors come to terms with the trauma of the 1980s, much less find a connection with younger gay men? Writer and director Vincent Gagliostro’s melancholy rumination on life beyond the worst of the plague years has been stirring audiences across the film festival circuit this year, and for good reason. It dares to ask questions for which there are no easy answers.
Diana, Our Mother
It is impossible for any HIV advocate not to be deeply moved by this very personal documentary on the life of Princess Diana, the first that centers on her two sons and their respect for her legacy, including her many HIV/AIDS projects. Hearing them publicly discuss their grief process for the first time is an emotional reminder of the enormity of their loss—and ours.
Finding Prince Charming
Yes, this gay spin on The Bachelor reality show definitely yielded mixed results. But the power of someone disclosing his or her HIV-positive status—as one contestant did—cannot be underestimated. It was an even greater message when that contestant took home the final rose—and the man.
Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo
Two young gay men meet in a sex club in the extremely explicit first 20 minutes of this film (it is French, after all). They leave together and stroll the streets of Paris. The fact that one is HIV positive and one is negative isn’t a gimmick played for dramatic conflict—in fact, the couple casually stops in at a hospital to pick up PeP (post-exposure prophylaxis) for the negative partner. This sexy and romantic film explores a modern world in which HIV prevention may be easier, but finding true love and intimacy is just as hard as it has ever been.
When We Rise
The ABC miniseries brought must-see television back to our living rooms, at least for LGBT audiences and allies with an interest in the early days of gay rights, and eventually AIDS, in San Francisco. The series has lessons for us, including the contributions of early heroes like (NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt founder) Cleve Jones, trans activist Cecilia Chung and even a certain young singer by the name of Sylvester.