All the 2024 Oscar Nominees Nominated for Playing LGBTQ Characters: From Bradley Cooper to Annette Bening

Six actors were recognized at this year's Academy Awards for LGBTQ roles

<p>Frazer Harrison/Getty; VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty; Tommaso Boddi/Variety via Getty</p>

Frazer Harrison/Getty; VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty; Tommaso Boddi/Variety via Getty

LGBTQ representation will be strong at Sunday's 2024 Oscars.

In 2017, Moonlight became the first film starring a gay protagonist to win Best Picture. Last year, there were three actors nominated by the Academy for playing an LGBTQ character: Stephanie Hsu in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Cate Blanchett in Tár and Brendan Fraser in The Whale.

At the 96th Academy Awards, six nominees across all four acting categories are representing the multifaceted lives of LGBTQ individuals.

Related: 2024 Oscar Nominations: Barbie, Oppenheimer and American Fiction Among Nominees — See the Full List

Below, see all the actors recognized at this year’s Oscars for playing LGBTQ characters.

Annette Bening as Diana Nyad in 'Nyad'

<p>Liz Parkinson/Netflix</p> Annette Bening as Diana Nyad in 'Nyad'

Liz Parkinson/Netflix

Annette Bening as Diana Nyad in 'Nyad'

Bening, 65, plays long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad in a biopic depicting her attempts to swim the Florida Straits. Nyad, who is an out lesbian, has written four books, including a 2016 memoir titled Find a Way that detailed her reasoning for unretiring to have a fifth try at the odyssey.

"Annette was always the one for the role of Diana, and she was fearless in putting in the work to embody the character," director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi told PEOPLE. "She trained for over a year to get the swimming right, and I remember that when she did that first stroke on camera, the entire crew was holding their breath in excitement."

Competing for Best Actress, Bening seeks her first Academy Award out of five nominations.

Sterling K. Brown as Clifford “Cliff” Ellison in 'American Fiction'

<p>Claire Folger/MGM/Everett </p> Sterling K. Brown as Cliff Ellison in 'American Fiction'

Claire Folger/MGM/Everett

Sterling K. Brown as Cliff Ellison in 'American Fiction'

American Fiction’s Brown, 47, portrays the newly out brother of Jeffrey Wright’s Monk Ellison. At the outset of the film, viewers meet Cliff, a surgeon who recently divorced his wife after she found him in bed with a man. Throughout the comedy-drama, Cliff navigates the next era of his life, one of frequent drug use and hook-up culture.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Brown said he found the character relatable, being a black sheep of the Ellison family. He explained, “I’m sure most of us feel this from time to time, like you are on the outside looking in — that everybody sort of understands each other, but they don’t quite understand you.”

Brown is a first-time nominee at the Academy Awards, up for Best Supporting Actor at the ceremony.

Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in 'Maestro'

<p>Jason McDonald/Netflix </p> Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in 'Maestro'

Jason McDonald/Netflix

Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in 'Maestro'

Maestro, directed, co-written, produced and led by Cooper, 49, tells the story of composer Leonard Bernstein and his rocky marriage with Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan). Bernstein, a bisexual man struggling with addiction, was best known for composing music for West Side Story. Over the course of his 50-year career, Bernstein won 16 Grammy Awards, seven Emmys and two Tonys.

While creating the film, Cooper stayed in contact with Bernstein and Montealegre’s three children, Jamie, 71, Alexander, 68, and Nina, 62, to ensure that their father’s story would be told properly.

"The way he embraced us as he went along in this project — he was so open-hearted," Jamie told PEOPLE. "We wound up feeling like we could trust him."

Cooper could win his first Academy Award out of 12 total nominations. He is also competing for Best Picture as Maestro’s producer and Best Original Screenplay.

Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in 'Rustin'

<p>NETFLIX</p> Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in 'Rustin'


Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in 'Rustin'

For his portrayal of openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin in the biopic Rustin, Colman Domingo earned his first-ever Academy Award nomination. Rustin, who assumed a pivotal part in organizing the March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr., was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President Barack Obama in 2013.

The Euphoria actor, who is also openly gay, explained to Netflix’s Queue that he felt he “was the only one who could play” the trailblazer. He told the filmmaking team, “I have everything that I need, and all the tools to lend, to give this man his full humanity, his humor, his sexuality, his joy. I have no fear stepping into any of his spaces.”

Domingo is nominated for Best Actor at this year’s Oscars. If he emerges victorious, he would become the first Afro-Latino actor to win the Best Actor award..

Jodie Foster as Bonnie Stoll in 'Nyad'

<p>Kimberley French/Netflix </p> Jodie Foster as Bonnie Stoll in 'Nyad'

Kimberley French/Netflix

Jodie Foster as Bonnie Stoll in 'Nyad'

In Nyad, Jodie Foster, 61, takes on the role of Nyad’s coach and longtime friend Bonnie Stoll. Like Nyad, Stoll openly identifies as lesbian.

While preparing for the role, Foster — who came out at the 2013 Golden Globes — befriended Stoll ahead of filming. “I can't sit still for the most part. Jodie came over. We sat outside for three hours straight. I never even thought about standing up. You know, ‘What’s your favorite food?’ ‘Oh, me too!’ That kind of thing,” recalled Stoll to PEOPLE.

The Oscar winner is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Her last victory came in 1992, where she won her second Best Actress award for Silence of the Lambs and became one of two people to win multiple Oscars before turning 30.

Sandra Hüller as Sandra Voyter in 'Anatomy of a Fall'

<p>Madman Films</p> Sandra Hüller as Sandra Voyter in 'Anatomy of a Fall'

Madman Films

Sandra Hüller as Sandra Voyter in 'Anatomy of a Fall'

German actress Hüller, 45, stars in Justine Triet’s courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall as a widow accused of murdering her husband. In the film, her character’s bisexual identity is weaponized by the prosecution as an incriminating factor during the trial.

Of the protagonist, director Triet, 45, said to CNN that Voyter is “so ungraspable, elusive.”

“She doesn’t apologize for herself for anything. She has guts, she’s not the perfect victim, she’s not crying all the time. In the courtroom I wanted her to cry quite a lot and [Sandra Hüller] was like, “No, I don’t want to do that,” Triet recalled.

With the role, Hüller received her first nod at the Academy Awards, nominated for Best Actress.

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