Oscar takes note of gender benders

CelebritiesMovie IndustryAcademy AwardsAlec GuinnessJack BennyKatharine HepburnGolden Globe Awards

Gender-bender acting has been going on since the earliest days of theater, when women were forbidden to appear on stage and female roles were played by men. And many a famous performer has attempted to play someone of the opposite sex. Katharine Hepburn played a woman who disguises herself as a boy in "Sylvia Scarlett"; Jack Benny played the title role in the film version of "Charley's Aunt" -- and Ray Bolger in the musical version "Where's Charley?"; Alec Guinness played Lady Agatha in "Kind Hearts and Coronets"; and even Cary Grant donned hosiery and a wig for "I Was a Male War Bride."

Quite naturally, Oscar has taken notice of these gender-bender roles when handing out nominations and Academy Awards to those actors and actresses who have taken a walk on the other gender side.

This year, Cate Blanchett is Oscar-nominated in the supporting actress category for playing a man -- not a woman who disguises herself as a man -- one of six personalities that make up singer Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes' offbeat bio pic, "I'm Not There." With her short curly hair, sunglasses and swagger, Blanchett's Jude is a dead ringer for the mid-1960s Dylan -- a folk hero who begins to alienate his fans when he switches to electric guitar and begins to play rock. It's a transcendent performance for which Blanchett won the Golden Globe for best supporting actress.

Check out our photo gallery on other actors and actresses who have attracted Oscar attention with their unique performances.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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CelebritiesMovie IndustryAcademy AwardsAlec GuinnessJack BennyKatharine HepburnGolden Globe Awards
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