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Political Protest: Best Actress Oscar Nominee Fernanda Montenegro ‘Gay Kiss’

Fernanda Montenegro gay kiss Camila AmadoAcademy Award nominee Fernanda Montenegro gay kiss protest in Brazil (photo: 1998 Best Actress Oscar nominee Fernanda Montenegro kissing fellow actress Camila Amado)

Forget Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock and Scarlett Johansson, Madonna and Britney Spears, and Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Fernanda Montenegro, best known internationally for her Academy Award-nominated performance in Walter Salles’ 1998 drama Central Station, kissed stage actress and acting coach Camila Amado in the mouth at Rio de Janeiro’s Theater Producers Association Awards ceremony held in that city last Monday, March 25.

The liplock between Montenegro, 83, and Amado, 77, following another "gay kiss" at the ceremony — between actors Ricardo Blat and Tonico Pereira — wasn’t intended to liven up another dull awards show. Instead, the two veteran actresses (and actors) were joining hundreds of thousands of Brazilians in taking a stance against the selection of Social Christian Party representative Marco Feliciano as head of the Brazilian Congress’ Human Rights Commission.

Anti-gay pastor who claims Africa’s woes are the consequence of Noah’s curse presides over Brazil’s Human Rights Commission

The story reads like the plot of the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup mixed with elements from Elio Petri’s Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, Stanley Kramer’s Inherit the Wind, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Day of Wrath, and Richard Brooks’ Elmer Gantry, with a touch of Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon.

Here’s a condensed version: A radical Christian, Feliciano is currently under investigation by Brazil’s Supreme Court on charges of embezzlement. If that weren’t all, Brazil’s Human Rights Commission president and Church of the Assembly of God pastor must also answer to accusations that he is a rabid anti-gay bigot — hate speech is a crime in Brazil — having referred to AIDS as "the gay cancer" in addition to tweeting the following: "The rottenness of homosexual feelings lead [sic] to hate, crime, rejection."

There’s more. Feliciano has implied that the feminist movement would result in a society "where there’ll be only homosexuals," and tweeted that "Africans are descendants of an ancestor cursed by Noah." (That’s the guy aboard the biblical Ark.) Hence, the continent’s widespread suffering.

Fernanda Montenegro ’gay kiss’: Sensation in Brazil

Although criticized by radical Christians and by right-wing elements in the Brazilian media (e.g., Veja magazine, a sort of neo-con Brazilian Time), the Fernanda Montenegro / Camila Amado kiss became a sensation in Brazil, a multiethnic nation where gay civil unions are recognized by the federal government, and gay marriage is recognized by seven state governments and the Federal District, besides being accessible via judicial order or the conversion of a civil union into marriage in Brazil’s remaining 20 states. (See also: U.S. Gay Marriage Debate Gets Unexpected Old Hollywood Support.)

Fernanda Montenegro movies

In the last five decades, Fernanda Montenegro, the First Lady of the Brazilian Stage, has been featured in nearly 30 features, in addition to providing the Portuguese-language voice of Jeanne Moreau in Carlos Diegues’ Joanna Francesa (1973).

Besides Central Station, Montenegro’s movie credits include Leon Hirszman’s socially conscious drama They Don’t Wear Black Tie (1981); Bruno Barreto’s Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nominee Four Days in September (1997), starring Alan Arkin and Montenegro’s daughter Fernanda Torres; Marcos Bernstein’s Rear Window-inspired The Other Side of the Street (2004); and Andrucha Waddington’s House of Sand (2005), co-starring Torres.

Additionally, Fernanda Montenegro had a supporting role in Mike Newell’s Love in the Time of Cholera (2007), an English-language production featuring an international cast that included Spaniard Javier Bardem, Italian Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Colombian Catalina Sandino Moreno, Mexican-born Laura Harring, and Americans Benjamin Bratt and Liev Schreiber.

Fernanda Montenegro’s most recent film was Eduardo Ades’ 2012 short A Dama do Estácio, in which she plays an old woman obsessed with the idea of dying and finding herself the perfect coffin.

According to the IMDb, upcoming Fernanda Montenegro movies include Jayme Monjardim’s O Tempo e o Vento ("Time and the Wind") based on a classic Brazilian novel by Érico Veríssimo, and, currently in the pre-production stages, A Igreja do Diabo ("The Devil’s Church"), based on short stories by revered 19th-century Brazilian writer Machado de Assis, and to be directed by 104-year-old Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira. In addition to Montenegro, A Igreja do Diabo is to feature 83-year-old Brazilian film and TV actor Lima Duarte.

Of note: Fernanda Montenegro lost the 1998 Best Actress Oscar to Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love. Sort of like Amour’s Emmanuelle Riva losing the Best Actress Oscar to Silver Linings Playbook’s Jennifer Lawrence earlier this year.

Fernanda Montenegro-Camila Amado "gay kiss" photo: Cristina Granato via globo.com.

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