"Either there exists a certain set of characteristics, expressions, and vocal modulations that can indicate sexual orientation to an audience or there aren't. And it's pretty clear that there are."
Another entry in the debate about whether gay actors can "play straight."
This is a strange debate, because we don't know the sexual orientation of every actor. Since there are many more roles for heterosexual actors and since the perception of straightness occurs in the mind of the viewer, a gay actor who is good at playing straight has a strong motivation to keep his sexual orientation secret. And actors are actors. I assume when we see them outside of roles, as themselves, they are playing the image of themselves that they want us to see. An actor who chooses to be known as openly gay isn't quite the same as your gay friend or acquaintance in life outside of the world of acting. An actor is a performer who is to some extent always acting. If he's openly gay, he's performing the part of an actor who is openly gay. Doing that, he can shape our ideas about what homosexuality looks like, which will affect how we determine whether an actor playing a part seems gay. Similarly, a gay actor who hides his sexual orientation is doing some sort of performance too, and what he does represents some kind of conception of what straightness is. If we never find out he's gay, he never contributes to our knowledge base about whether gay actors can play straight. And straight actors are also part of the knowledge base. They too perform in roles and as they present themselves as themselves, acting out whatever they think will work well for them and make us want to see them pretending to be characters we find authentic and worth caring about. They've shaped our perception of what straightness looks like. Is it Clint Eastwood and John Wayne? Can we even begin to shuffle through the layers of reality and pretend and discover what really is?
We need to step back and acknowledge the complexity of what we are perceiving before we can contribute anything useful to the debate about whether gay actors can "play straight."
ADDED: Judge this performance: