FILM : RUSHES

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The Independent Culture
Nigel Hawthorne's decision to bring his boyfriend along to the Oscars could mean the end of a great Hollywood tradition.

I refer to the practice of supplying gay stars with Oscar-night dates of the opposite sex. Pouting partners purely for public consumption, these "walkers" might be a chum of the nominee - a few years ago a female contender turned up with her drugs buddy. However, it's not unusual for the "lovers" to be introduced minutes before the star arrives at the ceremony. The "walker" may be an out-of-work thespian or a friend of a friend but, whatever, their job is to gaze adoringly at the star when the announcer says: "And the nominees are...", so when the camera cuts to the famous face, the famous face appears heterosexual. Note: the real lover is usually stashed a few seats away, so keep your eyes peeled.

Surely it's time for these unsung performers to have a category of their own?

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