Did You Know? Tom Hanks’ Oscar Speech Inspired The Film In & Out

There was a time, way back in 1997, where being neat, enjoying music and poetry, having rhythm, and loving Barbara Streisand meant that you were gay. For In & Out’s Howard Brackett (played by Kevin Kline) it was these benign character traits that led his former student, Cameron Drake (played by Matt Dillon), to out him during his fictional acceptance speech at the Oscars. Luckily we’ve progressed as a society and a person’s sexual orientation is no longer determined by their ability to break it down on the dance floor, and this scenario seems totally implausible…

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But believe it or not, In & Out is inspired by a real event! In 1994 Tom Hanks won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia and thanked his former drama teacher, Mr. Rawley Farnsworth, for being one of the “greatest gay Americans.” A huge compliment to announce to over 2 billion viewers but there was one tiny problem – Rawley wasn’t openly gay. Ooops!

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Unlike the follies that take place in the film (no one was left at the alter in real life!), Rawley watched the Oscars in amazement and used the opportunity to formally come out. He then went on to join an organization for gay teachers and worked closely with charities that help HIV-positive children. And one more wonderful thing came out of the accidental outing – it inspired In & Out, which was released three short years later. Watch it now on EPIX and EPIX.com!