It’s been nearly 11 months since I first saw Call Me By Your Name at Sundance ’17. Like everyone else, I was floored by that quietly climactic father-son scene between Michael Stuhlbarg and Timothee Chalamet. Even before it ended I was dead certain that Stuhlbarg would become one of the five contenders for Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and perhaps even the likeliest winner.

But then, of course, The Florida Project premiered in Cannes four months later and then Willem Dafoe began to happen in the early fall, and now there’s not even an element of doubt about his winning, despite strong competition from Sam Rockwell‘s performance in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Stuhlbarg’s performance, jewel-perfect as it is, never lifted off the award-season runway. The unfairness of life amazes me, and it never stops.

From Brett Easton Ellis’s 12.18 Out piece: “In terms of plot nothing much happens on the surface of Call Me By Your Name, but of course something monumental is happening because what we are witnessing is the erasure of innocence — this affair will kill that. On a second viewing the gay vibe** from Elio’s father (Stuhlbarg) is clearer, and in a very moving scene near the end he gives a speech to Elio (Chalamet), devastated over the loss of Oliver and flooded with the pangs of first love’s disappointments.

“The speech is culled from the book where the father tells his son that he knew what was happening between him and Oliver and that he has nothing to be ashamed of and to cherish the pain he’s feeling and that he’ll always be there for him. This scene could have been nearly insufferable in its noble ‘progressive’ virtue-signaling: if only we all had fathers this wonderful and warm-hearted and accommodating, who can console their sons with lines like ‘When you least expect it nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot,’ and ‘Remember, I’m here.’

“And yet Stuhlberg sells it with a hushed technical virtuosity that makes every word land and vibrate, even though at times he overdoes the saintly Jewish-Daddy thing. Stuhlberg makes this the real climax of the movie — it becomes a primal scene — and in the packed theater I saw the movie you could hear the gay men (at least half the audience) barely holding back muffled sobs.

Call Me By Your Name is the movie generations of gay men have been waiting for: the fullest, least condescending expression of gay desire yet brought to mainstream film.

“It ends with a nearly wordless four-minute shot of a tear-stained Chalamet staring into a fireplace, a myriad of emotions subtly morphing over his face while the credits roll and which reminds us: there cannot be love without pain, the two are intertwined and intractable, and that the boy might be destroyed but a man will emerge and survive.”

** HE note: Ellis’ use of the term “gay vibe” suggests that Stuhlbarg’s father-of-Elio character is gay — he’s not.