Jay Davidson: Oscar Nominations and Million-Dollar Offers, but He Refused to Become a Hollywood Star

Someone spends their whole life unsuccessfully trying to achieve fame and wealth in Hollywood, while others are forcibly made stars by producers. This is exactly what happened to Jay Davidson, who was widely covered by the media in the early 1990s.

Jay Davidson was born into a British-Ghanaian family. In the early 1990s, he lived in the UK, identified as part of the LGBT community, had long hair, and had an androgynous and almost teenage appearance (although he was already over 20). He worked in the fashion industry. At a film event, he was noticed by producers working on the film “The Crying Game.”

“The Crying Game” is a shocking story about a former IRA operative who fulfills the wishes of his former British captive and gets involved with his girlfriend. In the end, it is revealed that the girlfriend is not a woman at all but a transgender person. This role was offered to Jay Davidson.

He agreed and did not expect a loud success, thinking he was participating in a modest arthouse film. However, the film was a huge success, not only in the UK but also in the US. In 1992, “The Crying Game” received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. The debutant Jay Davidson also received an Oscar nomination.

Although the award ultimately went to Gene Hackman for “Unforgiven,” magazines praised Jay Davidson, declaring the birth of a new star. However, this fame did not bring him joy. Moreover, he openly admitted that he was not a good actor and that he was nominated not for his performance but for his unconventional character. Giving him an Oscar would have been an insult to all professional actors.

But Hollywood was already in love with Jay Davidson and had big plans for him. The actor easily secured advertising contracts with GAP and Vogue.

When producers decided to make Roland Emmerich’s film “Stargate” in 1994, they needed a charismatic actor for the role of Ra—an alien who stands behind the creation of the Egyptian pyramids, turns humans into slaves, and wants to destroy human civilization. They chose Jay Davidson.

At that time, the actor had already decided that he did not want to work on Hollywood projects. Refusing the role, he named what seemed to him an unimaginable and deterrent sum—1 million dollars for agreeing to participate. To the surprise of Jay Davidson, this amount did not deter filmmakers. They agreed to the sum, and he could not refuse such money.

But after playing the ambiguously portrayed god Ra, surrounded by small children and dressed in a semi-feminine attire, Jay Davidson did not return to the world of mainstream cinema. In 1994, he appeared in the British arthouse musical project “Jiggery Pokery,” and his next film work was only a short film in 2009.

Jay Davidson does not share what exactly unsettled and dissatisfied him in the overwhelming success thrust upon him by influential producers. However, he quickly abandoned the modeling business and acting, eventually becoming a stylist.

Along with his decision to stop acting, he also stopped exploiting his androgynous teenage appearance. Now, it is almost impossible to recognize the actor from the two sensational films—he has short hair, covered in tattoos, and possesses a muscular masculine body.

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