Not every gay character needs to be defined by his or her sexuality. Can't being gay just be one stitch in the fabric of someone's life? In movies, can't we depict men and women who just so happen to be gay -- perhaps a lawyer or soldier or business executive or scientist or engineer?
Look at the history of the award for Best Picture. It is littered with bad choices that get more and more glaring over time as the titles that lost rise in popularity and prominence over those that won.
It's easy to see why Pi was such a solid choice for the New York Film Festival's opening night, though: It has impeccable artistic credentials, is easy-going and unchallenging. But it's not a film you fall in love with.