“Milk” earns 8 Oscar nods as new Equality Magazine with Harvey Milk cover hits mailboxes
January 22, 2009
Today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Milk, the biopic on America's first openly gay elected official Harvey Milk, has been nominated for eight Academy Awards. The film, which starred Sean Penn as Harvey Milk and James Franco as Milk's lover Scott Smith, was nominated in the following categories:
- Best Picture
- Best Actor (Sean Penn)
- Best Supporting Actor (Josh Brolin)
- Best Director (Gus Van Sant)
- Best Original Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black)
- Best Costume Design (Danny Glicker)
- Best Film Editing (Eliot Graham)
- Best Original Score
We are pretty excited for everyone involved in making Milk that the Motion Picture Academy has chosen to recognize this groundbreaking film by nominating it for its highest honor. In the early stages of the film, Milk director Gus Van Sant talked to Terry Bean, one of the founders of the Human Rights Campaign, about Bean’s perspective on Harvey Milk and that era of early LGBT political activism. Terry Bean even joined Gus Van Sant and Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and at the San Francisco premier of Milk (pictured, right). Now, in the latest Equality Magazine, HRC's membership quarterly and the largest LGBT magazine in the country, Bean interviews Van Sant about making the movie. Here's an excerpt:
Terry Bean: In "Milk," you go to amazing lengths to recreate Castro in the '70s, even to the detail of actually renting Harvey's actual camera shop, recreating it. Probably one-tenth of 1 percent of the people would know how perfectly accurate it was. Was that important to you?
Gus Van Sant: Before we started the film, we had other ideas, we looked at other streets. But no street looked quite like Castro. We didn't necessarily want to use the Castro because we assumed that it was going to cause traffic problems and we felt the community might get angry. The [nearby] Haight area wasn't going to look right; there wasn't any good place, really. But the reason we were in San Francisco was that Sean Penn said he wouldn't shoot anywhere else....
Bean: Harvey was always bigger than life.
Van Sant: When he came to San Francisco, Harvey was like the new guy on the block... and nobody knew who he was. He just came out of nowhere and said "I'm running for office" and nobody had yet really tried, I guess.... He obviously loved his community. His shop was on the street, he walked out his door and was part of the street.... He got to know people to the point where it seems like he was the guy who was always in the front of the line. If the cops came in and there was a problem or somebody was getting kicked out of a bar, Harvey seemed to be available; he's the guy talking to the cops, you know. He was the representative of the community and, ultimately, would become known as the "mayor" of Castro Street because he was the guy who [recognized] people's imaginations and their anger and just had a great sense of understanding what people were feeling. Which is huge.
Bean: Has the film changed you in any way? Have you become more of an activist?
Van Sant: Yes, I have. Obama's winning was a huge surprise. All of a sudden, the government's not so corrupt that this guy can win. ...Everything was so hopeful. Prop. 8 was a disappointment ...but the reaction to Prop. 8 started when we were in L.A. finishing the movie, and then everyone started marching. In San Francisco, in L.A....
The 81st Academy Awards (the "Oscars") will be broadcast live on February 22 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT on ABC.
The Winter 2009 issue of Equality Magazine should be hitting HRC members' mailboxes very soon. The magazine is free with HRC membership. Click here to become an HRC member.
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