Awards | Harvey Milk | Lance Black | News | Sean Penn

Milk Picks Up Two Big Oscars as Slumdog Dominates Academy Awards


Slumdog Millionaire took the Best Picture last night at the Academy Awards (along with 7 other trophies), but it was the speeches from Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black, who took home Oscars for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay, respectively, for Milk, that many will remember. Both cited the inequalities faced by gays and lesbians in America today, and were greeted with boisterous rounds of applause.

It was a satisfying upset win for Penn over Mickey Rourke, who was largely expected to walk to the podium after taking award after award all season long for his role in The Wrestler. The three other acting awards went to Kate Winslet for The Reader, Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, and Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Lanceblack Said Black:

"Oh my God. This was, um. This was not an easy film to make. First off, I have to thank Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg and all the real-life people who shared their stories with me. And, um, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco, and our entire cast, my producers, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, everyone at Groundswell and Focus, for taking on the challenge of telling this life-saving story. When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married. I want to thank my mom who has always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you, thank you, and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk"

Penn Said Penn:

"You Commie homo-loving sons of guns! I did not expect this, but I — and I want to be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me. Often. But I — I am touched by the appreciation and I hoped for it enough that I scribbled down — so I have the names in case you were Commie homo-loving suns of guns. And so I, I wanted you to thank my best friend Sato Masuzawa. My circle of longtime support, Mara, Brian, Barry and Bob. The great Cleve Jones. Our wonderful writer, Lance Black. Producers Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks. And particularly, as all us actors know, our director either has the patience, talent and restraint to grant us a voice, or they don’t, and it goes from the beginning of the meeting to through the cutting room, and there is no finer hands to be in than Gus Van Sant. Finally, for those — two last finallys — For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, and, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone. And there are these last two things. I’m very, very proud to live in a country that’s willing to elect an elegant man President. And a country, who for all its toughness, creates courageous artists, and this is in great due respect to all the nominees. But courageous artists who, despite a sensitivity, that sometimes has brought enormous challenge. Mickey Rourke rises again, and he’s my brother. Thank you all very much."

A crowd watching at San Francisco's Castro Theatre "roared with foot-stomping standing ovations" at Penn's and Black's wins.

(transcripts via glaad)

Speech clips, and full list of winners, AFTER THE JUMP...


"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Winner)

Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Melissa Leo, "Frozen River"
Meryl Streep, "Doubt"
Kate Winslet, "The Reader" (Winner)

Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn, "Milk" (Winner)
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"
Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"

Amy Adams, "Doubt"
Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (Winner)
Viola Davis, "Doubt"
Taraji P. Henson, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler"

Josh Brolin, "Milk"
Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight" (Winner)
Michael Shannon, "Revolutionary Road"

Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire" (Winner)
Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"
David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"
Gus Van Sant, "Milk"

Dustin Lance Black, "Milk" (Winner)
Courtney Hunt, "Frozen River"
Mike Leigh, "Happy-Go-Lucky"
Martin McDonagh, "In Bruges"
Andrew Stanton, and Jim Reardon; original story by Stanton and Pete Docter"WALL-E"

Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire" (Winner)
David Hare, "The Reader"
Peter Morgan, "Frost/Nixon"
John Patrick Shanley, "Doubt"
Eric Roth, Robin Swicord, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

"The Baader-Meinhof Complex" (Germany)
"The Class" (France)
"Departures" (Japan) (Winner)
"Revanche" (Austria)
"Waltz with Bashir" (Israel)

"Kung Fu Panda"
"WALL-E" (Winner)

"The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" (Winner)
"The Dark Knight"
"The Duchess"
"Revolutionary Road"

"Changeling" Tom Stern
"Slumdog Millionaire," Anthony Dod Mantle (Winner)
"The Reader," Chris Menges
"The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button," Claudio Miranda
"The Dark Knight," Wally Pfister

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall
"The Dark Knight," Lee Smith
"Frost/Nixon," Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill
"Milk," Elliot Graham
"Slumdog Millionaire," Chris Dickens (Winner)

"Australia," Catherine Martin
"The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button," Jacqueline West
"The Duchess," Michael O'Conner (Winner)
"Milk", Danny Glicker
"Revolutionary Road," Albert Wolsky

"The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)"
"Encounters at the End of the World"
"The Garden"
"Man on Wire" (Winner)
"Trouble the Water"

"Slumdog Millionaire," "Jai Ho" (Winner)

"Slumdog Millionaire," "O Saya"
"WALL-E," "Down To Earth"

"The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button," Alexandre Desplat
"Defiance," James Newton Howard
"Milk," Danny Elfman
"Slumdog Millionaire," A.R. Rahman (Winner)
"WALL-E," Thomas Newman

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,"(Winner)
"The Dark Knight,"
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army,"

"The Dark Knight"(Winner)
"Iron Man"
"Slumdog Millionaire"

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Winner)

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Winner)
"The Dark Knight"
"Iron Man"

"Auf der Strecke (On the Line)"
"Manon on the Asphalt"
"New Boy"
"The Pig"
"Spielzeugland (Toyland)" (Winner)

"La Maison en Petits Cubes" (Winner)
"Lavatory - Lovestory"
"This Way Up"

"The Conscience of Nhem En"
"The Final Inch"
"Smile Pinki" (Winner)
"The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306"

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  1. CONGRATULATIONS Dustin Lance Black! Great way to start the awards.

    Posted by: Critifur | Feb 23, 2009 7:14:15 AM

  2. I cried during Lance's speech, it was so beautiful, I adore him!
    Congrats to him and Sean, they totally deserve their awards.

    Posted by: Derek | Feb 23, 2009 7:31:10 AM

  3. I am over the moon about these two wins!

    Posted by: Alex | Feb 23, 2009 7:37:47 AM

  4. Black's acceptance speech was the best part of the night. Again, Tina Fey is a highlight of the evening.

    I'm impressed Oscar producers could fit Beyonce's huge skyscraper climbing, plane swatting id into the Kodak.

    Posted by: Mark | Feb 23, 2009 8:10:11 AM

  5. I loved both speeches, and cried during both. I actually jumped off the sofa, much like I would like I would if my team scored in a close football or basketball game. Congrats to Black and Penn, and I hope Harvey's smiling down on us all!

    Posted by: troschne | Feb 23, 2009 8:20:42 AM

  6. Lance's backstage press conference

    Posted by: Derek | Feb 23, 2009 8:34:15 AM

  7. I also cried during Black's speech. It totally made up for 'Brokeback' losing Best Picture 3 years ago. I also loved Penn's speech & it was classy for him to acknowledged Rourke. Yes, Rourke has said some stupid things but he still gave a great performance.

    Posted by: scar2 | Feb 23, 2009 8:34:20 AM

  8. Congratulations to DLB and SP. Very moving acceptance speeches, and true standouts from a night that was filled with highlights and several lowlights. On a sidenote, it always irks me when winners forget to thank or even acknowledge their Significant Others; Penn forgot, yet again, to thank his wife Robyn Wright-Penn.

    I enjoyed the many new new additions and format changes to the Oscars, but I could have done without the gushing sonnets from the past winners to the nominees. I much prefer highlighting their nominations with gripping clips of their film performances.

    Was beyond thrilled to see Slumdog nearly sweep all their categories (all but 1); it was the little film that could. Can you imagine that it was doomed to go straight to DVD. This was probably the first film since Titanic that people of all persuasions agreed could, and should deserve all the credits and awards it got.

    My eyes became moist seeing the little kids look so happy on the Red Carpet and on stage at the end. I hope their lives change for the better from here on out, and they are able to bring some of their well-earned goodwill and fortunes back to their families and neighbors. I heard that Fox Searchlight has put them up in a five-star hotel and arranged to take them to the Universal theme park today. I cannot imagine how it will be for them to experience all this and have to return to their lives in poverty. I hope these kids gain strength to return home and begin the change in their and their families life following this obvious psychological and emotional rollercoaster.

    Congratulations to Kate (loved her speech, esp. the call-out to her Dad), Penelope, Heath and all the other winners.

    Posted by: George14 | Feb 23, 2009 8:42:57 AM

  9. The Walt Disney World-esque musical # was the worse of the evening. Putting disparate talents like Hugh, Beyonce, Zac, Vanessa and those 2 kids from Mamma Mia together on one stage, throw in some drummers and some Rockette style dancing, oh dear....where to begin? The big reveal in the end that Baz directed it, made all sense to me, LOL!!!!

    Congrats to all the winners but especially to Dustin and Sean. Well deserved victories indeed!!

    Posted by: gabe | Feb 23, 2009 9:34:52 AM

  10. What an amazing show !!!!!

    I yelled out loud at both wins!
    I LOVED the revised format, just a great night from start to finish.

    Posted by: Marc | Feb 23, 2009 9:36:00 AM

  11. So glad he won, but apparently there this win ruffled a few feathers. There's plenty of hateful comments posted on the YouTube page of this clip showing we have a long way to go...

    Posted by: Josh | Feb 23, 2009 9:43:49 AM

  12. I was EXTREMELY impressed and moved by Black's eloquence tonight in his acceptance speech, despite his many factual errors in the script and introduction to the Harvey photobook.

    His remarks were close to perfect, most importantly in his delivering a message of hope and love to gay kids which many gay heroes have been sending for so long to a world which keeps trying to drown them out.
    Such "witnessing" will literally save the lives of kids [and some adults, too] still hungering for just a few words of affirmation.

    BRAVO to Mr. Black!!!!

    And Penn's win will draw a few more nongays into the theatre. Hooray for that, too.
    And BRAVO for his calling out the bigots who wrap themselves in the flag of free HATE speech and behind their selectively interpreted Bibles.

    See more of both their similar thoughts at the Oscar site by clicking on the Press Room Cam tab on the page at

    I was just about to start painting my protest sign about the exclusion of gay images from the romance montage when "Harvey" and "Scott" suddenly appeared, and several seconds later were shown in full-on lip lock. Bravo for that, too, albeit I think we deserved more screen time than the ROBOT lovers got.

    Progress nonetheless.

    And I firmly believe that the many teary eyes we saw when Heath Ledger's family accepted his posthumous award were because most of those people were recalling his shattering performance as Ennis del Mar in Brokeback which, regardless of his own sexuality, finally made gay love real for millions of movie goers around the world.

    "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" indeed.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Feb 23, 2009 9:57:30 AM

  13. BOTH wins were much deserved. And both acceptance speeches were powerful and moving; especially Black's.

    Congrats guys!

    Posted by: Zeke | Feb 23, 2009 10:15:35 AM

  14. The wins were wonderful, but what actually made me spontaneously, unexpectedly cry was when, at the end of the "romance" montage, we saw a scene of Sean Penn and James Franco kissing from Milk. When that montage started, I thought to myself "no way they'll show anything from Milk" while at the same time hoping that they would. They teased me with the first, tame scene from Milk which was just the two of them sitting at a table. Then the kiss! It was wonderful.

    Posted by: Dan E | Feb 23, 2009 10:24:23 AM

  15. still speechless over black and penn

    The entire new format was a good kick in the butt the Oscars needed to gain new life.

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Feb 23, 2009 10:44:14 AM

  16. PS Rourker's performance as vs Penn

    Penn had to stretch himself to play against type where as Routkr , though stellar, was basically playing his own life story = not as much of a stretch/ show of acting ability

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Feb 23, 2009 10:45:34 AM

  17. "anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes "

    Wow. That was truly the moment of the evening for me...

    Posted by: bob | Feb 23, 2009 10:45:49 AM

  18. My nephew: "Eww, romance is so like 2006!"

    Posted by: anon | Feb 23, 2009 10:54:18 AM

  19. So why was there a clip of BRAVEHEART, one of the most offensively homophobic movies ever made, inserted in the Best Picture clip for MILK?

    Posted by: Roscoe | Feb 23, 2009 11:06:20 AM

  20. @ Roscoe

    Show us this link!?

    Posted by: Rowan | Feb 23, 2009 11:32:36 AM

  21. I disagree that Slumdog should have won best picture, I think both The Wrestler and Doubt were better. But of course, I don't even think either of those were nominated for Best Picture. Go figure.

    Slumdogs a good flick though, if a little overrated.

    Posted by: Wes | Feb 23, 2009 11:33:31 AM

  22. Tears a-plenty last night. What a feeling to know there are others, even NON-gays, who show their concern about our plight. We need that more than we know.

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Feb 23, 2009 1:07:50 PM

  23. To the question of why "Braveheart" was intercut, along with other best picture winners from the past: I think it was an in-your-face to Mel Gibson and his ilk, as if to say Milk was just as brave a rebel and freedom-fighter!

    Posted by: Tom | Feb 23, 2009 2:05:33 PM

  24. Whatta night !

    Penn deserved the Oscar for his MILK portrayal and Dustin Lance Black - o, I could swallow him whole ... ;0

    Posted by: chapeau | Feb 23, 2009 2:20:59 PM

  25. What the F**K happened to Eartha Kitt in the tributes?! Unforgivable!

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Feb 23, 2009 2:32:39 PM

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