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Gay Murder & Political Life That Rocked California Tops WGA Awards

Gay murder + political life that rocked California: Sean Penn as Harvey MilkGay murder – and political life – that rocked California: Milk. The WGA Awards’ Best Original Screenplay pick was Milk, Dustin Lance Black’s narrative about openly gay San Francisco Board of Supervisors Member Harvey Milk, murdered in 1978 – along with Mayor George Moscone – by fellow Board member Daniel White, a Vietnam War veteran and former cop and firefighter whose political career had been supported by both uniformed unions. After White was wrist-slapped with a manslaughter sentence, widespread gay-led riots erupted; these were used as an excuse for the city’s police force to raid the gay bar Elephant Walk and indiscriminately beat up its patrons.

Gay murder that rocked California & awards season Mumbai-set hit top WGA Awards

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Based on the life and murder of openly gay San Francisco Board of Supervisors Member Harvey Milk (1930–1978), the Gus Van Sant-directed, Dustin Lance Black-written drama Milk was the 2009 Writers Guild of America Awards’ Best Original Screenplay winner. Sean Penn stars as Harvey Milk, while the supporting cast includes Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Joseph Cross, Victor Garber, and James Franco.

In the Best Adapted Screenplay category, the winner was awards season juggernaut Slumdog Millionaire, which Simon Beaufoy adapted from Vikas Swarup’s novel Q & A. Danny Boyle directed the enthusiastically embraced Mumbai-set drama starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Irrfan Khan, and Anil Kapoor.

At the 2009 Academy Awards, both Milk and Slumdog Millionaire are the favorites in their respective Best Writing categories.

‘Waltz with Bashir’ tops WGA Awards’ Documentary category + Richard Attenborough Awards

The other top pick in the WGA Awards’ motion picture categories was screenwriter-director Ari Folman’s animated Israeli feature Waltz with Bashir / Vals Im Bashir, selected as the Best Documentary Screenplay. Earlier this year, Folman’s autobiographical portrayal of his own experiences as a combatant during the 1982 Israel-Lebanon War was the surprise Best Film winner at the National Society of Film Critics Awards.

Below are the 2009 WGA Awards’ winners and nominees in the motion picture categories, in addition to a partial list of the TV winners/nominees.

Also below are this year’s winners of the regional British film critics’ Richard Attenborough Film Awards. Slumdog Millionaire was the top choice, with three wins: Best Film and Best Director, in addition to the Rising Star Award for Dev Patel (who also won the People’s Choice Award for British Breakthrough Star).

Check out: “How to Make-Up? Oscars’ Artists & Hairstylists Show How + Spanish & London Film Critics’ Winners,” “SAG Awards: Jeremy Piven & Anthony Hopkins + Meryl Streep & Penélope Cruz” & “Oscar Luncheon: Amy Adams & Marisa Tomei + Kate Winslet Lead or Supporting + Did Bette Davis Name the Oscars?.”

Writers Guild Awards (partial list)

Motion Pictures

Best Original Screenplay
Burn After Reading, Joel and Ethan Coen.
* Milk, Dustin Lance Black.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen.
The Visitor, Tom McCarthy.
The Wrestler, Robert Siegel.

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Roth; story by Eric Roth & Robin Swicord; based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The Dark Knight, Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan; story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer; based on DC Comics characters; Batman created by Bob Kane.
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley; from his play.
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan; from his play.
* Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy; from Vikas Swarup’s novel Q & A.

Best Documentary Screenplay
Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, Stefan Forbes & Noland Walker.
Chicago 10, Brett Morgen.
Fuel, Johnny O’Hara.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Alex Gibney; from the words of Hunter S. Thompson.
* Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman.


Long Form Original (Over one hour; one or two parts, one or two airing times)
An American Crime, Tommy O’Haver & Irene Turner.
Fringe “Pilot,” J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci.
* Recount, Danny Strong.

Long Form Adaptation (Over one hour; one or two parts, one or two airing times)
Generation Kill, “Episode 6” & “Episode 7,” Ed Burns, story by David Simon & Ed Burns; from Evan Wright’s book.
* John Adams, “Episode 1, Join or Die” & “Episode 2, Independence,” Kirk Ellis; from David McCullough’s book.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, John Pielmeier; from Kim Edwards’ book.

Animation Writers Caucus Animation Award: Linda Woolverton.

Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television: William Blinn.

Richard Attenborough Award winners

U.K. Regional Critics Awards

Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader.

Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler.

Best Screenwriter: Martin McDonagh, In Bruges.

Rising Star Award: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire.

People’s Choice Awards

Best Film: The Dark Knight.

Best British Film: Mamma Mia!.

British Breakthrough Star: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Film Score: The Dark Knight, James Newton Howard & Hans Zimmer.

New Boy: How difficult will life be for African newcomer?New Boy. In Steph Green’s Oscar-nominated live action short New Boy, a young boy from an unnamed African country is added to a class of Irish students. How difficult will his life be? Prior to its Oscar nomination, New Boy won awards at the Berlin, Belfast, Cork, Melbourne, Seattle, Tirana, and Tribeca film festivals. Tamara Anghie produced.

Oscars’ animated & live-action shorts screening

More awards season news: the 2009 Academy Award-nominated films in the Animated and Live Action Short Film categories will be screened as part of the program “Shorts!,” presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The program will feature onstage discussions with the nominated filmmakers (subject to availability).

The 2009 Animated Short Film and Live Action Short Film Oscar nominees are:

Animated Short Film
La Maison en Petits Cubes, dir.: Kunio Kato.
Lavatory-Lovestory, dir.: Konstantin Bronzit.
Oktapodi, dir.: Emud Mokhberi & Thierry Marchand.
Presto, dir.: Doug Sweetland.
This Way Up, Alan Smith & Adam Foulkes.

Live Action Short Film
Auf der Strecke (On the Line), dir.: Reto Caffi.
Manon on the Asphalt, dir.: Elizabeth Marre & Olivier Pont.
New Boy, dir.: Steph Green; prod.: Tamara Anghie.
The Pig, dir.: Dorthe Warnø Høgh; prod.: Tivi Magnusson.
Spielzeugland (Toyland), dir./prod.: Jochen Alexander Freydank.

Tickets for “Shorts!” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call the Academy at (310) 247-3600 or visit

The 2009 Oscar ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles.

Oscar poster: From Hugh Jackman + winners' point of viewOscar poster. According to the Academy’s press release, the 2009 Oscar poster is supposed to represent the point of view of Academy Awards ceremony host Hugh Jackman and that of Oscar winners, presenters, and performers at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Oscar poster

Speaking of the Oscars, the Academy has announced that the official 2009 Oscar poster is now available for purchase.

The poster features the Oscar statuette spotlighted center stage among the bright lights of the Kodak Theatre, a representation of the point of view that Oscar ceremony host Hugh Jackman, and Academy Award winners, presenters, and performers will experience from the stage of the Kodak come next Feb. 22.

The 27×40-inch color Oscar poster, printed on premium quality, Forest Stewardship Certified paper, will be available only on the Academy’s website at or by calling 1-800-554-1814.

Who are the Oscar-nominated ‘The Reader’ producers?

Lastly, the Academy has announced that producer credits for Best Picture nominee The Reader have been determined by the Producers Branch Executive Committee: The official Oscar 2009 nominees are Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti, and Redmond Morris.

As per the Academy’s press release:

“Because four producers were listed on the credits form submitted for Oscar consideration and Academy rules allow for only three producers – except in ‘a rare and extraordinary circumstance’ – to be nominated and potentially receive Oscar statuettes, a meeting of the executive committee was necessary.

In the end, the committee determined that the circumstances of The Reader – in which the two original producers (Minghella and Pollack) both died partway through the process – met its definition of ‘rare and extraordinary’ and that all four submitted individuals should be named as nominees.”

Winner of the 1996 Best Director Academy Award for The English Patient, Anthony Minghella died at age 54 in March 2008. Winner of two Academy Awards – as the director and producer of 1985 Best Picture winner Out of Africa – veteran Sydney Pollack (They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, The Way We Were) died at age 73 in May 2008.

Holocaust-themed drama is multiple Oscar nominee

The Reader, which depicts the emotional travails of an illiterate former World War II concentration camp guard (Kate Winslet), is in competition for five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actress (Winslet), Best Director (Stephen Daldry, his third nomination for his third feature film), Best Adapted Screenplay (David Hare; from Bernhard Schlink’s book), and Best Cinematography (Chris Menges and Roger Deakins).

Additionally, The Reader is up for five BAFTA Awards, and has earned Kate Winslet Best Supporting Actress honors from both the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 2009 Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Sean Penn Milk poster image: Focus Features.

New Boy image: Magnolia Pictures.

Oscar poster: © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“Gay Murder & Political Life That Rocked California Tops WGA Awards + Academy Names Holocaust Drama Producers” last updated in October 2018.

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danny richards -

I need, please, more info on the female vocalist for the Bob Dylan song played underneath the credits at the end of Manon on the asphalt.

Are the song lyrics available on this site?

Sandy -

It is sold out, but you can go and get into the stand-by line. Go early! It’s a popular event.

Does anyone know if any other theater will be showing these films?


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