Dustin Lance Black, the young openly gay writer of Milk, won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, with Sean Penn taking the trophy home for his amazing transformation into Harvey Milk.
Black's beautiful speech directly addresses gay youth. Here's what he said:
"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."
Later in the evening, Sean Penn was awarded the Best Actor prize. I can't find the full transcript of his speech, but here's the part I most wanted to post:
"For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect, and anticipate theor 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."
What a great night! Of course, as an enthusiastic supporter of Slumdog Millionaire, I was very happy with the awards overall...