GLAAD Congratulates Milk, Vicky Cristina Barcelona on Academy Award Nominations

Richard Ferraro
Director of Communications
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

Damon Romine
Entertainment Media Director
(323) 634-2012
romine@glaad.org

January 22, 2009

January 22, 2009, Los Angeles, CA - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today congratulated the creative teams and casts of Milk and Vicky Cristina Barcelona which received a combined 9 Oscar nominations during today's announcement of nominees for the 81st Annual Academy Awards.

A list of LGBT-inclusive Academy Awards nominees appears below.

“GLAAD is thrilled with the nominations received by films that tell inclusive stories of our community,” said Neil G. Giuliano, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “The success of Milk is an important reminder to Hollywood that audiences are hungry for films that tell authentic and compelling stories about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Milk has connected with gay and straight audiences alike and created national discussion at a time when our community continues to face opposition in our pursuit of equality.”

“What people see in the media shapes how they view LGBT people, and inclusive images like these help people embrace their family members, friends and neighbors with understanding and acceptance,” said Giuliano. According to Harris Interactive’s recent Pulse of Equality survey commissioned by GLAAD, nearly 20 percent of Americans say their feelings toward gay and lesbian people have become more favorable over the past five years. Respondents whose views have become more favorable cited seeing gay or lesbian characters on television (34%) and in movies (29%) as contributing factors.

Milk is among the leading Oscar nominees in major categories with 8 nominations:
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE – Sean Penn
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Josh Brolin
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING – Gus Van Sant
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Dustin Lance Black
ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN – Danny Glicker
ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING – Elliot Graham
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – Danny Elfman

 “What writer Dustin Lance Black and director Gus Van Sant have remarkably done is tell a story that celebrates the man, the era and the greater LGBT movement,” said Giuliano. “Their work on Milk has the power to inform new generations of the history of our community and our struggles for equality.”

“Today’s Best Actor nomination for Sean Penn is so richly deserved.  His groundbreaking performance gave audiences the opportunity to get to know Harvey Milk’s conviction, passion and the indelible influence he had on our movement and our community,” said Giuliano.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona received a nomination for PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Penelope Cruz.  In the film, Cruz plays Maria Elena, a woman who has a relationship with Cristina, played by Scarlett Johansson and Juan Antonio, played by Javier Bardem.

Milk will receive the Stanley Kramer Award, which recognizes work that dramatically illuminates provocative social issues, by the Producer’s Guild of America on January 24, 2009. The filmwas chosen as one of the top ten films of the year by the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review. It was selected as “Best Picture” by the New York Film Critics Circle and was awarded Best Acting Ensemble at the Critics Choice Awards. Director Gus Van Sant was honored for his work on Milk by the Directors Guild of America and writer Dustin Lance Black was honored at the Independent Spirit Awards.

For his role in the film, Sean Penn received the Critics Choice Award, Independent Spirit Award, and New York Film Critics Circle Award, among others. Josh Brolin was honored for his acting work in Milk

Cruz’s performance won the Boston Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, National Board of Review and received nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, Golden Globe Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

GLAAD will announce nominations for the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at 12:01 AM ET on Tuesday, January 27, 2009. The awards honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives. They will be distributed at ceremonies in New York City on March 28, in Los Angeles on April 18 and in San Francisco on May 09. The list of nominees will be available online at http://www.glaad.org/mediaawards/index.php.

The 81st Annual Academy Awards airs Sunday, February 22, 2009, at 8PM ET/5:00 PM PT on ABC.