Hollywood Awards Gala Honors Milk Writer and Actors

October 27, 2008
The 12th Annual Hollywood Film Festival is hosting its awards gala tonight. Three of the honorees are actors Josh Brolin and James Franco and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, all associated with the upcoming Gus Van Sant Harvey Milk biopic Milk.

Josh Brolin

Josh Brolin was put on the map as a major star last year for his role in the Academy Award-winning film No Country for Old Men. He is being honored with the Lead Actor award for two of his performances: as George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's W, currently running, and as Dan White, Harvey Milk's assassin, in the upcoming Gus Van Sant film Milk, opening in select theaters November 26.

James Franco as Scott Smith

James Franco, known for his roles in Spiderman and most recently, Pineapple Express, is being honored with the Breakthrough Actor award, largely due to his work in Milk. In the film, he plays Scott Smith, the lover of Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn). "I was not quite happy with some movies I'd been doing," Franco told Variety.  "So I am at a point now where I know what it's like to do a movie that's a satisfying shooting process and you work with people I really love and respect -- and I know what it's like not to."

Dustin Lance Black

Dustin Lance Black is also being given a Breakthrough Award, for his screenplay of the biopic. According to Variety,
Black focused on the 1978 struggle over Proposition 6, which forbade housing and employment discrimination against gays, because he heard the same anti-gay arguments still being made today. But he had no way to know that another anti-gay rights initiative, Prop. 8, would be on the ballot this years as the film neared release. "It's the same conversation," he says with dismay. "They use the children. It's the same talking points and the same archetypal people to argue the talking points."
Other honorees of the Hollywood Awards include Dustin Hoffman (Lifetime Achievement), Kristin Scott Thomas (Lead Actress), Marisa Tomei (Supporting Actress) and Danny Elfman (Composer). For a complete list of honorees, please click here.