The curious case of Harvey Milk
Will the slain activist's life story equal Oscar gold?
In 1979, after Dan White was slapped on the wrist with a light, seven-year prison sentence for assassinating Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, San Francisco’s LGBT community rioted. Thirty years later, we might be inspired to do the same if Milk, recipient of eight Academy Award noms, comes up empty-handed on Sunday 22. Will Mickey Rourke wrestle an Oscar from Sean Penn; will Brokeback Mountain’s late snubbed star, Heath Ledger, steal the trophy from Josh Brolin (ironic?); or will Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black win Best Original Screenplay and deliver a tear-inducing speech that puts Prop 8 supporters in their place? We asked our resident film critics, Hank Sartin and Ben Kenigsberg, if we need to start hoisting our protest signs.
Best Costume Design
In this category, the more flamboyant the competitor, the greater the odds of winning. Unfortunately, we’re talking about the costumes, not Harvey. Despite Milk’s attention to period, Australia or Benjamin Button will win.
Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin’s seething rage brought supervisor-turned-assassin Dan White to life. Still, the Academy will hand a posthumous award to Heath Ledger for his turn as murderous prankster the Joker in Dark Knight.
The Academy likes Sean Penn, and his turn as the gay-rights activist is uncanny, but voters love a comeback. This year, that coveted slot belongs to The Wrestler’s Mickey Rourke.
Best Original Screenplay
Milk’s biggest competitor, WALL•E, will take away a statue for Best Animated Feature, so this remains the Academy’s best chance to show Harvey some love.
Gus Van Sant is just too good to win an Academy Award, says one of our snarky critics. He’s right. The statue likely will go to Danny Boyle for this year’s touchy-feely hit Slumdog.
Again, Slumdog offers tough times for its fellow competitors. If an upset is in store, it probably will come from the grandiose epic Benjamin Button.