Thursday, January 22, 2009

Big Day for Portland Filmmaker

The nominations for this year's Academy Awards were announced this morning, and local filmmaker Gus Van Sant was a big winner, with his movie "Milk" earning eight nominations. I saw this movie recently and I would say it is deserving of all this recognition and more. Simply wonderful. (But bring tissues.) The eight nominations are for Best Picture, Best Actor (Sean Penn), Best Supporting Actor (Josh Brolin), Best Director (Van Sant), Best Original Screen Play (Dustin Lance Black), Best Film Editing (Elliot Grahm), Best Costume Design (Danny Glicker), and Best Original Score (Danny Elfman). The Oscars will be presented on Sunday, February 22. Congratulations and good luck to Gus!

If the movie has piqued your interest about Harvey Milk and you'd like to learn more, check out the book The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, by Randy Shilts. We've got the book in paperback at the store.

I was surprised to see that "Revolutionary Road," based on a novel by one of my favorite writers, Richard Yates, was essentially shut out of the Oscars. I haven't seen this movie yet, but my friends who have say it is stunning. Interestingly," The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" earned the most awards of any movie this year -- thirteen. The movie is adapted from a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who of course is also the author of The Great Gatsby. When Revolutionary Road was published in 1962 -- a finalist for that year's National Book Award -- author Kurt Vonnegut called it "The Great Gatsby of my of the best books by a member of my generation." If you haven't read anything by Yates (who died in 1992), I highly encourage you to do so -- but don't be counting on anything particularly upbeat; that just wasn't his thing.

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