An emotional evening at the 81st Academy Awards. Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Milk, the critically-acclaimed story of California’s first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk. Black told an audience of billions how Harvey Milk inspired him:
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 that one day I could live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married. […]
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 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 everyone 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.
Milk was nominated in eight categories and received the Oscar for best original screenplay and for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, for Sean Penn for his role as Harvey Milk.
Video of Black's speech here.