While such best picture nominees as Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi dominate the major categories of Academy Award nominations announced this morning (10 January), LGBT movie fans had particular reason to cheer with the AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague getting a nod in the documentary category.
The movie, directed by David France, tells the story of AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and gives viewers a front-row seat to the epic day-to-day battles that ultimately resulted in AIDS no longer being a death sentence.
ACT UP members elevated themselves at the height of the AIDS crisis in the US in the 1980s with their own self-education which enabled them to demand a seat at the table with scientists, researchers and regulators.
France has called the film a ‘quintessentially American story’ which tells ‘a story of how a few disenfranchised individuals with no formal training, no political power, and initially at least no natural allies chose to do something enormous.’
Plague will compete with the documentaries 5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, The Invisible War and Searching for Sugar Man.
Also of LGBT interest, gay writer Tony Kushner, already the winner of a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize, could add an Oscar to his many accolades after being nominated in the adapted screenplay category for Lincoln.
Kushner competition is Chris Terrio (Argo), Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), David Magee (Life of Pi), and David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook).
Lincoln led with the most nominations overall (12) while Silver Linings Playbook was nominated in all the major categories for eight nods overall. Among the film’s three producers, nominated in the best picture category, is the openly gay Bruce Cohen who is also a high-profile LGBT activist. Cohen is a previous Oscar winner in the category for American Beauty.
The nominations announcement had unprecedented levity as they were delivered by this year’s Oscar host Seth Macfarlane and actress Emma Stone.
Macfarlane found himself a nominee in the original song category for Everybody Needs a Best Friend from the film Ted. Among his competition? Adele for the theme from Skyfall.
Here are the nominees in some of the major categories:
Best Picture: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty.
Performance by an actor in a leading role: Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, Denzel Washington in Flight.
Performance by an actress in a leading role: Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty, Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook, Emmanuelle Riva in Amour, Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild, Naomi Watts in The Impossible.
Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Alan Arkin in Argo, Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook, Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master, Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln, Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained.
Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Amy Adams in The Master,Sally Field in Lincoln, Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables, Helen Hunt in The Sessions, Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook.
Go to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences website to see a full list of nominees.