Oscar Backstage: Dustin Lance Black & Sean Penn Have a Message For Obama


After Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and star Sean Penn got done thanking the Academy for honoring their work, they made their requisite trips back to the press room to answer questions from eager reporters. Let’s tune in:

Dustin Lance Black: (wearing a WhiteKnot.org ribbon)

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• Obama should “repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA, but I do think that for inspiration for the gay community we need to look not to the Proposition 8s but dream bigger and look back to 1964 and the Civil Rights Act, because no group has ever won full civil rights in this country by going state-by-state or county-by-county.”

• “I had an idea [of what I was going to say during the acceptance speech]. For me the whole thing was always to sort of ‘Pay it forward.’ Harvey gave me his story and it saved my life, and I just thought it’s time to pass it on. The only thing I really knew I wanted to say was to tell those kids out there that they’re gonna be all right.”

• At what point did he think Milk could grab the attention of the Academy? “It was the moment that we first saw Sean, with his haircut, with a suit on, and he came in on to the set. And I was blown away at how much it reminded me of everything I’d heard and seen of Harvey. And I looked out and turned to Cleve, ‘My God, that’s him, isn’t it?’ And Cleve was outside smoking manically going, ‘Oh my god, I’ve seen a ghost.’”

Sean Penn:

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• “To see this culture of ignorance and it breeds this kind of hateful expression that these people had the signs outside essentially telling you that you’re less than human … There’s nothing more important than the themes of this movie … To be part of something like that’s a privilege.”

• “We know [Obama’s] public position in terms of the specific issue of gay marriage has not been officially supportive of that. I would like to believe that’s a political stand right now and not necessarily a future one or felt one. I don’t think that he, that any of us and in particular our president, will long be able to take that position. It’s inevitable … because it’s not a human luxury. These are human needs, and it will be gotten. … Right now I’m more focused, more interested in what we’re going to do to tell him that we will support him in taking those kind of initiatives.”

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  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    Too right!

  • Michelle

    Both Sean and Dustin spoke brilliantly at the Oscars, however for me Dustin’s speech was the winner. His experience of what it is to live with discrimination and prejudice shaped his speech and made him a real figure for young gay and lesbians, who I think will take great strength from what he said.


    Dustin is so eloquent, well spoken and inspiring. We are fortunate to have him as a representative of/for our community.

  • michael

    Justin you rock! I am so proud of him! I cannot listen to him, last night or today without choking up. I loved the way he stated that our community needs to go after equality on a federal level and compared us to the civil rights movement of the 60’s. If we had a leader that could gather us up, build consensus and point us in that direction we could make it. There are those that have walked that journey still amongst us and did it successfully. Of course thats gonna screw with all the HRC politicking and game playing. The Civil rights movement was not a movement of sipping cocktails at fundraisers and making social connections. People fought, and fought hard. Its time for we to do the same.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)


    Er, cause he’s gay…

  • The Gay Numbers

    I love the part of Penn’s statement about our rights not being a matter of luxury, but about human need. This is what many gay groups have failed to convey for a long time in simple enough terms: It’s not a luxury. It’s need.

  • marco

    Dustin and Sean are both just great!

    Is it just me or does Dustin look a bit like Crispin Glover?

  • scott

    thanks for tracking this down, queerty.

    i agree, dustin is well spoken and a good role model.

    @marco, yep, i can see the crispin glover.


    Wow Dustin looks amazing for his age. I think I will age good too cuz both both my parents did :)

  • Greg Ever

    Dustin’s responses were great, but I’m sorry Sean Penn just can’t put a sentence together to save his life.

    Also, is it necessary to spam the comments section with ads such as the one above? I really don’t think that’s appropriate.

  • Sebbe

    Lately it’s increasing. Between yesterday’s advert for big boobs or something on every post and Pop Music Forum new signature graphic. I actually wasn’t offended by PMF trying to recruit new members to hit site. But, the graphic is a little much and the colors are a strain on the eyes.

    What is the policy in regards to spam? Are we supposed to report it? I don’t want to give our editor a nervous breakdown if there is going to be so much.


    Are you guys for real? It strains your eyes? You sound like my freakin’ grandma. I’ve been reading this blog for years, so I think I should be allowed to attach a little signature to my comment. seriously, how petty do you want to be..

Comments are closed.