The 2008 Oscar nominations were announced a few minutes ago, and “Milk” â€” a favorite with critics but largely overlooked by the Golden Globes, considered a bellwether for the big event â€” was nominated for Best picture, director, actor Sean Penn, supporting actor James Brolin and for its original screenplay.
Other best picture nominees include “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Frost/Nxon,” and “The Reader.”
“Milk,” about the slain San Francisco politician, is not the only gay-interest film in contention. Virtually the entire cast of “Doubt,” about a priest suspected of abusing a male student in 1964 Bronx, was nominated for acting (Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis) and for its screenplay. “The Wrestler,” in which a fading athlete tries to reconnect with his lesbian daughter, was nominated for best actor Mickey Rourke, considered aÂ comeback film for 1980s star. Rourke is considered Penn’s chief competition for the award.
“Iron Man” star and former bad boy Robert Downey Jr., who has acknowledged sexual experimentation in the past, was nominated for supporting actor for the comedy “Tropic Thunder.”
As expected, the late Heath Ledger was nominated for best supporting actor for his intense performance in “The Dark Knight.” Ledger was previously nominated for 2005′s “Brokeback Mountain,” in which he played a cowboy carrying on a 20 year affair with another man. Ledger’s widow, Michelle Williams â€” considered a longshot for her indie film “Wendy and Lucy,” was not nominated.
Two-time Golden Globe winner Kate Winslet was also nominated for her role in “The Reader” as leading actress. The film, directed by bisexual Brit Stephen Daldry, was also nominated for best picture and for Daldry’s direction.