Biopic of gay politician Harvey Milk nominated for eight Oscars

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Milk, a dramatisation of the life of assassinated gay politician Harvey Milk, has been nominated for multiple Academy Awards.

The Oscar nominees were announced today, among them a posthumous recognition for Heath Ledger, who died last year aged 28.

He has been nominated as Best Supporting Actor in Batman movie The Dark Knight.

Ledger was previously nominated for his role in gay cowboy love story Brokeback Mountain.

Sean Penn is nominated as Best Actor for Milk, alongside Josh Brolin as Best Supporting Actor, and nominations for costume design, film editing, best original music, best picture and best original screenplay.

Gus Van Sant has been nominated as Best Director.

He was nominated for an Oscar for Good Will Hunting and also directed My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy and Only Cowgirls Get The Blues.

Harvey Milk was probably the first out gay male politician in American history.

Known during his lifetime as “The Mayor of Castro Street,” he is a political icon among gay activists for his ability to build the LGBT community into a grassroots political force.

Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

In his 11 months in office he sponsored a gay rights bill and helped to defeat a proposition that would have seen openly gay and lesbian teachers sacked.

He was gunned down at City Hall by Dan White, a disgruntled former Supervisor, on November 27th 1978.

Milk was recently honoured with a bust on permanent display in San Francisco City Hall, a rare accolade for someone who never held the position of Mayor.

The Oscars will be held on February 22nd.

Click here for a full list of nominees.