Screenwriter and LGBTQ rights activist Dustin Lance Black (Milk, When We Rise) will receive the Writers Guild of America West’s 2018 Valentine Davies Award in recognition for his civil and human rights efforts, which have positively impacted the LGBTQ community. He will be honored at the 2018 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Sunday, February 11, at The Beverly Hilton.
Black was cited for his Oscar- and WGA Award-winning original screenplay for Milk, the inspiring biopic of late gay rights activist Harvey Milk. The screenplay also earned him PEN Center USA’s Literary Award, as well as BAFTA and Humanitas Prize nominations. Black is also a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which successfully led the federal cases for marriage equality in California and Virginia with lawyers David Boise and Ted Olson, putting an end to California’s discriminatory Proposition 8.
Black was honored by the American Film Institute for his Clint Eastwood-directed screenplay, J. Edgar, a biopic of notorious, closeted FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. And he created the ambitious miniseries When We Rise, inspired in part by the unpublished manuscript by gay rights activist and Milk colleague Cleve Jones, which premiered on ABC last February.
Black is currently developing the telefilm Bayard for HBO, a biopic chronicling the life of civil rights activist and gay trailblazer Bayard Rustin, who organized 1963’s historic March on Washington. He is also developing a limited series, Lindbergh, for Paramount Television, which will follow the tumultuous life of famed pilot Charles Lindbergh. He is adapting Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction book, Under the Banner of Heaven, as a limited series for FX, with Ron Howard attached to direct. Black is also set to direct The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.
“Dustin Lance Black is the embodiment of the Valentine Davies Award. A tireless advocate for the cause of LGBTQ+ rights, his accomplishments in that arena have been truly profound. The Board of Directors of the WGAW considers it our honor to give him this award,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman.
Past Valentine Davies recipients include Norman Lear, Neal Baer, Larry Gelbart, Tom Schulman, Carl Reiner, Susannah Grant, Phil Rosenthal, Sam Simon, Ben Affleck, John August, and most recently Richard Curtis.