I see the Oscars as a long, boring, idiotic joke. The awards are about politics and prejudices - largely liberal ones - and have next to nothing to do with the quality of film-making. I'm braced for another less-than-stellar gay movie to win, and I can only recommend Hilton Als' super-smart piece in the NYRB on the mixed bag of the film:
Van Sant's aesthetic is constricted by the fixed nature of biography. After Milk has brought us up to 1973, the year Milk decides to run for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, one feels that Van Sant loses interest in the story. There's no room for inventionnot with his actors, or even his cinematographer. He must stick to the facts, or to those facts that make Milk Milkthat is, a subject worthy of a biopic. Early on in the film, when Van Sant inserts ghostly documentary images of people in and around the Castro in the 1970s into the montage, one has the sense that the director is making a subtle point about the film's manufactured past in relation to the "real" past of the Castro.
But there is a brilliant, moving and deep treatment of Milk's life, and it's the acclaimed documentary, "The Times Of Harvey Milk." Thanks to Snagfilms, here it is in full, if you feel like spending an hour of so of your Sunday absorbing the full complexity of Milk's life and times: