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Party Before the

Party Before the


Just days before the Oscars, the acclaimed screenwriter of Milk -- Dustin Lance Black -- gets his own golden moment.

On Sunday night Oscar excitement in gay Hollywood reached a penultimate crescendo -- it'll peak at the actual event next Sunday -- when Milk 's Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black, was feted by Levi Strauss and an army of fans, supporters, and activists.

At West Hollywood's Nobu restaurant, Black was warmly thanked for successfully bringing Harvey Milk's story to a film script after many aborted attempts. His labors yielded last year's eight-time-over Oscar-nominated movie, directed by Gus Van Sant, who was also honored but had to cancel his appearance at the last minute. Attendees including Neil Patrick Harris, Lance Bass, Jane Lynch ( Best in Show, The 40-Year-Old Virgin ), Simon Baker ( L.A. Confidential, The Mentalist ), Cleve Jones, and Milk's campaign manager, Anne Kronenberg, made up for Van Sant's absence.

"I'm getting so many messages on Facebook," Black said, referring to the outpouring of gratitude he's received for writing the screenplay. Black said he hoped the film would do well at next Sunday's Oscars for pragmatic reasons -- every time the movie picks up an award (it already has 12 major honors) its distribution grows, and more people discover one of the first gay men elected to major political office in the nation.

Party sponsor Levi Strauss was also the supplier of all the dungarees worn in the film, and the company's dashing gay president, Robert Hanson, helped introduce Black at Sunday's party, along with Jones, who worked as an intern for Milk and was portrayed in the film by Emile Hirsch. Jones spoke specifically about Black's persistence in getting the story of Milk right. The soft-spoken Black made a short speech in which he thanked everyone for showing their support for the film. He later said that Hanson and Jones stole all his lines and admitted he's wearing Tom Ford to the Oscars.

Anne Kronenberg, who now works as a health official in San Francisco, described the surreal experience of seeing herself portrayed on film (Canadian actress Alison Pill plays the young Kronenberg).

"That scene when I walk into the campaign office and tell all those boys not be scared of me was just how it happened," she said.

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