Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for the “Milk” screenplay, has been selected to receive the Writers Guild of America West’s 2018 Valentine Davies Award in recognition for his civil and human rights efforts.
Black will be honored at the Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Feb. 11 at the Beverly Hilton.
“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,” said WGA West president David A. Goodman. “The Board of Directors of the WGAW considers it our honor to give him this award.”
Black earned an Academy Award, a Writers Guild Award, the WGAW’s Paul Selvin Award, and the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for the “Milk” script. He is also a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), 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 Proposition 8.
In 2012, Black wrote “8,” a play based on the Federal Proposition 8 trial. The L.A. production’s cast included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Kevin Bacon, and John C. Reilly. The play was broadcast live and has been staged in eight countries, as well as all 50 U.S. states.
Black also served three years on the board of the Trevor Project, a national LGBTQ youth crisis hotline, and is one of the co-founders of the Uprising of Love Coalition, which seeks to raise awareness of violence and discrimination committed against LGBTQ+ people in the international community.
He was a writer and co-producer on HBO’s series “Big Love,” starring the late Bill Paxton, and wrote the screenplay for “Pedro,” depicting the life and legacy of openly gay, HIV-positive Real World cast member Pedro Zamora. The film earned Black his second WGA nomination after it premiered on MTV and VH1 in 2009.
He also wrote “J. Edgar” and made his feature directorial debut with “Virginia” in 2012. In 2013, Black began work creating the miniseries “When We Rise,” which premiered on ABC last February. He’s developing the telefilm “Bayard” for HBO, a biopic chronicling the life of civil rights activist and gay trailblazer Bayard Rustin; a limited series, “Lindbergh,” for Paramount Television, and adapting Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction book, “Under the Banner of Heaven,” as a limited series for FX, with Ron Howard attached to direct.
The Valentine Davies Award honors Guild members whose humanitarian efforts and service have brought dignity and honor to writers everywhere. 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.