Ivory, who became the oldest winner of a competitive Oscar at age 89, started off his acceptance speech thanking the novel’s author, André Aciman.
“Whether straight or gay or somewhere in between, we’ve all gone through first love, I hope, mostly intact,” Ivory said.
Ivory also thanked director Luca Guadagnino, actors Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg, along with Sony Pictures Classics for “getting behind this film in such a princely way.”
Ivory’s screenplay beat out Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly’s Game,” Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber’s “The Disaster Artist,” Dee Rees and Virgil Williams’ “Mudbound,” and Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green’s “Logan.”
The script is based on Aciman’s 2007 novel of a romantic relationship between a 17-year-old American boy and a visiting 24-year-old American scholar in 1983 Italy. Ivory’s screenplay has been widely praised for its empathy in portraying the nuances of first love. The film had been in development for more than a decade.
Ivory is a first-time Oscar nominee in the writing category. He received a trio of Oscar nominations for directing “The Remains of the Day,” “Howards End,” and “A Room With a View.”
“Call Me by Your Name” has dominated the awards season, winning at the Writers Guild of America Awards, USC Scripter Awards, Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and the BAFTAs.
Asked backstage about winning at the age of 89, Ivory responded by saying, “Having won the Oscar seems like a hiccup after 90 years. It feels great.”
Ivory said he had accepted a screenplay Oscar before on behalf of longtime collaborator Ruth Jhabvala, but that the experience was not equivalent. “I walked around with it, but it was not mine,” he noted.
Ivory said he was attracted to Aciman’s story due to its personal relevance.
“The whole idea of first love — it’s a universal situation, whether it made us unhappy or joyous,” he said. “It was a rejuvenating experience somehow.”