How to Survive a Plague

The documentary How to Survive a Plague, chronicling American gay activists’ response to the early days of the HIV epidemic, has been nominated for Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards.

The moving film is described as “the story of two coalitions… whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition”.

In the US, especially at the time, HIV/AIDS was seen as a “gay disease” as most of those affected were from the gay community.

The epidemic was initially met with little to no response by the American government and pharmaceutical companies until activists forced action to be taken.

Directed by David France, How to Survive a Plague makes use of never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and ’90s and has already won a slew of awards. 

The film is competing with the documentaries 5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, The Invisible War and Searching for Sugar Man, the latter featuring a strong South African connection.


In related news, acclaimed gay playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln.

Kushner has received some criticism for not including historical indications that the 16th American president was gay or bisexual in the biopic, but argued that there wasn’t any evidence that “Lincoln was having sex with anybody” in the period covered in the film.

He told “I don’t say in my movie whether the Lincoln character was gay or straight. You can ask Daniel (Day-Lewis) what he was playing, but it did not seem to me a thing to make a movie about now.”

Lincoln has been nominated for 12 Oscars, including Best Film.

The animated horror-comedy family film, ParaNorman, was nominated in the Animated Feature Film category. It features a major character, the school jock Mitch Downe, who is revealed to be gay.

ParaNorman is the first LGBT-inclusive animated film to be nominated in this category. The winners of 85th Academy Awards will be revealed on 24 February.

Watch the trailer for How to Survive a Plague below.


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