More than 30 years after his first Oscar nomination, James Ivory has finally been honored with his first win: Best Adapted Screenplay, for Call Me by Your Name.
Accepting the award, Ivory called the film, about first love, “a story familiar to most of us, whether we’re straight or gay or somewhere in between.”
The win marks a milestone for Ivory, a pioneer of queer cinema with films like Maurice (1987). He’s a three-time Oscar nominee for best director, helming such ’90s favorites as Howards End and The Remains of the Day, but has been less prolific in recent years, since the death of his partner Ismail Merchant. Call Me by Your Name, adapted from André Aciman’s novel of the same name, is his first screenwriting credit in 15 years. (Luca Guadagnino directed.)
Ivory also set an Oscars record as the oldest winner in Academy history — a distinction he addressed backstage at the Oscars. “I mean, 90 years for anything that you would do is extraordinary, but to be here having won the Oscar at that age just seems… that’s like a hiccup in nature, possibly, something like that,” he said. “But it feels great, and it certainly feels good to be holding onto an Oscar. It’s my Oscar. For the first time.”
Ivory was widely expected to take home the trophy, after winning key precursor prizes from the WGA and BAFTA. In addition, Call Me by Your Name was the only Best Picture-nominated film represented in this year’s Adapted Screenplay category.
Still, the film had stiff competition — chiefly from Aaron Sorkin, a former category winner (for The Social Network) nominated this time for his directorial debut, Molly’s Game, and Mudbound’s Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, whose film picked up multiple major Oscar nods. The category was rounded out by The Disaster Artist, adapted from Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell’s book by screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, and the X-Men movie Logan, which was penned by Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green.
For the full list of 2018 Oscar winners, click here.