Milk, Gus Van Sant's film chronicling the life of late gay rights activist Harvey Milk, received eight Oscar nominations on January 22, including best picture, best director, best original screenplay (Dustin Lance Black), best actor (Sean Penn) and best supporting actor (Josh Brolin), The New York Times reports.

The film prominently features Milk's friend Cleve Jones—played by Emile Hirsch—who is best known for founding the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and co-founding the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

The 81st annual Academy Awards will be televised on ABC on February 22.