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By Alamin Yohannes

James Ivory became the oldest Academy Award winner ever when at 89 he received the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay during this year’s 90th Academy Awards ceremony.

Ivory is the screenwriter behind “Call Me By Your Name,” a gay love story based on André Aciman’s 2007 book of the same name. The film is set in northern Italy during the 1980s and follows the summer romance between 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and his father’s new archeology graduate assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer).

Image: Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet), a 17-year-old living in Italy, and his father's 24-year-old American assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer) in the movie Call Me By Your Name.
Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet), a 17-year-old living in Italy, and his father's 24-year-old American assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer) in the movie "Call Me By Your Name."Sony Pictures Classics

The critically acclaimed film earned Ivory not just an Oscar but also awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Writers Guild of America and the Critics’ Choice Awards, among others.

For most of his career, Ivory worked with film producer Ismail Merchant, who was both his professional and life partner, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. The three collaborators ran Merchant Ivory Productions, which was behind a long list of films including “A Room With a View,” “Howard's End,” “The Remains of the Day” and “Surviving Picasso.”

Ivory, the only surviving member of the trio, thanked his long-time collaborators in his Academy Awards acceptance speech.

“I wouldn’t be standing up here without the inspired help I received from my life’s partners who are gone: our writer Ruth Jhabvala, who received this award twice, and our fearless producer, Ismail Merchant,” Ivory told the audience. “Working with them for close to 50 years at Merchant Ivory led me to this award. And my profound thanks to the members of the Academy. In voting for me, you are remembering them.”

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