Scene from "Call Me by Your Name."
Scene from “Call Me By Your Name.” Image for official trailer

The oldest Oscar winner ever — 89-year-old James Ivory for his adaptation of “Call Me by Your Name” — said backstage Sunday evening that writing about first love gave him new energy.

The screenwriter said he still thinks about his teenage years all the time.

“It was a rejuvenating experience somehow,” Ivory said of his adaptation of Andre Aciman’s novel of the same name.

Ivory is probably most well known for his work as a director in collaboration with his lifelong partner and producer, the late Ishmail Merchant, as Merchant Ivory Productions.

He was nominated as a director three times, but never won, for “A Room with a View,” “Howards End” and “The Remains of the Day.”

However, Ivory said he was “particularly glad it was an Oscar for writing … I’ve never written one right from the first line and seen it produced.”

Asked what it felt like to be the oldest winner of the coveted golden statuette, Ivory said any accomplishment at this point in life would be impressive, “but to be here having won the Oscar at (this) age …  (it’s) a hiccup in nature.”

He was drawn to the story first because it was set in Italy, a country he loves, and also because it had a “good amount of personal relevance for me,” the writer said.

Ivory was asked why he thought the story of a gay romance resonated so deeply with a broad audience.

“One’s first strong love, which may have gone badly … but you survive … it’s a universal situation,” he said. “It’s subject matter that everyone everywhere can identify with.”

–City News Service

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