Have you seen this "From Script to Screen" video for Gravity? It's basically a very concise and very watchable "Making of" documentary for the YouTube generation. That generation is basically all of us now, whenever we were born. "You've only got 5 minutes? Here you go!"
Was I supposed to know that Sandra Bullock was a dancer? Is this common knowledge I'd forgotten over the years of her stardom?
Frankly, as an Oscar FYC commercial, I enjoyed it so much that I'd rather watch a 91 minute version of it than the movie for a third time. The behind the scenes stuff on hi-tech movies is always so interesting. It doesn't so much kill the magic for me in a "so that's how they did that!" way as it makes me marvel at the still-secret magic of how creative people come up with their ideas in the first place and then find new intensely creative ways to execute them. Filming actors inside cubes of light? Sure. Of course.
Given the screenplay's point of placement in the video, this is a smart ploy for the one key nomination it seems in danger of missing: Best Original Screenplay. Gravity might still pull this off - Best Picture heat goes a long way in every branch of the Academy - but there are so many fine screenplays this year (just look at that chart) that a nomination feels too generous to me at the expense of some rich accomplishments that won't be able to be awarded elsewhere. Kris Tapley not-so delicately suggests that people like me are 'of course dead wrong' when we call the screenplay a little "thin". The words "metaphor" and "adversity" are uttered three and five times respectively within the first 90 seconds of this video which only proves my point, or Kris's depending on where you fall on Obvious Metaphors and how much goodwill they buy you.
I don't mean to be snarky. I think Gravity will wholeheartedly deserve two of the Oscars it's going to win, but the script is not the MVP. I appreciate its brevity, don't get me wrong, and there's more to screenwriting than plot but even if your plot is essentially multiple riffs on a singular scene, or metaphor if you will, my stance is that it could have stood a little more meat on its checklist skeleton [insert Paint By Numbers Grief Backstory here] or, the inverse, embrace its skeletal nature altogether like All is Lost did. Gravity is so amazing visually and aurally that it probably could have gotten away with something like Robert Redford's mysterious but moving opening letter/monologue and left it at that.
Where do you fall on the Gravity screenplay divide and what are your favorite original screenplays of the year?