Oscar History

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Entries in Adaptations (240)


Blueprints: "Moonlight"

To celebrate Pride Month, every week of June Jorge has been highlighting the script of a movie that focuses on a different letter of the LGBT acronym. For “G”, he looks at the poetry in Moonlight. 

When La La Land took the Best Picture statue at the 2016 Oscars for about five minutes, it wasn’t an Earth shattering surprise. It was the kind of movie that wins Oscars. The twist, from a mixed up envelope, was the fact that a small independent film about queer people of color had actually managed to go above all the other nominees for the big trophy was what had made the Earth shatter.

Moonlight is not a traditional Best Picture winner, in everything from themes to distribution model to narrative structure to protagonist. It won three Oscars in total, including Best Adapted Screenplay. It is also not a traditional screenplay. Let’s see how the script transmitted emotion through descriptive lines...

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Blueprints: "Iron Man"

To celebrate a decade of Marvel movies, Jorge goes back to the movie that started it all...

On May 2nd, the original Iron Man celebrated the 10th anniversary of its release. The film as the first official movie of Marvel Studios and the one that kick started and eventually allowed the completely transformed film landscape of today. It is now ten years, eighteen films, and a multibillion-dollar acquisition later.

So to celebrate (or condemn; whatever side of the argument you land in), let’s go back to the screenplay for the movie, and examine how scripts describe and develop action scenes; sequences that mostly rely on visual cues rather than description or dialogue...

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Months of Meryl: The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#22 — Francesca Johnson, an Italian war bride-turned-American housewife who falls in love with a visiting photographer.

JOHN: Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) is sipping a beer in a bathtub while a charming stranger waits for her to eat dinner downstairs. Francesca’s husband and two children have left for a trip to the Iowa state fair, but her few days of solitude have been quickly interrupted by the welcome arrival of Clint Eastwood’s Robert Kincaid, a travelling National Geographic photographer on assignment to shoot Madison’s quaint covered bridges. With her brunette bangs and stray wisps of hair dangling out from her updo, Streep lounges in the bath, watching the water from the shower head above drip down into her hands. Robert has just showered, and, in voiceover, Francesca relates the eroticism of the moment, their sharing the bathtub only minutes apart. Streep’s face has never looked more assured and aroused, even as she’s unsettled by the seismic consequences of this romance. The simultaneous thrill and troubling implications of the moment flicker on Streep’s face as she loses herself in thought, already foreseeing the end of this brief encounter while testing the boundaries between her desires and responsibilities.

In this scene, the magnificence of Streep’s performance elevates this admittedly soapy and conventional tale into the pantheon, a brilliant fusion of Francesca’s subjectivity given weight by a generous filmmaker and imbued with soul-shaking truth by a master performer...

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Blueprints: "The Handmaid's Tale"

As we approach Emmy season, Jorge will take a look at the scripts of the pilot episodes for television’s hottest contenders...

Voiceover narrations are usually a way for characters to express things to the audience that they would not be able to learn otherwise, mainly inner thoughts with a heavy helping of story exposition. It’s an easy way for us to understand the emotional place of the characters and fill in the blanks of what we’re seeing. 

But what if voiceover were to be used for a time when characters need to express things that not only cannot be said otherwise in the story, but are actually forbidden to be spoken at all? The Handmaid’s Tale portrays a world in which society has become so repressed that the only way for the protagonist to freely speak her mind is, well, in her own mind…

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Months of Meryl: The House of the Spirits (1993)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#20 —
Clara del Valle Trueba, paranormal matriarch of a prosperous South American family.

JOHN: Yes, paranormal. But please, take your expectations about Meryl Streep as psychic (and Glenn Close as her scorned, sexually repressed sister-in-law) that may be levitating midair and place them firmly on the ground. Actually, go ahead and place them below the Earth’s surface, and then you might be ready to endure one of the absolute worst films Streep has ever been caught in. The House of the Spirits, an adaptation of Isabel Allende’s titular novel, chronicles the tumultuous history of the Trueba family, a prosperous South American dynasty headed by Esteban Trueba (Jeremy Irons), a peasant turned plantation owner turned conservative senator, who marries Clara del Valle (Streep), the youngest daughter of a wealthy, liberal family, and did I mention that she can move things with her mind and predict the future?

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Stage Door: Disney's Frozen

by Dancin' Dan

Caissie Levy stars as Elsa

You can feel the audience's anticipation. Not for the show to begin, not for the star to come on stage, but for the act one finale, from the moment you step inside the St. James Theater to see Frozen. That's not necessarily a surprise, "Let It Go" being the kind of world-conquering hit song that feels like it's in short supply these days. But it is a strange strange thing to feel when you're seeing a new musical...

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