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Entries in Best Original Screenplay (17)

Wednesday
Aug142019

Oscar Trivia, Weekly: The Academy's Tarantino blindspots

by Nathaniel R

Tarantino winning his first Oscar in the mid 90sWednesday mornings will now be devoted to Oscar trivia (the crowd cheers... we hope). This morning let's look at some factoids you might have missed in Oscar's on & off again romance with Quentin Tarantino. Like many A-list writer/directors before and presumably after him, Oscar has honored him with a Screenplay Oscar (two, in point of fact) but not a directing Oscar. That's how they often do with the more polarizing and unique talents. Do enough people realize this to make Tarantino and actual threat for the Best Director win for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as his career threatens to wind down? We aren't sure (yet) but for today's particular trivia pursuit, instead we'd like to talk about the categories that Tarantino films compete in versus the ones they don't.

If you smoosh all of Tarantino's 9 films pre-Hollywood together for a rough average, the movie would be nominated for 3 Oscars (Supporting, Screenplay, and Cinematography) and have a 50% chance of winning a single one of those races...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May142019

The New Classics - A Separation

Michael Cusumano back again with my new series on great scenes/films of the 21st Century. This week a title we will surely hear often when the best of the decade lists start rolling in...

 

Scene: Razieh is Fired (aka The Incident)
It’s rare for a movie, even a great movie, to sneak up on the audience the way Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation does.

The screenplay is centered around an inflection point. Everything pulling the characters inexorably toward, or ricocheting off of, the moment when a man shoves a woman out his front door. Yet this action is not granted any special emphasis. First-time viewers have no clue they’ve witnessed the action around which the entire story pivots. It is only a few short scenes later, when the man is on trial for causing the miscarriage of the women he pushed (a murder charge in Iran) that the weight of that shove comes crashing home...

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Thursday
Apr112019

April Foolish Predictions #7: Screenplay, Director, and Best Picture

Taika Waitita directing Scarlett Johansson on the set of "JoJo Rabbit"

Our annual way-too-early Oscar predictions are nearing completion! Only lead actor, and both actress categories left to go. Today the big one BEST PICTURE, as well as both screenplay races, and the Best Director contest. The latter looks really exciting (at least at this way-too-early juncture) because the competition appears to be more gender-balanced than usual with a handful of female directors in the mix. Imagine that! Of course the year might not play out like that once the films are screened, but here's hoping the female directed pictures deliver in a can't-be-denied kind of way.

Friday
Mar012019

Blueprints: Standout sequences in Original Screenplay winners

by Jorge Molina

Last Sunday, in a ceremony filled with joyful surprises, heartbreaking disappointments, and Emma Stone’s shocked tearsGreen Book won Best Original Screenplay.  Instead of driving into Peter Farrelly, Brian Currie and Nick Vallelonga’s screenplay, let’s take a look at the last ten years of winners of Best Original Screenplay (2008-2017), and a standout sequence in each. Because somehow Viggo Mortensen folding a pizza in half and Mahershala Ali learning how to eat fried chicken are now among their peers.

The King's Speech, Django Unchained, Her, Birdman and more are after the jump...

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Monday
Feb182019

Interview: Screenwriter Deborah Davis on her 20 year passion project "The Favourite" 

by Nathaniel R

Deborah Davis, first time screenwriter, is up for an Oscar this weekendDeborah Davis recently took home the BAFTA for her work on the screenplay to Yorgos Lanthimos's stunning tragicomedy and Best Picture hopeful The Favourite. Though Lanthimos has previously co-written his own features this time was attached to a project already in progress. Davis and cowriter Tony McNamara than retooled the screenplay to match Lanthimos's vision. The results were magic, as has long since become obvious.

Before the hardware started arriving we hopped on a cross Atlantic phone call with Deborah Davis briefly. We couldn't find much info about her at the time and were reeling from the realization that the dearth of info came from the fact that The Favourite was her very first movie. As it turns out she became a screenwriter specifically to tell this story. And what a story it is.

Our interview, edited for length and clarity follows...

NATHANIEL: I'm still gobsmacked that this is a first screenplay!

DEBORAH DAVIS: That’s correct, yes. By training I'm a lawyer, but I’ve done quite a lot of journalism. I started to research The Favourite 20 years ago, and I was actually convinced that this story about women in power and the female triangle would make a wonderful film, so I went and learned how to write a script...

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Thursday
Jan242019

Blueprints: Memorable Scenes from Your "Best Original Screenplay" Nominees

by Jorge Molina

We all rose at the crack of dawn on Tuesday morning to hear Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross banter in a way that we won’t see anyone do on the actual Oscar stage. While we were all bracing for catastrophe (and yes, Bohemian Rhapsody is a Best Picture nominee), the nods balance between expected precursors and delightful surprises (still high on the Marina de Tavira wave). As for Best Original Screenplay, there were no surprises. Four out of the five nominees were pretty locked from very early on. It was the fifth slot that was the question mark. While I was hoping for Bo Burnham’s distillation on teen angst, Paul Schrader’s distillation on environmental nihilism works just fine as well.

After the jump the writers, their history with Oscar, and what scene we think landed them that nomination...

Click to read more ...