Friday, January 16, 2015

Awards-Nazi Award Nominations: Best Original Screenplay

The Oscars are little more than five weeks away, so it's time to start compiling my own superlatives for the year, starting with Best Original Screenplay. Man, is this category stacked! Any of the five following films would have won in any other year. They're all available for downloading online, and I highly recommend giving them a look. They're all great reads.

You can keep track of my gradually growing list of nominees by clicking the 2014 Awards-Nazi Awards tab in the page header.

Let's dive in, shall we:

Birdman
(Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolas Giácobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo)
One of the masterstrokes of Iňárritu's devilishly funny screenplay is how it populates Riggan's world with characters who represent the conflicting levels of his psyche. No less impressive is its visual specificity with which it handles its scene transitions, laying down the preliminary blueprint for its dizzying camera work.

Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Eschewing a conventional plot for a more slice-of-life structure, Linklater's screenplay ultimately boils down to a series of short films rather than a one cohesive narrative. But his clear and long-term understanding of his characters and how they evolve over 12 years allow him to tie it all together into a profound whole.

Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman)
Futterman and Frye's dramatization of the Schultz murder is about so much more than a pair of Olympic wrestlers and a crazy millionaire, but about the very mentality of a nation that seems obsessed with supremacy and with seceding from its ancestral legacy. In the best sequences, what remains unsaid speaks louder than what is spoken.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness)
As with most of Anderson's conspicuously peculiar comedies, there's something more substantially emotional lingering beneath its delectably silly surface. His whimsical caper turns out to be an elegiac dirge for pre-War Europe, albeit a fleet and bouncy one with sidesplitting dialogue and fastidiously staged hijinx.

Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)
Some could argue that Chazelle's story is so simple that it hardly merits a feature film to tell it, but his unfettered script is so lean, so incisive, and so economical that it feels far shorter than it actually is. His direction may be what stands out, but his writing has an impeccable grasp of pacing and structure. (By the way, this is the second year in a row the Academy has wrongfully classified one of the best screenplays of the year as "adapted".)

Just missed:
The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)
Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund)
A Most Violent Year (J.C. Chandor)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)
Selma (Ava DuVernay, Paul Webb)

9 comments:

  1. My choices are identical to yours except with LEGO Movie taking the place of Foxcatcher. But Foxcatcher almost made it in.

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  2. In terms of your 'Whiplash' comment, what about last year's 'Short Term 12'? That was a film based on the director's short film, and you considered that an adaptation?

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    Replies
    1. The screenplay for 'Short Term 12' was based on the short. In the case of 'Whiplash', the short was based on the screenplay.

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  3. Thank you for clearing that up, I'm about to be creating my own list. Today, I've got Best Original Score nominations...I encourage you to check out my list!

    https://gonewiththewinawards.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/2015-silver-sleuth-nominations-best-original-score/

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  4. Best Original Screenplay:

    Birdman
    Boyhood
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    Foxcatcher
    Leviathan

    (I Think I will side with the Academy's decision to put Whiplash in Adapted Screenplay. Not because I necessarily agree, but just to create some space in this category for Leviathan, another one of the year's finest films.)

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    Replies
    1. You have no idea how tempted I was to do the same thing. Not so much to make space in Original, but to fill out Adapted which is as empty as I've ever seen it. But at the end of the day I just couldn't justify it. WHIPLASH is completely original, not adapted from anything, and it broke my heart to shove out other good scripts because of that.

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    2. I understand your feelings.
      Any nominations today or are you announcing them weekdays only?

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    3. Every two days there will be announcements.

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  5. My Nominations as of right now -

    Begin Again
    Birdman
    Interstellar
    The Lego Movie
    St. Vincent

    (putting Whiplash in adapted)

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