With the writing on the wall for Birdman as Best Picture and with all four acting races more or less calcified, the screenplay contests are now the biggest question marks of the major categories, and Best Original Screenplay may be the most perplexing of them.
Most years, with prestigious adaptations duking it out in their own ring, this award serves as a nifty consolation prize for a film that stands out for its uniqueness of premise or snazziness of dialogue, but is just slightly too left-of-centre to win in the top category. Even Best Picture winners Million Dollar Baby and The Artist were trumped in this arena by decidedly more imaginative efforts.
That may be a bad omen for Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu and his sizable crew of co-writers on Birdman (or at least, their names are sizable); Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolas Giacobone, and Armondo Bo. It bears mentioning, however, that their formally detailed and acidically hilarious script is a far cry from the stodgy conventionality of Million Dollar Baby or the almost purely visual prose of
The Artist. If you like this movie, you like the way it's written, and you'd be foolish to presume that the Best Picture winner is going to lose for its Golden-Globe-honoured screenplay. But in a tight year such as this, with passion split multiple ways in most every category, there could be just enough of a shift to another (arguably more typical) potential winner.
Hugo Guinness should count himself lucky that his name is attached to Wes' first big awards hit.
But rather than lament the general membership's aversion to it, we should cheer for the 55-year-old Gilroy earning a nod for his directorial debut. Let's hope this is just the first of more great things to come down the snaking, neon-lit road.
This is one of the season's most richly deserved and unimpeachable nominations. Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye's thematically dense, precisely characterized dramatization of the bizarre and tragic true story surrounding John du Pont and the Schultz brothers is indeed chilly... Far too chilly to actually win an award from such a broad, populist organization. But it's also so much more than its depressing synopsis. I get the feeling that decades from now, when the polish on the winner's trophy is long worn away, this is the movie that will be studied in film schools for its unnerving examination of ego, ambition, obsession, and the blood-tainted American Dream. Of course, winning Oscars is all about the here and now,
and right now, Foxcatcher is jogging comfortably at the back of the pack.
Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should win: Foxcatcher
Should've been nominated: Whiplash