the oscars: adapted screenplay

this one’s probably gonna be the messiest of the bunch. sorry. try to keep up.

seventy-seven was all the president’s men (adapted by william goldman from the novel of the same title by carl bernstein and bob woodward). then julia (alvin sargent; novel pentimento by lilian hellman), followed by midnight express (oliver stone; novel by billy hayes and william hoffer). i saw one of’m.

from now on, the work from which the script is adapted is a book or novel unless otherwise specified: screenwriter; author.

winners of the eighties: kramer vs. kramer (robert benton; avery corman); ordinary people (alvin sargent; judith guest); on golden pond (ernest thompson adaped his play for the screen); missing (costas-gavras and donald e. stewart; the execution of charles horman: an american sacrifice by thomas hauser); terms of endearment (james l. brooks; larry mcmurtry); amadeus (peter shaffer adapted his play); out of africa (kurt luedtke; out of africa by isak dinesen, silence will speak by errol trzebinski and isak dinesin: the life of a storyteller by judith thurman); a room with a view (ruth prawer jhabvala; e.m. forster); the last emperor (bernardo bertolucci and mark peploe; from emperor to citizen: the autobiography of aisin-gioro pu yi by henry pu yi); and dangerous liaisons (christopher hampton; play les liaisons dangereuses by hampton from novel of the same title by pierre choderlos de laclos). i’ve seen four of those.

scripts i favor that earned nominations that decade: stand by me (raynold gideon and bruce a. evans; novella the body by stephen king).

the nineties: driving miss daisy (alfred uhry adapted his play); dances with wolves (michael blake adapted his novel); the silence of the lambs (ted tally; thomas harris… tally’s script, by the way, is the closest adaptation to a novel i know; it’s perfect); howard’s end (ruth prawer jhabvala; e.m. forster); schindler’s list (steven zaillian; schindler’s ark by thomas keneally); forrest gump (eric roth; winston groom); sense and sensibility (emma thompson; jane austen); sling blade (billy bob thornton adapted his short film some folks call it a sling blade); l.a. confidential (curtis hanson and brian helgeland; james ellroy); and gods and monsters (bill condon; father of frankenstein by christopher bram). i’ve seen six of those.

scripts i favor that earned nominations that decade: fried green tomatoes (fannie flagg and carol sobieski; fried green tomatoes at the whistle stop cafe by flagg); a river runs through it (richard friedenberg; short story of the same title by norman maclean); scent of a woman (bo goldman; il buio e il miele by giovanni arpino and film profumo di donna by ruggero maccari and dino risi); the shawshank redemption (frank darabont; short story rita hayworth and the shawshank redemption by stephen king); apollo thirteen (william broyles jr. and al reinert; lost moon by jim lovell and jeffrey kluger); and donnie brasco (paul attanasio; donnie brasco: my undercover life in the mafia by joseph d. pistone and richard woodley).

the two thousands: the cider house rules (john irving adapted his novel); traffic (stephen gaghan; teleplay traffik by simon moore); a beautiful mind (akiva goldsman; sylvia nasar); the pianist (ronald harwood; wladyslaw szpilman); the lord of the rings: the return of the king (fran walsh, phillipa boyens and peter jackson; j.r.r. tolkien); sideways (alexander payne and jim taylor; rex pickett); brokeback mountain (larry mcmurtry and diana ossana; short story of the same title by annie proulx); the departed (william monahan; film infernal affairs by alan mak and felix chong); no country for old men (joel and ethan coen; cormac mccarthy); and slumdog millionaire (simon beaufoy; q and a by vikas swarup). i’ve seen seven of’m.

scripts i favor that earned nominations that decade: chocolat (robert nelson jacobs; joanne harris); the lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring and the two towers (fran walsh, phillipa boyens and peter jackson; j.r.r. tolkien); about a boy (peter hedges and chris and paul weitz; nick hornby); and seabiscuit (gary ross; seabiscuit: an american legend by laura hillenbrand).

this decade: precious: based on the novel push by sapphire (geoffrey fletcher; push by sapphire); the social network (aaron sorkin; the accidental billionaires by ben mezrich); the descendants (alexander payne, nat faxon and jim rash; kaui hart hemmings); argo (chris terrio; the master of disguise by antonio j. mendez and the article the great escape by joshuah bearman); twelve years a slave (john ridley; solomon northup); the imitation game (graham moore; alan turing; the enigma by andrew hodges); and the big short (adam mckay and charles randolph; michael lewis). i’ve seen three of those.

scripts i favor that earned nominations this decade: moneyball (story by stan chervin and screenplay by steven zaillian and aaron sorkin; michael lewis); captain phillips (billy ray; a captain’s duty by richard phillips and stephan talty); american sniper (jason hall; american sniper: the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in u.s. military history by chris kyle, scott mcewan and jim defelice); the theory of everything (anthony mccarten; travelling to infinity: my life with stephen hawking by jane wilde hawking); and the martian (drew goddard; andy weir).

which brings us to the nominees:

script by eric heisserer; short story story of your life by ted chiang
script and play by august wilson
theodore melfi and allison schroeder; book by margot lee shetterly
luke davies; book a long way home by saroo brierly and larry buttrose
story by tarell alvin mccraney and screenplay by barry jenkins; play in moonlight black boys look blue by mccraney

i’ve only seen hidden figures and lion. i want hidden figures to win.

the best instances in which the academy got it right: the silence of the lambsa beautiful mind; and the lord of the rings: the return of the king.

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