the oscars: original screenplay

so the screenplay awards are actually my favorites. that shouldn’t surprise you. i dig the adapted award more than the original one because taking something someone else wrote, especially when it’s a gargantuan or revered tale, and whittling to the bones of a script to be transmitted to film… that’s not a task i’d ever want to undertake. not that as a child i’d not thought of having such a career in my adult life… and then i went to college. but… this is the movie, yall. the script IS the movie. so sure best pictures and best directors and best actors and actresses, those are usually the ones that get the most praise. but these two awards… these are the quan. these writers are the ambassadors. or they should be…

seventy-seven was network (paddy chayefsky). then annie hall (woody allen and marshall brickman)… i don’t know that i’ve ever mentioned this but I. AM. SO. NOT. A. WOODY. ALLEN. FAN. and his script beat george lucas’ star wars. i’m sorry but that’s FUCKED UP. then it was coming home (robert c. jones, waldo salt and nancy dowd).

winners of the eighties: breaking away (steve tesich); melvin and howard (bo goldman); chariots of fire (colin welland); gandhi (john briley); tender mercies (horton foote); places in the heart (robert benton); witness (william kelly and earl and pamela wallace); hannah and her sisters (woody allen); moonstruck (john patrick shanley); and rain man (ronald bass and barry morrow). i’ve seen two of those.

scripts i favor that earned nominations that decade: back to the future (robert zemeckis and bob gale) and big (gary ross and anne spielberg).

the nineties: dead poets society (tom schulman); ghost (bruce joel rubin); thelma and louise (callie khouri); the crying game (neil jordan); the piano (jane campion); pulp fiction (quentin tarantino and roger avary); the usual suspects (christopher mcquarrie); fargo (joel and ethan coen); good will hunting (matt damon and ben affleck); and shakespeare in love (mark norman and tom stoppard). i’ve seen eight of those.

scripts i favor that earned nominations that decade: when harry met sally (nora ephron); dave (gary ross); in the line of fire (jeff maguire); philadelphia (ron nyswaner); sleepless in seattle (nora ephron, jeff arch and david s. ward); jerry maguire (cameron crowe); as good as it gets (mark andrus and james l. brooks); and saving private ryan (robert rodat).

the two thousands: american beauty (alan ball); almost famous (cameron crowe); gosford park (julian fellowes); talk to her (pedro almodovar); lost in translation (sofia coppola); eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (michel gondry, charlie kaufman and pierre bismuth); crash (paul haggis and bobby moresco); little miss sunshine (michael arndt); juno (diablo cody); and milk (dustin lance black). i’ve seen eight of those.

scripts i favor that earned nominations that decade: the sixth sense (m. night shyamalan); erin brockovich (susannah grant); and my big fat greek wedding (nia vardalos).

this decade: the hurt locker (mark boal); the king’s speech (david seidler); midnight in paris (woody allen); django unchained (quentin tarantino); her (spike jonze); birdman or (the unexpected virtue of ignorance) (alejandro g. innaritu, nicolas giacobone, alexander dinelaris jr. and armando bo); and spotlight (tom mccarthy and josh singer). i’ve seen two of those.

scripts i favor that earned nominations this decade: inglorious basterds (quentin tarantino) and inside out (josh cooley, ronnie del carmen, pete docter and meg lefauve).

which brings us to the nominees:

script by mike mills
script by taylor sheridan
script by damien chazelle
script by yorgos lanthimos and efthimis filippou
script by kenneth lonergan

the only one i’ve seen is la la land. i don’t want it to win. but then i don’t really care if the others do, either.

the best instances in which the academy got it right: good will hunting; eternal sunshine of the spotless mind; and crash.

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