Day Sixty-Four – Oscar Predictions: Screenplays

5 03 2010

The Screenplay category doesn’t get nearly enough respect come Oscar time. It’s the glue that holds the picture together or the wrecking ball that completely tears it apart. Realistically, if you don’t win the Screenplay Oscar, you shouldn’t even qualify to win Best Picture. Avatar has a chance to break this unwritten rule, as Titanic did with its win, since it’s not even nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category.

I didn’t get through all the screenplays quite yet, but I have seen majority of the movies nominated so I’m making my predictions that way.

Here are the pictures that are:

Best Original Screenplay
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson & Tom McCarthy, Up
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

When I was in film school, I remember reading  that Tarantino was finally going to move forward with his long awaited Inglourious Basterds. Many years later, it’s finally out and it was definitely worth the wait. No one else is able to create as much tension as Tarantino with only two people sitting in a room, chatting over a glass of milk. I’m not a Tarantino die-hard at all. I haven’t really liked much of his work since Pulp Fiction, but this film, and screenplay, made me a fan once again. Such skill and craft in the writing that can’t be duplicated.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche, In the Loop
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Jason Reitman is easily becoming one of my favorite film-makers ever. When he writes a screenplay, they are so perfectly crafted. There isn’t a wasted word in Up in the Air or his prior screenplay Thank You for Smoking. Every word of dialogue is either there for plot or to shed light on the main character. Regardless of what they are saying or who is saying it, every single word and every single action serves a purpose. It would be horrible if anything but Up in the Air took the win for this category.

I thought I’d have more to say about this category, but I’m getting it up here pretty late. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about these films in the future. Those are my predictions for now.

Next: Acting.

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