Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far: http://www.largeassmovieblogs.com/2018/01/the-lamb-devours-the-oscars-2018-roster.html
Today, Howard Casner from Rantings and Ravings is here to look at the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The screenplay nominations and awards for the Oscars tend to be both the safest and edgiest when compared to the other categories. This is because there are ten nominations (five for original and five for adapted) which increases the odds that more challenging films like In the Loop and The Lobster will sneak their way in. It’s not unusual to find more personal films here, films that do well in art houses and on the film festival circuit.
In addition, one of the categories, but rarely both, is often used to give an award to a film that is a great favorite among the Academy members, but isn’t predicted to receive anything else, and may have been passed over for Picture and Directing nominations. For this reason, when it comes to Best Original Screenplay, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is, as of this writing, to be in the lead to win Best Picture even though it didn’t get a Best Director, and will therefore most probably win the screenplay award as well. Which leaves the adaptation category to be more independent.
Screenwriters may want to take notice of this. I suggest that if you look back on the history of the Academy, I suspect it is much more likely that a film will win Best Picture without a directing nomination than it will without the screenplay nomination.
Which may say something (or not, who really knows) about how high screenwriters are really held in relationship to the director.
But here are the nominations:
Call Me By Your Name
Call Me By Your Name is the exquisite movie from an exquisite screenplay by James Ivory based on the exquisite novel by Andre Aciman (actually, I’m just assuming the novel is exquisite, I haven’t read it myself). It’s the story of a summer love affair taking place in Italy between a 17-year old American-Italian living there with his scholarly family and a 24-year old visiting grad student. Ivory created, with his long-time partner, both professionally and domestically, the late Ismail Merchant, a series of art films that were often well received and highly respected (the best probably being Howard’s End, an adaptation of the EM Forster novel). Call Me By Your Name is a wonderful and deeply felt story, again, exquisitely told. The novel won the 2007 Lambda Literary Award and Ivory is expected to win the Oscar.
The film has also been nominated for Best Actor (Timothee Chalamet), Picture and Song.
The Disaster Artist
The Disaster Artist is, of course, the story of the making of the Tommy Wiseau vehicle The Room (Wiseau starred in, wrote, directed and produced that gem), perhaps the worst film in movie history which became a financial gold mine because it was so bad. The screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael J. Weber, from the book by Greg Sestoro (who starred in the film alongside Wiseau) and Tim Bissell, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, is absolutely and often viciously hysterical while also greatly humanizing Wiseau. Neustatder and Weber’s first film, the rom-com (500) Days of Summer, was an impressive debut, though their films since then have been solid, but not up to …Summer. This is a nice comeback.
This is its only Oscar nomination.
Molly’s Game is the one film in the category I haven’t seen so I can’t really pass judgment on it. All I can say are two words, Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin is the well respected and popular writer of such works as Moneyball, The Social Network and The West Wing and one of the few screenwriters whose style is so much his own, people can recognize it without knowing who the author is. Sorkin adapted the screenplay from the book of the same name written by Molly Bloom (the central character) who ran high stakes poker games and went to court to try to prove that poker was not just a game of chance.
This is its only nomination.
Mudbound is the adaptation of the award winning debut novel by Hillary Jordan, written for the screen by Virgil Williams and the director Dee Rees. It revolves around two families, one white, one black, in rural Mississippi just after WWII. The film was produced for Netflix but played for a week on theater screens at the same time as it debuted on the streaming channel in order to be eligible for an Oscar (Netflix did the same thing for The Meyerwitz Stories…, but the Academy didn’t take the bait for that one). Dee Rees is known for her first feature, the critically well received Pariah, and Virgil Williams is known for his television work on 24, ER and Criminal Minds (Mudbound is his first feature). This is perhaps the weakest nominee for me; it felt more like a summary of a story rather than a fully realized adaptation.
Also nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Mary K. Blige), Cinematography and Song.
Logan is the most unusual nomination here, first because it is a film based on a comic book, and second because it is one of the darkest movies of the year, almost nihilistic, as the story follows the remaining X-Men in a world almost devoid of super heroes. However, it is definitely well deserved and is probably the best comic book movie of 2017. The screenplay is by Scott Frank, Michael Green, and James Mangold (the director) from the graphic novel Old Man Logan by Mark Miller and Steve McNiven.
This is its only nomination.
What do you think is going to win ?
Tags: Rantings and Ravings