Oscar History

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Jan 05 2011

USC Scripter Nominations

If you're new to the awards game -- and there are some newbies every yearwelcome!-- the USC is a screenplay honor with a very specific focus.The idea is to honor "the year's most accomplished cinematic adaptations as well as the author of the written work upon which the screenplay is based."Got that?That means if you wrote a book 10 years ago that was awesome and someone makes it into a movie that people respond to you get the honor along with the screenwriter.It's a different way of doing things but it's not such a terrible idea since the original writer did do much of the heavy lifting in terms of plotting and character construction and what not.

The nominees:

  • 127 HOURS by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy based on "Between a Rock and a Hard Place"by Aron Ralston.
  • THE GHOST WRITER by Roman Polanski based on "The Ghost"by Robert Harris.
  • THE SOCIAL NETWORK by Aaron Sorkin based on "The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook,a Tale of Sex,Money and Betrayal"by Ben Mezrich.
  • TRUE GRIT by the Coen Bros based on "True Grit"by Charles Portis
  • WINTER'S BONE by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini based on "Winter's Bone"by Daniel Woodrell

This year's 58 member selection committee composed of screenwriters,film critics and authors among others was headed by Oscar nominated screenwriter Naomi Foner who we have always loved for two reasons.First for writingRunning on Empty(1988) which makes us cry every time we see it,and then for those eighteen months of hard work bringing Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal into the world.Eighteen months well spent!

This list could beyour Oscar listbut for the likelihood of theToy Story 3Oscar nomination.Common wisdom is thatThe Ghost Writerwill slip out but isn't127 Hoursa bit vulnerable?Does anyone else think it's a bit odd that all sequels campaign as adapted?

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Reader Comments (9)

Do they award the author of the source material based on the quality of the script or is the award what logic would want it to be,which is honoring the combined quality?

I mean,the script could be great and the book not so much.What happens in that case?

And,is the definition of the award the official one or your own?Because if it is the official one,it should be taken exactly as it is which means that a play or even a poem would be eligible.How can that happen?I suppose they only mean books.Or maybe not even short stories.Only longer ones.

January 5,2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

the quote in the article is not my words.it's theirs.hence the quote.

January 6,2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yeah,duh :p
I thought so but just wanted to make sure because,again,I found it not ruling out the other cases I stated before.But yes,the quotes should have let me without any doubts.

Do you know about that?I mean,are plays or poems for example included?Let's say,Rabbit Hole?Maybe it was mentioned elsewhere but I didn't catch it.And do they only evaluate the script or the combination (as they should)?

I do think their definition is not as accurate as it should be.

January 6,2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

I'd sub out "127 Hours"and "The Ghost Writer"for "Toy Story 3"and "The Town".Although I wish,maybe,"How to Train Your Dragon"could've scored.

January 6,2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Two quick thoughts.A).What do they do if the author of the original work is long gone?Or does that make you ineligible?Is Charles Portis still alive?

B).That sequel = adapted is a big pet peeve of mine.Doesn't "material previously produced or published"literally imply a work must exist with the same plot?I don't even see the award advantage for "Toy Story 3"this year since "Social Network"is obviously going to win the category.I think people have been fudging/misinterpreting this rule for so long that now voters expect sequels to always be placed there.

January 6,2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnthonyDC

Wait,Naomi Foner is the mother of Maggie and Jake?I did not know that.That's awesome!I remember I rented Running on Empty from iTunes and watched it on a plane ride (and loved it) and then bought the DVD and showed it to my parents,neither of whome had eard of it (even though I was born in 1988 and they were in the US at the time).My mother could not stop crying,and I remember my dad saying right before the ending that if the film ends here,it's a super-movie.And then the credits rolled.My appreciation for that movie has grown ten-fold since that viewing with my parents.It's sad what happened to River Phoenix.

January 6,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

No "Rabbit Hole"?

BTW Nat - congrats on the new "home".I wasn't sure at first but I've acclimated quickly - it's very neat,clean,less visually cluttered than the old,very clean-looking and easy to navigate.
And I love that the links to other sites have their own page.

And your first banner includes Carmen Maura AND Catherine Keener?Love it.

January 6,2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

You know,of this group,I actually think that 127 HOURS comes in second place to THE SOCIAL NETWORK.I think it deserves it becuase of the degree of difficulty (in converting the story to a "film.").The Social Network will win though I'm sure because of it's hyperverbosity.

January 6,2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Fun stuff,Nathaniel.I,Ron,just stopped by to say "too many cooks spoil the broth."This year,with the exception of "Winter's Bone,"I find the nominations inane.Of course,I am neither a writer nor a critic,and am here only because my wife,Miranda,is considering studying at USC,because her father is an alumnus.And,I felt,you know,some responsibility to inquire into whether or not Miranda would find the standards sufficiently high to warrant spending time there.That "Winter's Bone"was recognized is probably reason enough to give USC a pass.

However,I think Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal,given her academic credentials,would have found it effortless to have finessed nominations for "It's Kind Of A Funny Story,"and "Flipped."Both "cinematic adaptations"are extraordinary,and the original works well worth recognizing.The performances of Zach Galifianakis,Emma Roberts,and Keir Gilchrist,are some of the finest I saw this year.And the performances of Morgan Lily and Madeline Carroll,as Juli Roberts,recalled to mind,precisely,the way young love develops.

One of the reasons I found the nominations perplexing,I imagine,is because I did not bother to see "127 Hours"or "The Social Network."Because,from what I know,neither is a "true"story.And,from my perspective,bad history is not the kind of thing I desire to spend my time considering,unless there is a need.So,"The Ghost"and "The Ghostwriter"do not really make the grade,either.I saw "The Ghostwriter"before I knew the conceit.Kind of felt like I got hit by a speeding car.

Long before "Facebook"and Mr.Ralston's accident,there was Social Network Analysis,and Hugh Herr.There is a difference,an important difference,in the way we interact with the world,and each other.I think Mr.Ralston,the CIA,and Mr.Zuckerberg,are all really cool,but unlikely to make much impact on the world,regardless of what they believe.

Hugh Herr is awesome.

Joy to you,Rose.

January 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRon

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