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Friday, February 24, 2006

Countdown to Oscars - 7

Adapted screenplay

Brokeback Mountain” (Focus Features)Screenplay by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
Capote” (UA/Sony Pictures Classics) Screenplay by Dan Futterman
The Constant Gardener” (Focus Features) Screenplay by Jeffrey Caine
A History of Violence” (New Line) Screenplay by Josh Olson
Munich” (Universal and DreamWorks)Screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth

Original screenplay

Crash” (Lions Gate)Screenplay by Paul Haggis & Bobby MorescoStory by Paul Haggis
Good Night, and Good Luck.” (Warner Independent Pictures) Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov
Match Point” (DreamWorks) Written by Woody Allen
The Squid and the Whale” (Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures Releasing)Written by Noah Baumbach
Syriana” (Warner Bros.)Written by Stephen Gaghan

So, Syriana is the only movie here I haven’t seen, so just because of that, I’m going to rule it out. It ain’t gonna win just cause lil’ ol me hasn’t seen it yet (and really not sure if I plan to). In the Original Screenplay, Crash will win since it seems to be on the upswing, but not sure who really deserves it more.
Good Night, and Good Luck. would probably have my vote, but the most interesting parts of the movie for me were the old footage of the actual trials held by McCarthy. So does that count? Since those weren’t actually written? Hollywood loves actors and they LOVE George Clooney so this might be a dark horse winner.
Match Point would probably be my second choice because again, Crash to me was a little too derivative and had many imperfections and convenient coincidences, whereas Match Point was a glorious mesh of a few genres where we ended up rooting for the good/bad guy. Crash was extremely manipulative to the point we saw them manipulate us (a good movie won’t).
Meanwhile, the other over-hyped movie of the year was The Squid and the Whale. Personally, I thought it was a best-of-indie-movies film because it took every cliché in an independent movie and stuffed it all in. Divorce? Check. Bitterness with witty quips? Check. Kid with some taboo habit? Check. Stylist? None to be seen. Quirky music? Check. Even with the great Laura Linney, I found it boring and had been so done before. So, it probably goes back to Good Night, and Good Luck. for my choice.

In Adapted, Brokeback Mountain will probably win and deservedly so, for taking a short story and fleshing out a fully emotional film out of it. A great script doesn’t just mean an overabundance of fancy words, it’s the quality of the few words that can completely illustrate characters, time and situations that make Brokeback Mountain’s script great. Still, I know a few will argue me on that one.
Capote wasn’t the best picture of the year but it did have one of the best screenplays. Give it to Dan Futterman! Who knew someone on Judging Amy had it in them!
The Constant Gardener probably impressed me the most of the rest, and if this wins, it does so deservedly. I watched it and when I realized it was a John Le Carre book, I was even more impressed with the resultant movie.
The History of Violence almost equals in impressiveness with The Constant Gardener, with its well paced dialogue and story, though the final scenes with William Hurt seemed a tad too purposely comical, which I know was sort of the point, but felt somehow off from the rest of the movie.
Finally Munich, which was great for all the lines Tony Kushner put in, but felt WAY TOO slanted in my view to make it a GREAT script.

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