BEIJING, January 12 2012 - What is the importance of an original screenplay? Well, the top seven films of last year, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Hunger Games, Skyfall, Twilight, The Hobbit, and The Amazing Spiderman which together accounted for more than two and a half billion dollars of 2012’s domestic box office were all adaptations of previous material or sequels of some sort.
Originality in Hollywood is hard to come by. So let’s take a look at the refreshingly original nominees for Best Original Screenplay.
Five strong screenplays await the judgment of the Oscar Committee. But when it’s all said and done, this year’s contest comes down to two scripts, Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino and Zero Dark Thirty by Mark Boal. The two scripts share dense and layered dialogue, characters with distinct voices and an unconventional screenplay structure.
Another thing these two films have in common is that they are both nominated for best picture, revealing a sad but enduring truth: the merit of a screenplay goes hand in hand with the direction, acting and overall quality of the film. If the script is flawless but direction or cinematography is not up to par, sorry great screenwriter, but you won’t even receive a nomination.
Amour, written by Michael Haneke, is also nominated for best original screenplay and best picture, but Amour is a foreign language film and its chances for copping an award are lessened according to those same unwritten rules.
Thus I give the edge to Django Unchained. Coming off of his Golden Globe win, Quentin Taratino should have enough inertia behind him nab the Oscar. But watch for Mark Boal if you’re betting on the upset.
Amour by Michael Haneke
Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino
Flight by John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom by Was Anderson & Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty by Mark Boal
Our Winner: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Upset: Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
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