Straight White Male Super Bowl 2016: The Oscar Nominees for Adapted and Original Screenplay

makeitsnowondem
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makeitsnowondem

make it snow is an alot of beer. He is also a Broncos fan living in Austin.
makeitsnowondem
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The Oscars are almost upon us, with all their unpredictability. You don’t need an oracle to tell you what will happen. You don’t even need a film critic. You need someone who sees into the very souls of the Academy voters. You need a Straight White Man.

Guys, yesterday was hell. I couldn’t get all my work shit done, and I sure couldn’t get this done in the gaps where I wasn’t actively trying to get all my work shit done, and the result is my first post-Open Thread. It’s fitting that I had all this trouble on the day I decided to talk about writing, because writing is hard and no one should attempt to  it, ever.

Before we get to the nominees, let’s pause to remember that Cary Joji Fukunaga’s screenplay for Beasts of No Nation was not nominated.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Big Short – The same basic argument for The Big Short has been made just about everywhere by now: Adam McKay took a book that ought to have been unfilmable, about a subject that no one understood and most people couldn’t be made to understand, and made it not just accessible, but one of the most downright entertaining films of the year, and maybe the most radicalizing. Most writers making a movie about the subprime mortgage crisis would have decided that trying to explain how mortgage-backed securities and CDOs work was a waste of time, dispensed with the specifics, and just told the audience that these were “bad bonds.” Adam McKay brought in celebrity cameos, Jenga towers, and metaphors about fish stew to explain why and how the bonds were bad, and the result was some of the best scenes in the entire movie.

Brooklyn – It’s hard to believe the same movie can be this sincere and this funny at the same time. The banter between Saoirse Ronan and her housemates makes for some of the film’s best and liveliest scenes; there’s an even better one, though that features her boyfriend Tony’s young brother gleefully disparaging the Irish to the animated disapproval of the rest of Tony’s family. What impressed me the most, though, was that the movie wasn’t afraid to bring the durability of Eilis’s relationship in America into genuine doubt, even before her return home. The seeds planted in that first half make her behavior in the second, which could easily have been frustrating and incomprehensible, seem human and relatable, if not exactly justifiable.

Carol – Almost all of Carol happens between the written lines of dialogue, or otherwise outside of them. It’s not that the characters don’t have important things to say, but they say the most with their eyes, with their body language, with their silences. The thing that earned this screenplay its nomination is an absolutely perfect story structure. The movie works almost like one very long joke, a two-hour setup for a single, sublime punchline. It’s the terror-horror dynamic applied, not to horror, nor to humor, but to romance, letting the tension build and build and at last relieving it in a final scene that’s excellent on its own strength and elevated to an all-time great movie moment by its context.

The Martian – I’m informed by an engineer friend that the book is even better than the movie. To that, I say: Thanks, Drew Goddard, for saving us all from the sort of adaptation that would have satisfied the engineers. A few of the best screenplays this year are notable for making potentially dry subject matter not just watchable, but positively riveting. The Martian shows enough of its work to have us impressed with the ingenuity of Mark Watney and his colleagues, but doesn’t get bogged down in showing all of its work.

Room – I had very little idea what to expect from Room when I started watching it. I had a vague sense of what it was about, really just enough to be perplexed when the movie resolved what appeared to be the primary plot conflict about halfway through. The first hour is tense, focused, and riveting, and the second half is like a completely different movie in the best way possible. There’s no longer a clear endpoint, and if that’s disorienting for the audience, it’s even more so for the two main characters. The ways in which they adjust—or don’t—are the source of the film’s biggest drama.

Will Win/Should Win: The Big Short.

Second Choice: Carol. I really, really don’t want to see this movie shut out, but I’m despairing to find anything I think it has a great shot at winning.

Upset Special: The Martian, which is currently getting 40:1 odds on the one site I checked. That’s ridiculous! Yeah, The Big Short‘s going to win. But if it somehow doesn’t, The Martian seems nicely positioned as a more conventional ensemble drama with a lot of snappy dialogue.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Bridge of Spies – Being a lawyer ruins cinematic courtroom drama. It makes you do things like watch the movie version of a Supreme Court oral argument and wonder why none of the justices have interrupted Tom Hanks yet. We’re worse than the engineers. If a lawyer had written this movie it would have been an hour of Tom Hanks objecting to leading questions, thirty minutes of Tom Hanks trying to convince the justices that a search incident to an INS administrative arrest without a separate search warrant violates the Fourth Amendment, and thirty minutes of Tom Hanks negotiating with Soviet and East German officials, and only that last thirty minutes might still have been okay to watch. As I alluded to in a previous post, bridges and walls serve as a recurring metaphor in this movie for communication and… well, stonewalling, the lesson being that the latter’s far more dangerous in the long run. It’s an apt—if not terribly new—observation about the Cold War, and it’s delivered with a deft touch.

Ex Machina – Can we talk, real quick, about what a great year Domhnall Gleeson is having? The man’s gotten to play opposite Best Supporting Actress nominee Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina, and opposite Best Lead Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan in Best Picture nominee Brooklyn. He’s in a second Best Picture nominee, The Revenant, that might be the favorite to win the top prize. And, oh, he’s also in Star Wars. The Ex Machina script makes him sort of an audience-surrogate, reacting to a sharply-written pair of charming-but-creepy characters in Oscar Isaac’s tech CEO Nathan and Vikander’s intelligent robot Ava. Ex Machina doesn’t offer any philosophical innovations when it comes to the subject of AI per se; it actually makes me think most of Her, one of my favorites from a couple of years ago. For all its futuristic trappings, Her was really a parable about all the ways we disregard our partners—romantic or otherwise—to make our relationships what we want them to be. It’s about the tension between getting what we need and want, and acknowledging the needs and wants of another real person. Ex Machina is what happens when you stretch that tension to its breaking point: Nathan wants to create an intelligence, but wants it to do what he tells it.

Inside Out Surprisingly mature even by Pixar’s standards, with an evidently near-universal appeal, Inside Out was one of my absolute favorites this year. The movie felt to me like a whole new way to think about how we think, as though Pixar drew a detailed, three-dimensional map not just of one preteen girl’s mind, but also of my mind, and everyone else’s too. The way the protagonist—Amy Poehler’s Joy, literally the personification of happiness—misdiagnoses and worsens the problem she’s facing is one of the best metaphors I’ve seen onscreen for dealing with sadness by repressing it; if there’s a close competitor, it’s probably last year’s The Babadook, of all things.

Spotlight – As a former copy desk chief for a college daily, I know better than to think that real newsrooms are exciting. Writing news is a slow, boring process, and reporting is worse, which is why I always preferred to just edit other people’s stuff. It’s also why I respect good journalism so much. Not because it’s “courageous” or whatever, but because it’s important and also really fucking hard to do right. Spotlight‘s script, thankfully, distills the often-tedious process down to a fast-moving newsroom procedural that highlights the tenacity of its real-life heroes and the exasperating inhumanity of the plot they exposed.

Straight Outta Compton – Because I’ve been performing this Straight White Man role for a very long time, I didn’t really know anything about NWA before seeing Straight Outta Compton, and so I’ve got no insight to offer on the historical accuracy of the film. When I watched Compton, it was like it was performing a juggling act with its characters, except all the balls are self-propelled and have very different ideas where they ought to be going. Every person in this film seems to be developing in a different direction, at a different rate, but they bounce off each other in believable ways.

Will Win/Should Win: Spotlight. Like turn-of-the-century German soccer, Spotlight is nearly perfect and you’ll have a hard time explaining to your friends why it’s entertaining.

Upset Special: Inside Out.

 

makeitsnowondem
makeitsnowondem
make it snow is an alot of beer. He is also a Broncos fan living in Denver.
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ThePirateSlothSill BimmonsfmwarnerThe MaestroMoose -The End Is Well Nigh Recent comment authors
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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

The field is once again VERY crowded for best unoriginal screen play.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
entropy

Whatever that is, I would have watched every second back during my Nitrous days in the mid-90s.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
entropy

This is one of those categories that is difficult to judge without reading the damn books or screenplays, particularly for Best Orginal SP. I did read The Martian novel, and I found it even more engaging than the movie, so a hearty Bill the Cat pthbthbtbbbbb to you for insulting that, Mistah Snow. Room was good but depressing as hell, and it kind of dragged for me (I can only be forced to understand someone’s journey to “normal” for so long before checking out, see Wild from last year). As the only other film I saw in Adapted SP was The Big Short, I have to say it accomplished its job masterfully, and should win the statuette here.

As for Best Original, again, the issue here is not reading the source material. You can only truly tell how well a screenplay accomplished its job by determining the difference between written word and finished product, and I have zero desire to read any of these save for Ex Machina, but that’s due to my love of SF handled well. I watched Spotlight, and it is thought provoking, moving, and engaging, but if I had anything physical in my hands that detailed that entire nightmare I’d probably use it to beat the nearest priest into a coma, so that’s right out. I’ll agree with you on your assessment here, however, and say it should and will win the Oscar.

Also: your control of the mouse in MS Paint is impressive, sir.

WhyEaglesWhy

I see what you’re saying about having to read the screenplay to really be able to judge. It’s hard to tell how much is the editor and how much is the writer when it comes to story structure and the pace/tension of individual scenes. I can only say that I naturally assume the screenplay is changed a good deal from what the writer wrote; whether it’s improvisation, last minute rewrites, or cuts, every movie evolves from what the writer turns in. Not to mention that some versions of screenplays available are the final studio script, and some are typed up after the fact to match the final cut. So I’m not sure how much value is placed on the written script by the voters.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

TEH FOARSE AWAKENS FOAR ALL TEH OSCARS BECAUSE ITS THE ONLY FILM I SAW IN 2015

http://images.fandango.com/images/tentpole/tie-fighter-attack.jpg

LOOGIT THAT SPLODIN STORM TROOPER FLY WOO

ballsofsteelandfury

That German soccer line should win some sort of award. Well fucking done!

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

Since I’m done with all my work today, I should totally build out a DFO Commentist soldier roster for Xcom2.

SonOfSpam

Can I be the devil-may-care private with a heart of gold who sacrifices himself for the greater good even though everyone assumes the opposite would happen?

Or maybe the angry minority who realizes the only way to achieve fairness in this platoon is to outperform my peers, and even then, they won’t let me fuck a white woman?

I have many ideas for military fanfic, but most of them involve trench orgies. Trorgies?

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

So THAT’S how Rex Ryan got trenchfoot!

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

Done

comment image

Teddy's Bridge Over Troubled Water
Teddy's Bridge Over Troubled Water

Ooh! Can I be the doe-eyed young private who’s in way over his head and dies almost immediately?

SonOfSpam

If it were a movie, your name would be Private I.M. Greenhorn and your first scene would be hugging your mom goodbye and promising you’ll see her “before the next harvest”

entropy

Don’t forget his best girl accepting his marriage proposal, and the two of them just closing on a house they can barely afford.

Teddy's Bridge Over Troubled Water
Teddy's Bridge Over Troubled Water

“No trorgies for me, no sirree! My Cindy would never approve of such lewd behavior!”

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

You died in the tutorial mission.

entropy

Can I be the bizarrely religious guy who quotes scripture about the sanctity of life while stabbing the shit out a faceless, nameless, dehumanized enemy? Because when role-playing, it is important to make your character different from you in fundamental ways.

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

Looks like your my ranger who stealthily runs all over the battlefield slicing aliens with a sword.

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

*you’re

laserguru

So basically Shia Labeouf from “Fury”?

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

Can I be the morphine-addicted Quaker medic torn between his hatred of war and his love for his country?

I think I can safely assume that I’ll be the only one auditioning for that role.

http://clintoncountyohio.com/blog-archive/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/quaker-oats-man.jpg

entropy

Ooooo we can have religious arguments while disemboweling the hated enemy!

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

Looks like your my Psionic soldier who comes in late during the resistance who is mentally unstable, yet super powerful and rips thru aliens and your fellow soldiers with mind powers.

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

God dammit, *you’re

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

The warriors known as “Crazies” are a cross between ninja masters and raving lunatics. They are trained warriors schooled in the arts of combat and athletics. Then they are augmented through the implantation of tiny electromagnetic devices placed in the brain.

http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/118204/Crazy2.jpg

Something like that?

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

I’ll get to your character, don’t worry.

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

All of these are great you guys.

Now I just have to figure out what everyone’s callsigns are. Are they your DFO name? Or is your DFO name your “real” name in the game, with a random callsign added.

I prefer the DFO name to be your callsign.

The Maestro

I’m gonna be the guy who you’re worried is entirely unhinged… he’s a one-man killing machine who doesn’t sleep and barely eats, but you’re making sure to stay on the good side of him just to be sure that he doesn’t end up pointing his gun in the wrong direction “accidentally” one day.

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

You’re made!

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

I know this one is not a known Led Zepplin song and I have posted it before. I just love it. Ok, I will no longer annoy this thread, have fun

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

I have gone 2 days without respecting the classics. Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter

BrettFavresColonoscopy

Playing that at a charity gig on Monday. Anyone in DC want to eat, drink, and listen to me drum for a good cause?

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

What’s the event? Maybe I can send a surrogate.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

Just private dick joke’d you some deets. Short answer is that it’s a breast cancer fundraiser at Madhatter.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

Drat. Not going to be in DC until Tuesday or Wednesday.

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

I climbed over my bed into my closet that is basically useless to try to find a cd from a band I am blanking on that is somewhere in my old collection. I failed. Eagles of Death Metal is better anyways

jjfozz

I’m wondering why Alvin and Chipmunks Road Trip has not even garnered a nomination.

I saw that masterpiece with my sons and nieces over the Xmas break, and it’s appalling that none of the actors got the nod – and I don’t have to spell it out for you why that happened, right?

#noanimalsatoscarnight

#chipmunksoverhollywoodhunks

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

#OscarsSoHuman

Teddy's Bridge Over Troubled Water
Teddy's Bridge Over Troubled Water

Inside Out was pretty great. Haven’t seen any of the others. Inside Out is clearly the best movie on the list based on my unbiased opinion.

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony. I saw this in the suggested when I went for an REM song, don’t worry it was probably one you hated and I will go back to them eventually even if it was

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

The Police – Roxanne

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

So many random things lead me to this. But I would be saying if I don’t love it

ThePirateSloth
ThePirateSloth

comment image

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

lying if I was* God I fucking hate having a keyboard that gets thrown on my bed between using it

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

I got shit to do today. I will continue with my distractions on your breaks. More Childish Gambino – Freaks and Geeks

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

That should have been “I don’t got shit to do today”, without inflection it doesn’t work

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

::Checks time:: Ok I don’t give a fuck. Childish Gambino and mcChris

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

Too much of this is accurate so I won’t give a %

The Right Reverend Electric Mayhem

“QUICK! We’ve got to object to this hearsay-within-hearsay within 10 seconds, or else Defense Attorney Hitler will DESTROY THE WORLD!!!!”

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

Also. I have seen 0 of these movies. Straight white guy is no help today

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

I can’t find people to go watch white people movies with me, and if I do it takes 2 weeks. I wanted to see SOC. As I mentioned the only cassette I owned in w cars was NWA. I guess I am asking if it is worth looking for it by illicit means

entropy

I enjoyed it.

SonOfSpam

As a former altar boy, I’m looking forward to seeing Spotlight, if only to see whether they got the sex scenes right.

jjfozz

Apparently they got Father Reech A. Round as a technical advisor.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

Banner quote?

ballsofsteelandfury

Definitely banner quote.

SonOfSpam

Aw, you guys just can’t resist a good molestation.

Joke. Molestation joke.