Monday, January 11, 2010

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Welcome, Surprises!

I am so sorry for the lateness of this, but I am a mere college student with neither Blackberry nor iPhone to assist me in these endeavors. BUT - be that as it may, I am still around to tell you what many of you have probably already heard: the nominees for the Writers Guild Association Awards.

Now, keep in mind that the WAG declared a great number of screenplays ineligible due to registration problems, paperwork stuff, bullshit. This means that many of the year's front-runners, scripts that will surely be represented at the Oscars, did not even qualify for a shortlist: Inglourious Basterds, An Education, A Single Man, The Road, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up, etc. So what we have here is...well, a surprise, certainly.

Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, A Serious Man
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, (500) Days of Summer
Josh Lucas & Scott Moore, The Hangover
Well, obviously the pleasant surprise here is The Hangover, which is hilarious. Avatar got in despite people citing the screenplay as its weakest element (still haven't seen it, though -- will the buzz kill my ability to judge it properly?). The Hurt Locker will win this and the Oscar. How happy am I to see two of my Top Five entries here? Very effin' happy.

Scott Cooper, Crazy Heart, from the novel by Thomas Cobb
Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia, from the memoir by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, from the novel Push by Sapphire
Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci, Star Trek, from the television series created by Gene Roddenberry
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air, from the novel by Walter Kirn
While Up in the Air and Precious were easy to see coming, it is a pleasant surprise to see Julie & Julia and Star Trek in the mix (haven't seen Crazy Heart, so cannot gauge excitement properly). Up in the Air will most likely win this, though secretly (well, not anymore now) I hope Julie & Julia pulls an upset. Alas, 'tis but a fancy of mine.

Of course, Fantastic Mr. Fox was ineligible, but no Public Enemies? Really? Not even a Bright Star?

When the Oscars come, The Hangover and Avatar will leave to allow Inglourious Basterds and Up in. An Education will get in instead of Star Trek for sure...but I could see the other four making it as well.


Univarn said...

I have to say I think The Hangover nomination here is a pander to mainstream crowds (who will never heard of it). Personally I felt the movie's site gags were funnier than anything it had to offer writing wise, which wasn't all that interesting (imo). I think they ended up making too many of the quality films ineligible and ignored far too many great foreign films this year (who are probably not eligible or members either). Shame.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Maybe the sight gags are written hilariously, though. Hopefully, that's how they're voting on them. Certainly, many great movies have unreadable screenplays, and it is clear that much of what makes a movie work are the director, the cast and the editor.

For instance, the screenplay for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (a movie I love) annoys me when reading it. The screenplay for Revolutionary Road (a movie I hate) is actually quite beautiful. The difference is in how they are handled.

Although I do think that The Hangover is, for lack of a better term, an actor's film. And I don't think they're pandering, just out of options ;).

Unknown said...

Public Enemies was a deeply-flawed film. Other than notable perfomances from Depp, Cotillard, and Billy it just felt like a series of costume changes with no substance. I was also irritated by the frequent chases/gun-shot scenes.......

Also, the fact that it was marketed to be a box office hit hurt its chances of gaining critical acclaim.

I already have my money down for Depp to get a nod for his turn as 'Mad Hatter."