Thursday, January 5, 2012

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The Third Guild Was Just Write

Keeping up with the Guild news, today we have the screenwriters chime in with their choices. The WGA nominations are always an occasion for annoyance. As Kris Tapley pointed out more than a month ago a great number of screenplays are disqualified every year, mostly due to some paperwork issues. I think I remember reading a couple of years ago that many are disqualified are not being written by Guild members. I don't think any other guild has this issue; certainly the DGA doesn't, for non-member Tarantino was recently nominated for Inglourious Basterds. Same screenplay was ineligible for the WGA Awards, and it had been seen as the front-runner up to that time.

This year, likely Oscar nominees left off the ballot included Albert Nobbs,  The Artist, Beginners, Rango and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Mind, I still think a few of those left in the running have good shots at the Big One, and I'll get into that right

50/50 - Will Reiser
Bridesmaids - Kristen Wiig/Annie Mumolo
Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen
Win Win - Tom McCarthy, story by McCarthy/Joe Tiboni
Young Adult - Diablo Cody

Tom McCarthy seems to be beloved by his fellow guild members, doesn't he? He's three-for-three with the WGA regarding his work, but the Academy usually fails to bite. Will Reiser's 50/50 is a warm, funny, touching film, and I'm quite pleased to see it getting some attention, both here and from the Globes. In my mind, it's between these two and Beginners for that fifth slot.

But let's get to the best choices here. Midnight in Paris and Young Adult represent high points in their writers' oeuvre; certainly this is the best thing Cody's offered us. And, of course, Bridesmaids' most promising shot was always going to be Screenplay, which is much kinder to comedy than the other categories. The evidence is right there: all five of the nominees belong in the genre...or are, at the very least, "light" dramas.

Looking forward to the DGAs to see where Bridesmaids and Midnight in Paris stand. So far, they are the only two to be name-checked by every Guild.

The Descendants - Alexander Payne/Nat Faxon/Jim Rash
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Steven Zaillian
The Help - Tate Taylor
Hugo - John Logan
Moneyball - Steven Zaillian/Aaron Sorkin, story by Stan Chervin

No big surprises here, except maybe Dragon Tattoo, which is sitting where I would have expected Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Seriously, what's the deal with that movie? Is it dead in the water, or is it going to The Reader us?

The Descendants, The Help and Moneyball now stand as the other three up for all the Big Guilds. Why The Descendants? Why why why? Such an unfocused, inconsistent, tone-deaf movie. The Help is flawed, certainly -- mostly because it more or less gives the Hollywood version of events instead of the complications of the book, in which Skeeter did have a reluctance to be near black men, her mom was unapologetically racist, and Celia Foote would never, ever be able to cook. But it does give more dimension, I feel, to the main villainess and gives her mother more to do. Hugo has an all right script, and Moneyball's greatest strength is the contribution of Zaillian and Sorkin. Good stuff here.

We'll just have to wait and see what the DGA gives us Monday.

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