Lovett, Meredyth and Marion were solo acts - the three ladies nominated here in 1983 had partners.
Barbara Benedek was mostly a television writer, married to Peter Benedek, who would later found UTA. She had written a number of unproduced plays and other scripts, one of which Lawrence Kasdan got a hold of; they collaborated on the screenplay for The Big Chill. No surprise that she nails the insecurities of these 30-somethings so truthfully: she was a psychiatric research assistant before entering TV.
|Ephron with husband Carl Bernstein|
Meanwhile, Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes were up for a teen thriller - they would be nominated again years later, but as producers for Best Picture nominee Awakenings. And Ingmar Bergman was up for a television mini-series he had whittled down to feature film length, his fifth screenplay nod.
Horton Foote won the Oscar for Tender Mercies, his first time writing an original work for the screen. He previously won Best Adapted Screenplay for To Kill a Mockingbird. Fun fact: he was nominated last year at the Primetime Emmy Awards for writing Bessie...six years after his death. Hollywood!
And should Foote have won? Find out, after the jump!
Barbara Benedek/Lawrence Kasdan for The Big Chill
*****Like spending a weekend with your friends, eight completely-realized human beings -- even Chloe, hell even Frank, are afforded enough complexity to make a real person. Frank, but never false; funny, but never trivial.
Ingmar Bergman for Fanny and Alexander
*****Now imagine that same depth brought to three families' worth of characters, plus servants, actors, tradesmen, etc., in a tale ruminating on family, religion, love, childhood, aging; with magic, ghosts, mysterious androgynes, living statues, and a wife so understanding she makes Harold and Sarah Cooper blush.
Alice Arlen/Nora Ephron for Silkwood
****This could have been a preachy political thriller, but the sermon is hidden within a very human drama about one reg'lar woman's fight for what's right. Plants seeds early, subtly, economically. And while the humor is never laid too thick, it's funny enough to wring deep belly laughs.
Horton Foote for Tender Mercies
***Unobtrusive. There's no rising action, really, just the quiet reality of this man, this family, these people. It could be you, it could be anyone - but it's a country singer. Doesn't announce its themes, doesn't wrap it all neatly with a direct message. You got to meet it halfway. Question is: is that subtlety, or absence of actual content?
Lawrence Lasker/Walter F. Parkes for WarGames
***Smarter than it has to be, accessible as it needs to be, funny as all get out. Spends time on all its characters, from the teenage hero to his parents to the men from Washington. A great speech scene, surprising twists, and genuine suspense.
Horton Foote won the Oscar for his first original screenplay -- but, my dears, I have to disagree! I think the Best Original Screenplay Oscar should have gone to...
FANNY AND ALEXANDER
Tomorrow: Best Original Score, featuring the music of Cross Creek, Return of the Jedi, The Right Stuff, Terms of Endearment, and Under Fire.
Friday: Cher, Glenn Close, Linda Hunt, Amy Irving, and Alfre Woodard duke it out in Best Supporting Actress.