Eventually I became frustrated with bringing expectations from my readings to the movies, and so I've more or less stopped that. Still, it's worth trying again, especially when it comes to a year like this one - or indeed, a year like 1982. Because you never know just where the inspiration for an awards-worthy screenplay can come from....
They don't even have to come from books - they could be other films! Victor/Victoria is based on the 1933 German film Viktor und Viktoria; actually, it's the fourth version of that story, following the 1935 British film First a Girl and the 1957 German remake. Logan is inspired by the X-Men comics, yes, but it's mostly our understanding of Hugh Jackman's performance in 8 films over 17 years that informs the film.
In 1982, truth took the prize:
And what will happen in 2017? No idea, we'll talk about that next week. For now, a closer look at the nominees of 1982...
based on the novel by Lothar G. Buchheim
I always admire a war film that presents a realistic number of men in a platoon (or, in this case, u-boat) and can write every single one distinctly and sympathetically. As a script, though, it truly shines in the measured words of above-the-surface sequences: fathoms below, the men are honest; above, they smile and drink and joke while awaiting to tell you of your doom. Solid.
Costa-Gavras & Donald Stewart
based on the book The Execution of Charles Horman: An American Sacrifice by Thomas Hauser
Alan J. Pakula
based on the novel by William Styron
based on the novel by Barry Reed
based on the 1933 screenplay for Viktor und Viktoria by Reinhold Schünzel
Oscar voted for Missing, a terrific choice. And my personal vote...doesn't quite go that way...
(And as for the 2017 lineup....
Mudbound - *****
Logan - ****
Call Me By Your Name - ***
The Disaster Artist - **
Molly's Game - **)
Tomorrow: Best Supporting Actor, with the 1982 lineup of Charles Durning (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), Louis Gossett, Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman), John Lithgow (The World According to Garp), James Mason (The Verdict) and Robert Preston (Victor/Victoria).