Tuesday, December 15, 2020

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1970, Day Nine: Original Screenplay

Let's get right to it, the nominees for (deep breath) Story and Screenplay Based On Factual Material Or Material Not Previously Published Or Produced:

Five Easy Pieces
Carole Eastman (as Adrien Joyce)
story by Bob Rafelson & Carole Eastman (as Adrien Joyce)
*****
Rafelson's first and only nomination in this category, Eastman's first and only nomination; Golden Globe nominee for Best Screenplay, WGA Awards nominee for Best Original Drama

Eases itself along, morphing from an observational non-narrative to road movie to family drama, ll steps in a character study whose shapelessness reflects Bobby's own search for a personal fulfillment, an identity, one not defined by all...this. Semi-farcical characterizations, depth grown and diminished according to Bobby's mood, keeps us in his mindset throughout, but never fully approves of his actions.

Joe
Norman Wexler
****

A working-class factory worker and better-off ad exec unite in their generational frustration. The exec just killed a pusher who led his daughter to an overdose. The factory worker is inspired, eggs him on to do more, turning the personal rage into an abstract vendetta: hippies, liberals, Blacks, the young, they're to blame for his unhappiness, not his own mediocrity. Unpleasant, but not unrealistic.

Love Story
Erich Segal
**
first and only nomination; Golden Globe winner for Best Screenplay; WGA Awards nominee for Best Original Drama

Superficial characterizations, memorable but unbelievable dialogue, contrived plot turns: it's the movie that has it all! The gold standard for approachable, inoffensive (despite the four-letter words beloved by the heroine) love stories, it is - I cannot stress this enough - very poorly written. And yet the final product is ultimately effective!

My Night at Maud's
√Čric Rohmer
***
first and only nomination; NYFCC Awards winner for Best Screenplay

Single men and women discussing math, sex and ethics, verbal sparring that are part of the dance of seduction. Two semi-consummations, one done when there is no more conversation to be had, the other when there is a mutual understanding, nothing more to say. It's a very smart script, though whether or not you think it's any good depends, I think, on your patience for such talk.

Patton
Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North
****
Coppola's first of five writing nominations, North's first and only nomination; WGA Awards winner for Best Original Drama

Not just a highlights-style biopic, but uses events to understand a man who loves war, believes he is the reincarnation of ferocious warriors throughout the history of mankind. A born fighter, but as his Nazi opponents say, he is lost without a war. I suppose it being Factual Material allows for its presence here, even though the credits cite two books as providing material.

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Patton, which even the 43rd Academy Awards' wikipedia page calls an Adapted Screenplay, won:


Honestly, my pick is pretty clear, and if it wasn't for category shenanigans putting, I'm sure this would've been the winner. Oh, God, unless Love Story...no. No, shut that away. My winner is:

FIVE EASY PIECES
by
CAROLE EASTMAN & BOB RAFELSON


Tomorrow, the nominees for Best Actor: Melvyn Douglas (I Never Sang for My Father), James Earl Jones (The Great white Hope), Jack Nicholson (Five Easy Pieces), Ryan O'Neal (Love Story) and George C. Scott (Patton).

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1 comment:

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