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{random film-ness} A Netflix queue inspired by Oscar-nominated screenwriters

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A script plays a pivotal role in the period thriller Argo. © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

A script plays a pivotal role in the period thriller Argo. © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Being a writer, the Oscar screenwriting categories are always a highlight of Oscar season for me. I love the opportunity it gives me to go back and discover other films the writers have worked on, and the extra minutes of fame it gives the original brains behind the stories we’ve been dissecting and comparing obsessively.

In the adapted screenplay category, Argo‘s Chris Terrio, Beasts of the Southern Wild‘s Lucy Alibar and director Benh Zeitlin, Life of Pi‘s David Magee, Lincoln‘s Tony Kushner, and Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell will compete for 2012 bragging rights. My personal favorite in this category is Alibar and Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern WildThe first-timers adapted Alibar’s original play and created an entirely unique and believable world in their tightly themed screenplay. I think David Magee might have an edge in this category, though, because so many people called Life of Pi (by Yann Martel) an un-adaptable book…he may get Herculean-effort points. And Kushner managed to make legislative bargaining with a foregone conclusion suspenseful and visually compelling…so I’m split on which way to bet. Thoughts?

The original screenplay contenders are Amour‘s director Michael Haneke, Django Unchained‘s director Quentin Tarantino, Flight‘s John Gatins, Moonrise Kingdom‘s Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Mark Boal. Oooof, guys. This one is tough. First of all, I would’ve liked to see Looper‘s Rian Johnson in this category, so I’m bitter I can’t bet on him. I haven’t seen Amour or Flight, yet, so I’m working with incomplete information. Quentin Tarantino has such a distinctive and idiosyncratic voice. Moonrise Kingdom was pure delight and should get some gold outta this season, and this is its only chance. And Mark Boal wrote a remarkably objective, deeply researched, and non-vengeful script about the manhunt of our era. You know what? Typing that last sentence out got me to my decision. I’m hoping Boal takes this statue home for combining investigative journalistic craft with visual storytelling know-how.

Check out these screenwriters’ other films streaming on Netflix and don’t forget to enter up to win one of two 6-month Netflix Streaming subscriptions every day until January 31! 

David O. Russell

Flirting with Disaster

Michael Haneke

The Piano Teacher

Code Unknown

Funny Games

Quentin Tarantino

Jackie Brown

Four Rooms (directed along with Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell)

Reservoir Dogs

John Gatins

Coach Carter

Wes Anderson

Bottle Rocket

Rian Johnson (because he should be on here)






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Sarah Magill

Sarah Magill has a full-time movie habit made possible by a day-time greeting card writing gig. She blogs at Gimme Some Film and is learning to write scripts and direct. She tries to balance her screen obsession with trail running, jazz singing, book clubbing, and hanging out with The Best Golden Retriever Ever, Copa.

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0 comments on “{random film-ness} A Netflix queue inspired by Oscar-nominated screenwriters”

  1. I’d have to go with Moonrise Kingdom from this year’s list, though I still haven’t seen Amour. I’m here to say that Looper’s writing achievement was approximately 43.8 times better than Flight.

    • Ha! Not having seen Flight, I can’t confirm your estimation, but it sounds about right. Moonrise Kingdom is a fine choice. I think it should have been up for production design as well. Sigh.

  2. I finally saw Silver Linings Playbook last night. Let’s just say that – twice – I considered leaving. The last movie I can remember wanting to walk out on was Pan’s Labrynth. I know that a lot of people like both of these movies (Silver Linings is 92% fresh!), but during both of these movies I couldn’t figure out why I was watching it.

    I also must say that Silver Linings actually beat out Skyfall for my “Most Predictable Film of 2012” Oscar. ;)

    • OK, it makes me feel better that you felt that way about Silver Linings. I’ve been trying to figure out what my problem was when so many other people liked it. (I did like Pan’s Labirynth, though!) I need to dissect my negativity a little more. There were moments I liked, but they didn’t hang together for me. Yes, definitely predictable.

    • **SPOILERS**
      I can tell you why I didn’t like it, besides its predictable outcome. 1. Non of the characters, though well-acted, were terribly likable. 2. The film’s window-dressings were all things I don’t care about: football, gambling, and dance. 3. The cop kept showing up and threatening to put him back in the hospital, but it never even came close to happening, so that was empty tension. 4. As the main guy became miraculously “healed,” the rest of the characters digressed into further insanity, to the point of caricature. Characters should deepen as the movie develops – not flatten. 5. It was really just a whole lot of desperate yelling. I wanted a break from all the yelling and talking. I don’t recall one straight visual in the whole film. Ok – maybe the awkward individual photo portraits of the boys by the front door. (Which made no sense btw because he apparently used to be overweight, so why is he skinny in the picture??) I thought it was a hot mess.