Best Original Screenplay 2013

What was the Best Original Screenplay of 2013?

American Hustle - Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
0
No votes
Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen
1
4%
Dallas Buyers Club - Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
0
No votes
Her - Spike Jonze
18
72%
Nebraska - Bob Nelson
6
24%
 
Total votes: 25

Mister Tee
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Re: Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:05 am

Inside Llewyn Davis clearly belongs on this slate, and for me it's a toss-up whether Dallas Buyers Club or Blue Jasmine should be the one to go to make room. (Ideally, both would go, and Nicole Holofcener would get some career recognition for Enough Said)

Dallas Buyers Club is a perfectly decent HBO movie -- in that venue, it would probably have swept the Emmys. But it's a limited piece of work, elevated by one solid performance (McConaughey) and one pretty exceptional one (Leto).

Blue Jasmine too is enhanced by performances, and it, too, is lacking in the writing department (apart from creating those characters). The script's shameless situation-steal from Streetcar alone makes it lesser work, and even as a simple piece of craft it has major issues (chief among them, no ending). I realize Allen gets writing nominations the way John Williams does for composing, but it still strikes me very odd he was passed over for the far more creative Vicki Christina Barcelona ad then cited for this.

I could have happily seen wins by any of the remaining three films -- and would also gladly have voted for them over any contenders on the adapted side.

I'll never understand why so many reacted so venomously to American Hustle -- maybe the film's NY Critics' win pushed expectations too high before anyone had had a chance to see it? I think it's a terrific, wide-ranging piece of work that's got social bite along with sharp humor. I think it might have swept the boards in any number of recent years, and had rather ill luck to come along in such a competitive year.

Even though the script for Nebraska was written by Bob Nelson, it feels fully like an Alexander Payne film, and Payne at his best (which for me is very high praise). The film succeeds precisely where The Descendants faltered: encompassing serious, even sad subjects, but keeping the humor flowing at a perfect pitch.

Like most, I end up voting for Her, but it's a near thing for me. I wonder if the out-there nature of the premise makes the film seem more original than it deep down is: except for the A.I. element, it's a fairly conventional love story. But it's such a compelling, moving love story, with beautiful scenes (not only between Phoenix and vocal Johansson, but also Phoenix and Adams) that it rates a vote regardless. A fine choice in a very fine year for original screenplays...one I fear we won't come close to repeating for a while.

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Re: Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:14 pm

A pretty deserving list this past year, though I definitely lament the exclusion of Inside Llewyn Davis, which I think is one of the Coens' best films -- full of oddball characters and dialogue, but also deeply moving moments, and with a pretty nifty screenplay structure. It should have easily made the list.

I don't dislike Dallas Buyers Club the way some did -- obviously the two central characters had to be well-written enough for McConaughey and Leto to reach the heights they did -- but it's definitely not the type of movie I think of when I think of boldly original scripts.

Blue Jasmine was perfectly deserving as a nominee, for gifting Cate Blanchett such a glorious central character, and for the flashback structure that helped bring out the film's most interesting reveal near the climax of the story (i.e. how Alec Baldwin's character gets caught). But Woody Allen's occasional late-career laziness also popped through -- once Blanchett starts dating Sarsgaard, you know the shoe has to drop at some point, but did the scene where it happened have to be as obvious as the one we got? I also think the resolution isn't completely satisfying, like Woody forgot to write an ending to his film. A respectable nominee, but no more.

The other three nominees would all have been very worthy winners, I feel. American Hustle is probably my favorite David O. Russell movie, full of a gaggle of memorable characters spouting delicious dialogue in a wildly entertaining plot. And, as I said in an earlier thread, I thought the movie wasn't just lightweight laughs either, but featured full-bodied characters whose struggles were as moving to me as they were humorous. I salute the screenplay for juggling so many characters and narrative lines with such ease...though I do feel like the script maybe could have done a better job at corralling some of its own inherent chaos. At times, it seems like the movie could care a bit more about communicating the particulars of its own plot to the audience. I'd have been happy with a win, but it doesn't get my literal vote.

Given how well Nebraska did overall, at least for this type of movie, it's a bit surprising the script didn't ever really seem to be in play for the actual win. I think it's a real gem of a screenplay, full of scenes that are so touching and human (i.e. the woman reminiscing in the newspaper office, Dern and Forte in the truck after visiting the sweepstakes company), as well as those that are laugh-out-loud funny (i.e. Squibb at the cemetery, Dern and Forte searching for the teeth). It's a testament to the strong writing that such wide tonal disparity all seems of a piece. I also thought, for a somewhat small movie, it covered a lot of thematic ground -- the story is about one specific family, but also every small town across America. It, too, would have been a worthy choice.

But for originality, I'm going to pick Her for the win. It sets up a peculiar concept, and consistently finds ways throughout its running time to take this conceit in interesting, deepening directions. Spike Jonze finds plenty of humor in the situation, but never resorts to easy punchlines -- while watching the movie, I kept asking myself, is this a comedy that just feels really emotional, or a drama that's consistently making me laugh? Either way, for its narrative inventiveness, and for the way it uses this invention to plumb real truths about relationships and modern living in an increasingly tech-dependent world, I endorse the actual winner in this category.

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Re: Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby Sabin » Sat May 17, 2014 1:54 am

Despite the fact that I kinda love Nebraska (really want to see it again), I find myself agreeing with Eric who hates it. Nebraska's screenplay is strong, while the screenplay for Her is its biggest liability. It's still going to get my vote.

1. HER, Spike Jonze
2. NEBRASKA, Bob Nelson
3. DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
4. BLUE JASMINE, Woody Allen
5. AMERICAN HUSTLE, David O. Russell, Eric Warren Singer
Last edited by Sabin on Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby Eric » Wed May 14, 2014 10:37 am

Have seen all five. Consider Her's screenplay more problematic than its direction and performances, but also think that its conceptual premise is underrated as a tenet of its screenplay. A ludicrously easy vote over the rest of this field. The closest runner up would likely be American Hustle, but there's no reason to continue down that road. (Also, as much as I loathed Nebraska, I will admit its screenplay was one of its greatest assets.)

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Re: Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby OscarGuy » Wed May 14, 2014 10:29 am

Or, it could be that no one gives a shit to post a comment. Polls don't have to incite discussion. It's great if they do, but there is no requirement that you post a comment when you vote. I often vote without comment because I've spent months commenting on the races and get tired of having to do it.
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Re: Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby ITALIANO » Wed May 14, 2014 9:34 am

Big Magilla wrote:That's precisely why some people vote anonymously. They don't want to be ridiculed as THESE or THOSE people as though their opinions were somehow less important, less thoughtful or even less intelligent than those who vehemently disagree.



Well... but I ridicule (or rather criticize) them BECAUSE they are anonymous. Plus, ridicule or not, if one is really convinced that he's right, why should he be so afraid?

It's exactly this kind of silent majority that I can't stand.

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Re: Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby Big Magilla » Wed May 14, 2014 8:58 am

That's precisely why some people vote anonymously. They don't want to be ridiculed as THESE or THOSE people as though their opinions were somehow less important, less thoughtful or even less intelligent than those who vehemently disagree.

Anyway, some people who do comment, vote early and post their comments later so we should end up with a little more detailed analysis of why the vote is going the way it is.

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Re: Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby ITALIANO » Wed May 14, 2014 8:32 am

That nine have already voted for Her without - with the exception of Big Magilla - admitting it shows which kind of people can vote for such a screenplay.

Still, the difference today is that THESE people influence the Academy. t's possible that they haven't even seen the other nominees - some may even have not seen Her - yet they now play an important role in the Oscar race and outcomes.

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Re: Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby mlrg » Wed May 14, 2014 3:59 am

voted for Nebraska

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Best Original Screenplay 2013

Postby Big Magilla » Tue May 13, 2014 8:05 pm

This will be the final poll before we get to the big one - Best Picture and Director of 2013.

What constitutes a good screenplay? Sharp dialogue? Originality? Believability within the confines of the story? All of these really and all this year's nominees had all three qualities to an extent but one stood head and shoulders above the others.

We know Woody Allen can write snappy dialogue and strong scenes but not all of his films are equal to the sum of their parts. Blue Jasmine is no exception. The dialogue is sharp and funny, the acting strong, but most of the characters and their situations seem more like caricatures than real people living real lives. A for effort; B for execution.

American Hustle uses the background of a real 1970s scandal, but the characters and their situations are only partially based on real people and their situations in the Abscam scandal. A for effort; B for execution.

Nebraska is a compelling study of a slightly demented old man and his crazy idea that he won a million dollars against all logic to the contrary. The screenplay evokes a time and place that was twenty or thirty years ago but one that hasn't really changed all that much. A for effort; A for execution.

Dallas Buyers Club evokes a time and place that wasn't all that long ago but which the world seems to have forgotten and needs to be reminded of; a time when the political establishment turned its back on sick and dying AIDS patients. A for effort; A for execution.

The cream of the crop, though, is Spike Jonze's Oscar winning screenplay for Her, a quirky tale of a lonely man who falls in love with his operating system. The film raises many unanswered and perhaps unanswerable questions about life and love in modern times. A+ for effort; A+ for execution.


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