Best Screenplay 2014

Which are the best screenplays of 2014?

Birdman (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo)
10
18%
Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
3
5%
Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman)
2
4%
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness)
14
25%
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)
3
5%
American Sniper (Jason Hall)
1
2%
The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)
4
7%
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
12
21%
The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)
0
No votes
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)
8
14%
 
Total votes: 57

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Sabin » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:35 pm

The Grand Budapest Hotel for sure. Birdman actually reads beautifully and erases some of my problems with the film itself. I'm reconciled to the fact that I'm never going to love this thing, but I'm giving a slight edge over Nightcrawler. Whiplash is my choice for Adapted. Really the only choice. I struggled with my viewing of Inherent Vice so much...but I have to concede that some of the difficulty I had came down to one scene between Joaquin Phoenix and Owen Wilson and how PTA directed it.

Best Original Screenplay
1. THE GRAND BUDAPTEST HOTEL, Wes Anderson [screenplay], Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness [story]
2. BIRDMAN, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Armando Bo
3. NIGHTCRAWLER, Dan Gilroy
4. BOYHOOD, Richard Linklater
5. FOXCATCHER, E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. WHIPLASH, Damien Chazelle
2. INHERENT VICE, Paul Thomas Anderson
3. THE IMITATION GAME, Graham Moore
4. AMERICAN SNIPER, Jason Hall
5. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, Anthony McCarten
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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby FilmFan720 » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:56 am

Wow, this is one lopsided slate of nominees here.

On the original side, there are three scripts I could easily vote for, and probably would most any other year: Nightcrawler, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel. I ultimately went with Grand Budapest, but wouldn't begrudge any of them on the stage (and I am with BJ...sad that Boyhood only has 1 vote here). These are 3 original ideas, told in original ways, with intelligence and creativity abounding. It's a little disheartening that they all lost to a film so heavy-handed as Birdman, but c'est la vie.

Among the other nominees that would have been worthy here: Love Is Strange, Only Lovers Left Alive, They Came Together, Mommy, Force Majeure, Selma, Land Ho! or even Mr. Turner. What an abundance of riches!!!

On the adapted side, I really wish I could move one of the Original nominees over and vote for it...or just abstain. None of these would have made my list, although the pickings were slim. I would have voted whole heartedly for Gone Girl or Wild, but both got left off at the last moment. I would also like to endorse my favorite animated film of the year, Big Hero 6, for being the smartest Marvel film yet, and the never-would-be-nominated clever action film Edge of Tomorrow.

Instead, I get to pick between this slate. Neither of the scientists biopics are novel enough to really warrant a pick here, although I will admit that among the competition, I have a hard time begrudging The Imitation Game its win. American Sniper is a slight step up, but the film really has nothing interesting to say and I feel like the strengths of the film overcame the script.

I thought about voting for Inherent Vice here, not because I love it, but to throw a bone to Paul Thomas Anderson. I doubt I'd vote for him in any of his other nominations. In the coming years, this could be where I go, as I feel like Inherent Vice is the kind of film we may begin to appreciate more as time goes by.

In the end, though, I went with Whiplash. Or, should I say, the first two-thirds of Whiplash. The film goes off the rails in the last third, if you ask me, and I found the ending tedious and too obvious, but there is a very interesting character study going on before that and I will place a vote of encouragement for Damien Chazelle. I will say this: I am more excited to see what he does next than any of these other writers (besides PTA).
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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Kellens101 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:29 pm

The Original BJ wrote:


The other four nominees are clearly deserving, I think, though I can't join the majority in picking the critical fave, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I think it's quite funny, full of Anderson's trademark wit and innovation. But I think the script dips at the finale, with a chase sequence that goes on too long, and contains some of Anderson's less appealing tendencies (an over-reliance on zaniness, a lack of interest in any recognizable human behavior). I wouldn't have been remotely bothered had it won, but nor is it my choice.


NOOOOOOOO!!!!! :(

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:05 pm

In great contrast to the Adapted slate, I wish I could vote for multiple options under Original, which has some very strong nominees. My major alt would have been Selma, for its compelling distillation of a political movement at a certain point in history while finding contemporary relevance along the way.

Foxcatcher has some very well-written scenes (the first Carell/Tatum meeting, Ruffalo's interview), but quite a bit of shapelessness in terms of narrative. Ultimately I didn't find that the filmmakers had worked out a very clear take on the climactic moment, and by extension, the entirety of what the movie was supposed to be about.

The other four nominees are clearly deserving, I think, though I can't join the majority in picking the critical fave, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I think it's quite funny, full of Anderson's trademark wit and innovation. But I think the script dips at the finale, with a chase sequence that goes on too long, and contains some of Anderson's less appealing tendencies (an over-reliance on zaniness, a lack of interest in any recognizable human behavior). I wouldn't have been remotely bothered had it won, but nor is it my choice.

Nightcrawler is the movie I most wish had done better -- I'd have nominated it across the board in the marquee categories. Thankfully at least the writers saved it from oblivion. It's an exciting piece of writing, with a handful of memorable characters, some great piercing speeches and one-liners, and a tantalizingly twisty plot line. But, for all the kick it provided, it's not quite as bold as the top two scripts here.

I could have voted with great enthusiasm for either Birdman or Boyhood -- in my opinion, either would have been the best winner in this category since Eternal Sunshine, and both are dazzlingly one-of-a-kind scripts. Birdman is full of great dialogue, sometimes funny, sometimes insightful, often both at the same time. And I have to give the group of writers tremendous credit for crafting a narrative that seemed to serve the film's visual trick rather than the other way around, while at the same time giving so many different characters opportunities to have great moments. I can't really come up with a reason why I WOULDN'T vote for it.

But I'm going to stick up for Boyhood here, and I see I'm the only person so far to do so. And it might be because I think the movie got a rather astounding dismissal from some in this category. Reading comments from people who essentially wrote off voting for the script because it was all improvised (or, in the words of that anonymous Oscar voter, the actors just showed up every twelve months and had the camera turned on them) really annoys the writer in me. There's no way an actor improvised something like the "I was somebody's daughter, and then I was somebody's mother" speech, or the countless other hugely insightful lines of dialogue that fill the movie. Sure, the script might not have all been formed in its current condition by the time production started, but that's filmmaking, and I'm less concerned by how Linklater got to his story than by the almost astonishing way he keeps this material engaging despite the fact that not all that much happens in plot-wise. So, a vote for the movie widely considered great, in my opinion BECAUSE of its writing.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:55 pm

I don't think any of the Adapted Screenplay nominees deserve an Oscar. My top choice would have been Wild, for its moving and skillful blend of flashback, fantasy, and voiceover. After that, I'd cite Still Alice, a small film but a powerful and well-detailed one. I also rate Gone Girl above any of the nominees as well -- it really went off the rails for me at the end, but much of it juggles an interesting mix of tones and features some knotty plotting. And though I don't really consider Under the Skin primarily a writer's movie, it was far more compelling overall than the competition.

I kept waiting for a scene in The Theory of Everything that DIDN'T remind me of a similar scene in countless other movies. I'm not sure I ever really got one.

I think American Sniper's biggest flaws are at the content level, namely that I didn't think there was much. I felt like I was watching Mark Boal-lite without the careful structure or compelling subtext.

I found the code-breaking portion of The Imitation Game the most engaging, but other portions of the script struck me as completely unnecessary (every childhood flashback) or absolutely necessary but fairly bowdlerized (everything post-war.)

Whiplash has some well-written dialogue scenes, but too much of the narrative stretched believability to me, and by the time we got to the ending sequence, I thought it had pretty much gone overboard into preposterous land.

Large portions of Inherent Vice were completely incomprehensible to me, and I found it a fairly trying movie to get through. But, Paul Thomas Anderson deserves an Oscar more than anyone else here, and I think at its best moments, his script's ambition outclasses the competition. Plus, it's the movie I'm most looking forward to revisiting, and the one I could see enjoying more down the road depending on my mood. It gets my vote, under duress.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Kellens101 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:34 pm

I've thought over Best Adapted Screenplay quite a bit again, that maybe I gave the wrong movie my vote. Inherent Vice may be a little too aimless and confusing of a film/screenplay, while Whiplash is a much more focused piece of writing. Though it has some plot holes here and there that don't entirely fit the logic test, it's still a very good movie and one of the year's best. I therefore change my vote for Adapted to Whiplash, with apologies to Paul Thomas Anderson, who is a great director that sadly lucked out this time compared to his previous films.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Kellens101 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:19 pm

The Original crop was far better than the Adapted slate. It comprised of my four favorite movies of the year and even the least worthy was better than The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game. The main omissions for me that I would have included were A Most Violent Year, a very well-written crime drama that evoked many late-1970s films of that kind, and Mr. Turner, a wonderful biography that was sadly overlooked my awards groups besides its detailed costumes, it's well-crafted production design and above all, its gorgeous cinematography. I wish this film had gotten more nominations, including the screenplay.

The worst of the bunch isn't even bad: Foxcatcher. I thought Bennett Miller's story of the insane John DuPont and the slow build to David Schultz's murder. I thought the story was well-thought out with a chilly sense of atmosphere and decently-drawn characters. But I thought it had some narrative problems(mainly not much of one) that prevented me from fully enjoying it, but it was mostly a good movie and a breath of fresh air compared to blander biopics like The Imitation Game and even blander biopics like The Theory of Everything.

The remaining four nominees are all excellent and would've been happy with a win by all of them. All four of them were great films with exciting top-notch screenplays. My ultimate choice was a very hard one to make.

I feel bad putting Boyhood second-to-last because I loved the film. It was full of a lot of warm, funny, relatably honest dialogue as it charted the life of this young boy turning into an adult. The exchanges between the characters are hilarious, smart and very moving throughout and I am fully happy to praise this movie as one of the best of the year, even if I ultimately don't vote for it.

Nightcrawler was a movie that worked on quite a few levels. It was a dark comedy about a psychotic sociopath who got his way by manipulating others simply because, he had nothing better to do. It was a satire on the ethics of news and journalism and how people go overboard for ratings(much like the 1976 masterpiece Network.) It was also an exciting thriller with exhilarating and tense suspenseful set pieces(especially the final chase sequence, but also the home invasion scene.) I thought it was a great movie and also a great screenplay that had many aims and accomplished all of them successfully. I'm glad Nightcrawler got this one nomination, even if it deserved more.

My vote comes down to the two great screenplays of the year: The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman. Both were exciting, original and moving pieces of film. It's a very hard decision to pick one of them, but since I have to.....

The Grand Budapest Hotel was a zippy and fun adventure to a imagined world that only Wes Anderson could pull off this well. The plot moves so fast and is full of so much witty dialogue, enjoyable exchanges and by the end, poignancy that puts this film above Anderson's previous mediocre works such as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited(and even very good, if not great, ones like Rushmore and Moonrise Kingdom) and puts it along with The Royal Tenenbaums, a movie that was until this one, Anderson's best film and his masterpiece. I loved this movie so much and thought it was a perfect, enjoyable, hilarious, meticulously-crafted and cleverly inventive ride into Wes Anderson's magnificently created world of Zubrowka.

But, my choice is ultimately Birdman: the best film of the year and a complete package of amazing elements. The script is definitely one or them with its clever, profound, and moving dialogue. So many of the film's lines were genius and the whole brilliant plot congealed into a story that explored so many complex themes such as fame, loss of stardom, redemption, depression, and so much more. This was my favorite film of the year and even with 3 other excellent nominees and a boatload of good, if not as good, screenplays, my vote for the best screenplay of the year goes to this masterpiece, Birdman.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby CalWilliam » Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:36 am

At least in Original we have something to make consideration of.

First to go is Nightcrawler, a movie I simply don't get. If new "cult movies" in America are going to be like this one, I give up. Drive was much better, just for make a comparison. And this script is a tiresome service to Jake Gyllenhaal's presumably great performance. I didn't even want to discuss this movie at all.

Foxcatcher does have a coherent screenplay, and it succeeds in what it's pretending since the beginning. A three way relationship with an insane atmosphere, never showing but suggesting, and thank heaven, it's subtle, but in the end nothing I'm exited to vote for considering the competition.

The Grand Hotel Budapest is kind of frustrating. I mean, it starts wonderfully, but the last hour becomes into naïf, hysterical, childish and pointless territory. Maybe I didn't understand Anderson's vision or intelligence, but seeing the movie I always have the feeling it could have been great, and it's not. I mean, being inspired by the great Stefan Zweig is a big deal. Of course, that nostalgic feeling and that sense of a lost and last Europe is beautifully achieved, and Ralph Fiennes's character is a truly gem, but this is not enough.

Boyhood is a success. Period. You may like it or hate it, adore it or appreciate it, but Linklater has suceeded in what he was pretending. I don't love Boyhood at all, but it's a unique movie which feels real, moving and utterly boring, yes, as life itself sometimes.

But Birdman is the best film of the year and its screenplay a joy. Intelligent, funny, satirical, acid, sad, critical, chaotic, improvised and absolutely planned. It could have been a disaster, but it's not. It's impossible for me not to vote for Birdman here.


The Adapted category this year is almost dreadful, but I'd say it's not even respectable. Why American Sniper's script is nominated here is beyond me. I know there's no point on comparing movies, but everything Sniper has to offer in a narrative way has been developed in The hurt locker with much more depth and intelligence. A waste of a spot, as The theory of Everything is, though it's not that a disappointing script as A beautiful mind's one, but what does it have to offer? It's a question I can't answer.

Then we have Whiplash, a effective and well crafted movie considered as a masterpiece by many people in the social networks. Ok. If they were musicians they'd change their minds. It's solid, it's entertaining, it has some good intentions, but it's cliche after cliche, and the screenplay is not its best aspect.

I admire Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, There Will Be Blood and The Master, and he is a talented man worthy of an Oscar, maybe an Oscar is not enough for him, but Inherent Vice is such a mess I can't even considerer a vote for this (I suppose) solid effort (I can't remember anything in the movie except from the beginning). In such a weak category as this one, this nomination for him is weird indeed. He's is misplaced. Maybe I need to rewatch the movie, but really? I don't know.

But my vote goes to Graham Moore, in what I think is the less bad screenplay of this line-up. It's a solid movie, a moving one, and the three temporary lines are quite well balanced, and that's thank to the screenplay, but it's also superficial with its characters drawing, it's far from being brave in many senses, and the dialogues are sometimes shameful, and then there's that three times delivered catchphrase, a redundant catchphrase even: a horrid choice. But in the end The Imitation Game gets my not enthusiastic vote.
Last edited by CalWilliam on Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Precious Doll » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:00 am

Oh my. I have yet to see Inherent Vice but none of the other 9 screenplays are worthy of a win so I'll pass on this one too.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Kellens101 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:16 pm

In Adapted, it was a very weak field. My top choice wasn't even nominated: Wild. I found that to be a very good adaptation, portraying Strayed's long journey and in-between gracefully flashing back to her troubling past.The script was incredibly funny, sad and inspiring. It's a shame this script wasn't nominated, but there wasn't much enthusiasm for the movie other than the two actresses nominated. I also thought Still Alice and Gone Girl were some good adaptations that failed to be nominated. The former did an excellent job of portraying the heartbreaking situation of Alzheimer's and how one woman and her family overcome this. It was a very sensitively written and realistic screenplay that fortunately didn't use over-the-top cliches in its story, as some lesser movies do. Gone Girl wasn't the best script of the year, due to some plot holes and an ending that really tries to hit home it's dark comedy tone and satire of marriage but wobbles, but it was overall a very funny, startling and meticulously constructed script. Even with its flaws, it was still a far better script than The Theory of Everything.

The worst of the lot was definitely The Theory of Everything. I thought this was a very uninspired adaptation, bland and lacking any narrative invention or surprise. I didn't hate the movie or anything, and I did find some scenes touching. But it was something I'd seen plenty of times before and the screenwriter is mostly to blame for this hopelessly square movie.

I thought The Imitation Game was a bit like that as well, only better. I enjoyed the film, but did not think it was anywhere near the year's best and neither was the screenplay. The story is treated with a lot of intelligence and poignancy in its story of Turing's fight to break the Enigma code, while also battling his inner demons of homosexuality. But, while it was a solid adaptation, it certainly was nothing special and didn't consider voting for this at all.

American Sniper was a very well made film about the life of Chris Kyle. I thought the script did a good job at depicting his early life in brief glimpses, then barreling into his romantic life and his harrowing missions in Iraq. I also didn't think there was anything startlingly original in this adaptation either, but it had more effort than something like The Theory of Everything. A good nominee, but nothing more.

My vote comes down to the two remaining movies. I don't have an overwhelming choice since this category is very weak. But they were both movies that had quite a lot of merits, as well as a few weaknesses. These weaknesses didn't destroy the movie or anything, but definitely made these films a bit troubled script-wise.

I enjoyed Whiplash more, because it was a hugely exciting, dynamic and energizing film. This film took a premise that was fairly generic,an ambitious drummer strives to make his teacher proud and fulfill his dreams, and turns it into an exhilarating, edge-of-your-seat story of this ambition. Obviously, J.K. Simmons character had to be well-written enough for him to soar to those remarkable heights and there is some pretty good writing. But, as said in other threads, there were some pretty major plot holes. The whole ending set-up is very troubling, as it is pretty illogical. Also, the girlfriend storyline didn't really need to be there, as it didn't really add up to anything. Overall, the film was still an energized, exciting thril but those flaws prevent me from voting for it.

Inherent Vice was definitely a movie that divided people. No one thought it was a masterpiece(nor did I), but some people were a bit too critical. It's a movie that some won't get and will find frustrating with its dense and "pointless" storytelling, but I thought even if it wasn't one of the best of the year, it was still a funny, poignant and quirky 1970s noir of drugs, Los Angeles paranoia and stoned private eyes. The dialogue is funny and the film's oft-confusing multiple plot lines are faithfully adapted from Pynchon's novel. The movie really depicts the drug-hazed milieu of 1970 Los Angeles with its hippies, famous LAPD policemen, insane dentists, and lovable detectives like Doc Sportello. I'm making this movie sound a bit better than it is. I thought it was better than The Theory of Everything, but ultimately it gets a bit too confusing and purposely off-putting by the end. Ultimately not a completely successful movie and one that certainly isn't on the level of Paul Thomas Anderson's greatest masterpieces or even The Master, but it was still original and fun, which is something you can't say for movies like the Stephwn Hawking biopic. Therefore my vote goes to Inherent Vice, the best of this sorry lot.
Last edited by Kellens101 on Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:08 pm

nightwingnova wrote:How to we "re-vote"? And does it apply to previous polls too?

Big Magilla wrote:I added re-voting capability so that anyone who wants to vote without having seen all the nominees can do so with the option of changing his or her vote later.


To re-vote you simply check off your new selections and the system will change your vote. You can do it for any of the previous polls for which we have allowed that option.

If you come across one that will not allow it, let me know and I'll consider allowing the option for that poll.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:07 pm

I voted for Nightcrawler and The Imitation Game.

I'm not crazy about The Imitation Game but I think it's the best of the three nominees I've seen and the usurper Whiplash which is really an original script. It was classified by the Academy as an adaptation because the ten minute or so except from the script that was filmed to sell the film to producers was filmed first. I've not seen Inherent Vice so I may be changing my vote if I'm as expressed as some of you seem to be.

I thought Nightcrawler was the best of some very good original scripts and it gets my vote over Boyhood, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel which I think were slightly better films overall.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:35 pm

How to we "re-vote"? And does it apply to previous polls too?

Big Magilla wrote:I added re-voting capability so that anyone who wants to vote without having seen all the nominees can do so with the option of changing his or her vote later.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:01 pm

I added re-voting capability so that anyone who wants to vote without having seen all the nominees can do so with the option of changing his or her vote later.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2014

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:55 am

Since we're voting on screenplays in reverse years, it's OK to do this now but don't expect a lot of responses as not everyone has seen all the nominees and most will not vote until they have.


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