Friday, January 4, 2013

What is the BEST adapted screenplay from 2012?

Don't ask the Writers Guild of America. Because if a particular film wasn't made under the guilds jurisdiction and or a collective bargaining agreement in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.K.  then the film's screenplay wasn't even considered. The Writers Guild announced its nominations for Best Original, Documentary, and my raison d'etre, Adapted Screenplay.  Omissions in the adapted category include some fine writing but the Writers Guild won't be weighing in on these: Les Miserables, Beasts of the Southern WildThe Best Exotic Marigold HotelThe IntouchablesQuartet, Anna Karenina, and Rust And Bone. You can see the entire list at the Writers Guild of America site but here are the nominees from my favorite category. There were a total of 112 scripts considered, 44 were adapted, 68 were original. I've seen all of these and each one is fantastic in its own way. Who can choose?

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Argo, Screenplay by Chris Terrio; Based on a selection from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and the Wired Magazine article “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman; Warner Bros. Pictures
Life of Pi, Screenplay by David Magee; Based on the novel by Yann Martel; 20th Century Fox
Lincoln, Screenplay by Tony Kushner; Based in part on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin; DreamWorks Pictures
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Screenplay by Stephen Chbosky; Based on his book; Summit Entertainment
Silver Linings Playbook, Screenplay by David O. Russell; Based on the novel by Matthew Quick; The Weinstein Company

6 comments:

  1. How peculiar that some of the most notable films of the year are ineligible! Still, among those that made the short list, it's a tough call. How do you compare the pure fantastical story of LIfe of Pi with those others?

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    1. Wow! Life of Pi was so gorgeous to look at, and the story as mystifying as ever. Which IS the better tale? I was initially miffed they made Pi much older and I still think a younger boy would have been better but probably not feasible. I have to say Magee did a great job. Argo was fast and suspenseful and just hugely enjoyable- superb minimal dialogue from Terrio. Perks by Chbosky himself; okay, but not the same writing challenge the others faced. Lincoln soars but for me it's what Russell did with Silver Linings Playbook - making changes that held true to Quick's book but upped the ante - that is the most masterful. But I do tend to go for the more emotional experiences vs the purely intellectual. And Silver Linings Playbook is that.

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  2. I've seen all except Perks. But my main concern is, will the voters have read both the literary source and the screenplay and watched the film before they vote? That's only fair isn't it to decide if it's a good adaptation.

    Re. Life of Pi, in the book the boy while stranded at sea is 16 years old, in the movie he's played by 17 yr-old Suraj Sharma. So the age is very close.

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    1. How bizarre that I've been laboring under that misconception! Thanks for the correction.
      But no, there is no requirement that the voters read the source material - it would be lovely to think they had but obviously that would be impossible to police. In fact it's likely that the only requirement will have been a viewing of the film hence the many screenings all over town to give everyone a chance to at least see the projects under consideration.

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  3. I've only seen two of these movies, so my comment will be quite..... unqualified to the severest degree. BUT, having said that, I really enjoyed Life of Pi, screenplay and all. Overall, I liked the movie even better than the book, which is a rare thing for me. I think the movie made the overall story, and counter-story, more [I don't know] clear? It was a great movie.

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  4. I liked the movie better too - wasn't that opening spectacularly beautiful? I know I sat watching in a grinning trance like state. The best use of 3D so far, imho.

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