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And the winner might be… part two

Paul Peterson

There are so many things that go into making a great film. I think it all starts with writing. You have to tell a good story. If you don’t believe me, watch a Transformers sequel. More money than Ireland, but terrible to watch. Cringeworthy.

Take a little movie like Hotel Marigold with no special effects, just a charming tale and you don’t want it to end. Writing. Forest Gump. The Sixth Sense. Shawshank Redemption.
Pick a really good film and it has some very talented writing attached to it. Ye,s even Stephen King but with a great screenplay attached.
There are two kinds of writing for the movies that are honoured by the Academy Awards (Feb. 24 this year): Best original screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay based on an original work. Both have their own specific skills. Both deserve recognition.
The nominees for Best Writing/Adapted Screenplay:
Argo – Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild – Lucy Alibar and Behn Zeitlin
Life of Pi – David Magee
Lincoln – Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook – David O Russell
These are some heavy hitters in the world of writing and adaptation.
Tony Kushner is Speilberg’s “write”- hand man and his CV reads like a Top 10 all time. David O RUssell  is interesting on a good day. He helmed Three Kings, which was surprsingly good, I Heart Huckabees which was odd, but clever and Flirting With Disaster before taking the reigns on Silver Linings Playbook. This film is gaining some momentum and it’s the movie everyone loves and so he has a shot, but for me, the winner is David Magee for Life of Pi. It was a great book, meant to be read and to be experienced one-on-one between the author and his audience. To have taken that story and turned it into a film that has mainstream appeal is nothing short of amazing.
I don’t know the work of Chris Terrio. He’s a relative newcomer and so I think the fact that he wrote a very one-sided, pro-American story that needed to be apologized for afterwards discredits his contribution.
Beasts of the Southern Wild also deserves some recognition because watching it you get the sense that it was a tough, almost metaphysical experience writing it. I’m still going with Life of Pi David Magee.
Original Screenplay is a whole other kettle of fish.
This is the story as it was imagined for the big screen. This owes no homage to anyone other than the creativity of its author
Our nominees are:
 Writing /Original Screenplay
 Amour – Michael Haneke
 Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino
 Flight – John Gatins
 Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
 Zero Dark Thirty -Mark Boal 
I don’t think Zero Dark has a chance. While it appeals to the real life revenge crowd, and has a great deal of historical accuracy, I just think it’s not the same polished stone some of its competitors are.
Django Unchained has a shot just because it’s very de rigeur to like Tarantino and hey, he’s teaching us all how to watch movies.
Flight is a great story.
What happens behind the headline. It goes into the fine line between good and bad, and how most of us are flawed, imperfect beings if you just look closer. I think this movie got lost because it looked like an action picture and was in fact a character study of a complex disturbed person who was in the right place at the wrong time. It won’t win but it’s an admirable nomination.
I think Moonrise Kingdom should win. It’s an absolutely delightful film and sometimes something that isn’t nasty and deeply disturbed should be recognized. I think it has a chance given the writing pedigree of its two collaborators, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola.
My guess though is that the inside track goes to Michael Haneke for Amour. It’s deep, it’s dark, it’s French.
Hollywood likes to think it’s smart. This will help them. It’s also a very good picture and to hold us for as long as it does with its simple story is quite an accomplishment in writing.
Best Director
Amour – Michael Haneke
Ang Lee – Life of Pi
Beast of the Southern Wild – Behn Zettlin
Lincoln – Spielberg
Silver Linings Playbook – David O Russell
I think any of these great storytellers could win this and I would support that choice wholeheartedly. One of the questions I get asked most often is what’s worth watching and there are times I struggle to answer that question.
I forget that just because it makes money doesn’t mean it’s any good. Well, except to me. I am, after all, an entreprewhore.
This year there are great movies to see. Any of the nominated pictures and several that aren’t nominated.
For me though, the Best Director pic goes to the man I once referred to as Angst Lee for his excessive use of handwringing in a film. The Life of Pi is a brilliant visionary film based on a book I truly enjoyed and to see it turned into such a great film, well he should win. I  have no idea if he will.
And now the cinematic money shot: Best Picture -worth an estimated 20-35 million in box office and secondary revenues.
Best Picture:
Argo
Life of Pi
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Zero Dark Thirty
Amour
I think for being new and fresh and not telling the same old story, either Beasts of the Southern Wild or Silver Linings Playbook should win. It’s just so creative and bold and really well done.
I think Zero Dark and Django are just there to round our the field. They won’t win. Lincoln is not quite right. Not sure why, but I dont think it captured America the way it needed to. Argo won the Golden Globe which blew me away.Life of Pi is great but not the film of the year and neither is Les Miserables. Amour isn’t strong enough or artsy enough to pull off the big upset so yep, with serious regrets, I think Argo is going to win. Crap. I wouldn’t vote for it, just on the strength of Gigli alone. No that isn’t over for me. Not by half. Silver Linings Playbook is my pick.
We’ll see how right I am.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong.That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul
Click below on the “Filed Under Paul Peterson”  link for part one and other reviews..

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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