“Wind back the clock.”: roundtables, screenplays, and a look at the Original and Adapted categories

One of my favourite parts of awards season is the roundtables with the writers, the actors, executives, directors. Pretty much anyone. I just love hearing them talk, because if the moderators just let them go, they go into some really interesting topics. The Hollywood Reporter has yet again pulled out an interesting crop for their first roundtable: the writers. In case you missed last year’s discussion (which was great, except Delpy and Holofcener barely got a word in), I’ve embedded it below. Great to see that THR have not only picked the writers at the top of predictions yet again (of last year’s panel, only 2 were nominated, and The Monuments Men didn’t even come out until this year), but instead are mixing it up and putting in those that deserve to be recognised, but probably won’t be at any of the major award ceremonies. In fact, we have a similar make-up to last year: historical, sci-fi, indies, and the ‘biggest’ film of the year. Like last year, many of the screenplays have some connection to real life, and, as a result, the discussion deviates into responsibilities with the truth when writing, which always makes for an interesting topic. You can read McCarten and Flynn’s screenplays right now over on the FYC Tracker page.

2014 roundtable: Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything), Jon Favreau (Chef), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Jonathan Nolan (Interstellar), Chris Rock (Top Five), Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)

2013 roundtable: George Clooney and Grant Heslov (The Monuments Men), Jonas Cuaron (Gravity), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler)

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 9.03.22 am

Over on the FYC Tracker page I’ve added two screenplays released online by Focus Features: Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything and Animated Feature contender The Boxtrolls. Theory doesn’t hit cinemas here until January, sadly, but hopefully I’ll see it soon.

When it comes to predicting the screenplay categories, both are reasonably quiet, and have a clear frontrunner at this point in time.

Best Adapted Screenplay predictions (November 17)

  1. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl. Flynn is still the one to beat here, by far. One of the biggest films of the year from one of the biggest books of the decade, adapted by the author, no less. Star power and success. Women writers getting nominated at the Oscars is rare, so combine those factors with that, and you get a situation like Kathryn Bigelow in Best Director in 2009/10 – they’ve got the opportunity, so they’ll seize it.
  2. Graham Moore, The Imitation Game. Moore’s going head to head with another prestige biopic writer – McCarten for The Theory of Everything. Whether Imitation will end up canceling Theory out of the Oscar race remains to be seen, but at this point, Imitation definitely has the upper hand and has the potential to get The King’s Speech status quickly.
  3. Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
  4. Nick Hornby, Wild

Unseen by the media: Unbroken (that all changes today, though)

Best Original Screenplay predictions (November 17)

  1. Richard Linklater, Boyhood. Currently the frontrunner in the ‘big 3’ categories (Picture, Director, Screenplay), Linklater’s unique film has the edge currently. People are still curious about this one, and have sustained the buzz since January. He’s been nominated twice already for the Before films, but 2014/15 is really looking like a year where he’ll be awarded for not just Boyhood, but for his entire career. A film of his has never come this close to serious awards contention.
  2. Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo, Birdman. 
  3. E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher. 
  4. Paul Webb, Selma.
  5. Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Ones to watch: Top FiveA Most Violent Year

In a year where the news has been increasingly peppered with discussion of the future of film and TV distribution and consumers’ viewing habits, and Boyhood, one of the films poised to win Best Picture, is an indie from a previously non-awards distributor, a roundtable with a bunch of studio executives, covering everything from Netflix to the increasing treatment of studio films as business, couldn’t be more interesting and relevant.

2014 studio executive roundtable: Fox’s Jim Gianopulos, Paramount’s Brad Grey, Disney Studios’ Alan Horn, Universal’s Donna Langley, IFC Films’ Jonathan Sehring and Warner Bros.’ Kevin Tsujihara


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