PG Cooper: Screenplay Awards (2010)

Posted: January 14, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Without a good script, you don’t get a good movie, simple as that. These awards honor that simple fact by awarding the writing of films. Focus here is on story, dialogue, and characters.

Best Original Screenplay

There’s usually more adapted works in a year than there is original. That said, I still found five fantastic original screenplays that I’m very proud to nominate.

Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3 – While there are definite similarities to the previous films, the screenplay easily carries its own weight. We see characters we love in dire situations, and it’s quite emotional. The characters are all given good dialogue, and the script manages to be both funny and emotional. I also like how the script is something of a metaphor for growing up and letting go of your childhood.

Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right – I respect this script on a number of levels. I respect that it tells a unique and interesting story. I respect that it gives us believable characters that feel like real people. But most of all, I respect how it managed to tell a story about a homosexual couple without making the fact that they’re gay a big deal. They don’t introduce a homophobic stereotype either. The script just lets the story unfold naturally.

Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, and John McLaughlin, Black Swan – While Aronofsky does deserve credit for the descent into Nina’s mind, I believe the writers have been somewhat ignored. With Black Swan, they’ve written a crafty and unique screenplay with some fascinating characters and a very  strange journey. Great writing.

Christopher Nolan, Inception – It’s widely known that Nolan’s idea for Inception had been swimming around in his head for a very long time with scripts dating back from ten years ago. The amount of time he spent on it really shows with a very thought out, very complex, and very thoughtful screenplay that has been discussed all year, and we’ll likely continue to be discussed for years.

Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson, The Fighter – While the story is fairly standard, it’s the characters that really make the script for The Fighter stand out. All these characters are interesting and full like real people. Good dialogue, good characters, on the whole you’ve got a well-written script.

And The Winner Is…





This isn’t just because it has a creative and extremely well thought out premise. The unsung attribute of the script for Inception is the interesting characters and their relationships. Cobb’s story is fascinating and watching Fischer’s relationship with his father unfold is very interesting yet also very sad. Brilliant script on multiple levels.

Best Adapted Screenplay

There was a lot more to pick from when it came to adapted screenplays. So much so that I had to make some tough cuts. What remains are the five best adapted screenplays of the year.

The Coen Brothers, True Grit – The Coen Brothers are known for being excellent writers and True Grit further justifies that reputation. The Coens take a fairly basic revenge plot and turn it into something really special with a diverse cast of characters and some really great dialogue. Another excellent script from the Coens.

Steve Kloves, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One – I can’t imagine how hard adapting the final films in the Potter franchise was for Steve Kloves. Not only did he have to adapt a lot of material from the book and bring it to the screen, but he also had to please the Potter fan base, which approach levels of Star Wars obsession. Kloves however did an amazing job capturing the essence of the book and gave us one of the best scripts of the year.

Roman Polanski and Roger Harris, The Ghost Writer – Teaming with the writer of the original novel, Polanski crafted an interesting script with intriguing characters each with their own goals and motives. I also love how the story slowly unfolds constantly leaving you wanting more information.

Matt Reeves, Let Me In – Reeves made it clear from the start that his intentions were not to remake the original Swedish film, but to adapt the original novel. I don’t know how close he was to the original source material, but I do know he wrote an intriguing film featuring one of the most interesting and unique relationships of the year. Filled with surprises and a very clever ending, Let Me In is a hard story to forget.

Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network – Sorkin deserves credit on the sole grounds that he was able to make dialogue between a bunch of computer nerds really interesting. But interesting it was, really interesting in fact. I could listen to the characters from the film talk all day. On top of that, the story of deception and lies behind the formation of Facebook is genuinely really entertaining and interesting. A lot of people claim the film takes the liberty with the actual story. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Either way, I don’t really care, great script either way.

And The Winner Is…




The Social Network

There was a lot of good competition for this award, but The Social Network edged through for a number of reasons. The main one is the dialogue. The dialogue is so well-written and is probably the best of any film all year. But I also really respect how the Sorkin took the seemingly uninteresting story about the founding of Facebook and made it one of the most exciting dramas of the year. Plus, of all the films nominated, this one relies on its script more so than the others. (that is in no way an insult against director David Fincher or any of the actors)

  1. rofl says:

    I thought Inception was based off of a Scrouge comic. Or at least that’s what SOMEONE told me. :P

  2. ianthecool says:

    If Sorkin doesn’t win the Oscar for his screenplay, I will be very upset. Good choice.

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