PG Cooper: Best Original and Best Adapted Screenplay

Posted: January 24, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

PGCMA 2012

*The above image represents 2011’s PGCMA Best Picture Winner; Drive.

Best Original Screenplay

Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master– If I had to pick one area Paul Thomas Anderson’s script really exceled in it would be characters. The Master is full of fascinating people, particularly the three leads. Anderson is also careful to provide audiences with enough to entice them but never tells them what to think.

Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom– PTA wasn’t the only Anderson to create great characters in 2012. Along with Roman Coppola, Wes Anderson created some of the most delightfully odd characters and gave them all some truly great dialogue. There’s also some great themes subtlety woven in and most of the cast have their own character arc.

Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty– Boal’s screenplay doesn’t scream awards, but there’s a lot about it I admire. Primarily the fact that Boal effectively takes one through the manhunt making it feel as important as it was while still maintaining an intimate story thread.

Rian Johnson, Looper– Though the film hasn’t stuck with me as well as I’d hoped; Looper is still a crafty thriller which uses time travel in a very intelligent way. I also give the script credit for giving the characters interesting arcs and motivations.

Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained– Though not Tarantino’s most polished screenplay, Django Unchained has everything one could want from a Tarantino film. Colorful characters, witty dialogue, tense scenarios, wild violence, and narrative which moves. Though I have some problems with the script, the stuff that I love about it I really love.

And The Winner Is…

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Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

 moonriseThough all of the nominees were great, I couldn’t resist giving this to Anderson and Coppola. The script for Moonrise Kingdom features all of the positives of the other nominees but has none of the drawbacks. The characters, dialogue, setting, and story are all pulled of masterfully. All of the other nominees had a certain drawback on a script level, whether they go too long, weren’t memorable in the long run, or more of a director’s piece. Moonrise Kingdom is the script closest to perfect.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Michael Bacall, 21 Jump Street– Admittedly, Bacall is only here to hold a spot. Still, I don’t want to undermine his work too much since he helped craft one of the year’s funniest films, writing some really funny dialogue and hilarious set-pieces.

John Logan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade, Skyfall– Every Ian Fleming Bond novel has been adapted and Skyfall marks the series’ 23rd film. Because of all this, it can be difficult to add anything new to the series. But the screenwriters here did, giving the characters more depth than normal and crafting a very interesting story which moves fast.

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook– Silver Linings Playbook is a jack of all trades type of script. It goes from funny to heart breaking, cynical to optimistic, and unpleasant to uplifting. All of these transitions might have been jarring, but Russell’s script is so good one never feels the transitions. There all just natural. Really it’s incredible the screenplay works as well as it does.

Chris Terrio, Argo– Terrio has a nice advantage here in that he’s working with a genuinely incredible true story. But this nominee isn’t just for the events the film is based on as Terrio does add a lot to the film. One of the elements that really separates Argo from lesser thrillers is some very snappy dialogue. It isn’t a film you’ll quote for days after, but one where the dialogue is constantly entertaining while watching.

Joss Whedon, The Avengers– What ultimately secures Whedon’s nomination is two things. One, the story moves very well, constantly entertaining which helps disguise how shallow the film is. Two, the character interaction. Watching all of these heroes exchange insults is a ton of fun and Whedon gives the characters genuinely funny dialogue to work with.

And The Winner Is…

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David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

silver-linings-posterThere’s a lot of great things about the screenplay for Silver Linings Playbook, most of which I mentioned in the write-up above. One element I left out was the script’s sense of realism. The characters don’t talk like characters in a movie, but instead have conversations which feel natural. They become real people. The script also deserves credit for toying with romantic comedy cliches and twisting them in interesting ways. Overall, David O. Russell crafted the most complete script of the nominees.

Comments
  1. Chris says:

    Avengers, theres two hours of my life, I’ll never get back!

  2. r361n4 says:

    As much as I love Django Unchained, I can’t argue with your choice of Moonrise Kingdom. An excellent screenplay without a doubt

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