The 90th Academy Awards ceremony takes place on Sunday, March 4th. Leading up to that evening, I will give my analysis and my favorites among the nominees over the next three weeks. Actually, I believe it’s absurd to choose winners when art is involved. Art is not a race and carries a great amount of its impact in the eye of the beholder. The Oscars, in my mind, do not signify winners. They are the manifestation of respect for masterpieces by fellow artists. I believe it carries as much importance for a film to be nominated for an Oscar as to win one. With that in mind, here are my thoughts…
It’s not easy to sit down and write a feature-length screenplay. However, hundreds of thousands of writers do so every year with the hope of seeing their name in the credits of a feature film. Writing a good screenplay is not that simple. Writing a great screenplay seems as likely to happen as winning the lottery. A great screenplay pulls you in immediately, in the opening scene. It magnetically tugs at your emotions and beckons to you to identify with distinct characters whose traits you can see in yourself. It sets a tone and a rhythm in the narrative and the dialogue, like a symphony. It does not have to follow a formula – it can be highly unique and original. A great screenplay teaches you something that strengthens your faith in humanity and in yourself as a human being.
The Big Sick, written by real-life husband and wife Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, is their own story of their cross-cultural romance. Kumail also stars in the film. This screenplay is a heartfelt narrative of their crazy, whirlwind courtship with all its highs and lows. This is a very well written romantic comedy about the trials of love between two people of vastly different cultures.
First-time director Jordan Peele wrote his own screenplay for Get Out. As a seasoned comedian, Peele gets the nuances of comedic timing, which help to lighten the horror aspect and the seriousness of the racial injustice theme of the movie. The screenplay is highly original with well-drawn characters, great momentum and an opening scene that is the epitome of the irony that is the heart of the movie.
Lady Bird is an autobiographical study written by the director, Greta Gerwig. This film has delighted audiences with its honest portrayal of imperfect yet lovable characters that we all know. Many audiences have identified with this story that plays like a meandering “buddy” movie. It’s a classic coming of age tale that’s simple, sweet, honest and realistic.
The Shape of Water, again written by the director, Guillermo del Toro, is one of the most unique, original screenplays ever. The story seems to originate perhaps in del Toro’s memories of seeing the 1950’s film The Creature from the Black Lagoon. He has endowed his characters with deep, striking universal personalities and emotions. The narrative never loses tempo from beginning to end and draws you in deeper and deeper until you have no question about the magnetic impulses that draw a mute cleaning woman to fall in love with a strange river creature. That definitely covers love between cultures. As bizarre as the story seems you will find yourself believing it – it’s truly a work of art.
Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri is also written by its director, playwright Martin McDonagh. He shows a mastery of taking that fine line between comedy and tragedy, filling it with colorful, unique characters with universal personalities and motivations, and letting the whole package fly. This is a brilliant screenplay.
My choices? Do I have to choose? I would say number 1 is The Shape of Water, number 2 is Get Out, number 3 is Three Billboards – I think it’s wrong to rank them though. They are all extraordinary!
Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. firstname.lastname@example.org. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com