With only 4 days to go until the Academy Awards, it’s time for part 2 of Debunking the Academy Awards Categories! Part 1 looked at the awards and jobs that create the look and feel of a film. This week, it’s a breakdown of some of the big names on a film, what they do, and which awards they get! Moving on:
First, there’s Best Screenplay (Adapted or Original): the Academy gives out two best Screenplay awards; one for the best original screenplay (one not based on any other material) and one for the best screenplay that was based on someone else’s material (be it a book, a short story or another film that might have been in a different language). In its current form, the award honors a film’s screenwriters, the person or people responsible for actually (you guessed it), writing the story. This includes everything from the script, to screen direction and offscreen cues to descriptions of the action taking place during a particular scene. This year’s nominees for best original screenplay are Bridesmaids: Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo; The Artist: Michel Hazanavicius; Margin Call: J.C. Chandor; A Separation: Asghar Farhadi; and Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen. Nominees from best adapted screenplay include: The Descendants: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Hugo: John Logan; The Ides of March: George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon); Moneyball (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, and Stan Chervin; and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan.
Next we have Best Director: this award is usually the second to last award given out at the telecast. Directors are responsible for overseeing creative aspects of a film under the overall control of the film producer. This entails guiding and overseeing all creative aspects of the film; after all, they are the ones that get to yell “Action!” and “Cut!” This year’s nominees for best director are: Martin Scorsee, Hugo; Alexander Payne, The Descendants; Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris; Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; and Terrance Malik, The Tree of Life.
Finally, the Academy Award for Best Picture. This award is (obviously) the biggest award given out…which is why the last award of the evening! Best Picture is awarded to the film’s producers, who are generally people most of the audience has never seen! According to our good friends at Wikipedia, “A film’s producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant hosts while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film.” A producer can take multiple roles on a film, be it its director, writer or another part (See: Kathryn Bigelow, who directed The Hurt Locker and also served as one of its producers, or Brad Pitt, who starred in and produced Moneyball this year, scoring him best picture and best actor nods.)
This year’s nominees for best picture are:
- The Tree of Life: Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner and Grant Hill
- The Artist: Thomas Langmann;
- The Descendants: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
- The Help: Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan
- Hugo: Graham King and Martin Scorsese
- Midnight in Paris: Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum
- Moneyball: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt
- War Horse: Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: Scott Rudin
So there you have it! Hopefully this gives a better understanding of who the winners of these categories are and what they’ve done as writers, directors and producers!