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Best Original Screenplay

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To muscle into this crowded category, it helps if you’re a multitasker. Look for filmmakers who’ve written and directed their works to dominate, beginning with Christopher Nolan, whose labyrinthine MEMENTO storytelling was the very definition of original. Perennial favorites Joel and Ethan Coen, winners in 1997 for Fargo and nominees last year for the adapted O Brother, Where Art Thou?, should earn a third nod for THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE. The never-nominated team of Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson is increasingly worshiped by hip Hollywood, so their third collaboration, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, may just be the charm. The exception to the rule will likely be Julian Fellowes, the screenwriter who fashioned two distinct but equally vivid worlds under one roof in GOSFORD PARK.

The writing team behind ALI consists of previous nominees — The Insider’s Eric Roth and Michael Mann and Nixon’s Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson — along with Gregory Allen Howard, but the Academy usually favors screenplays with one or two authors. David Lynch’s MULHOLLAND DRIVE might strike some voters as too original, while Alejandro Amenabar’s THE OTHERS runs the risk of being viewed as a Sixth Sense retread. Perhaps the fabulous destiny of AMELIE is a nomination: After all, anyone who’s seen the subtitled film has also read most of Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s whimsical script.

For your consideration

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For your consideration

Could Milo Addica and Will Rokos be the second coming of Damon and Affleck? They are, after all, struggling actors who penned their own screenplay — but only scored bit parts — in the unflinching yet tender MONSTER’S BALL.