Can Oscar nominate a pretend writer? EW found out Donald Kaufman -- Charlie's fictious twin -- can get an Academy nod for helping pen ''Adaption.'' But what would he wear?

By Nicholas Fonseca
Updated December 13, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
Charlie Kaufman: Bill Davilla/Retna


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After reading the ”Adaptation” script by Charlie Kaufman (”Being John Malkovich”) and twin brother Donald, producer Edward Saxon recalls thinking ”Who is Donald Kaufman?” Oscar voters may soon be asking the same thing: Though credited with cowriting the account of a scribe’s frustrated attempt to adapt Susan Orlean’s 1998 best-seller, ”The Orchid Thief,” Donald doesn’t actually exist. (Columbia execs playfully declined to comment.)

If ”Adaptation” scores an Oscar writing nod on Feb. 11, will Donald (played by Nicolas Cage) be invited to the party? An Academy rep says yes, since Donald is cited on screen. The move has precedent: In 1985, ”Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes” screenwriter Robert Towne was so displeased with the finished film that he allowed the Academy to nominate his late dog, P.H. Vazak.

Columbia has one more loopy Oscar surprise in store: ”The studio is going to stump for adapted screenplay even though Charlie went so far into original territory,” reveals Saxon. ”It’s kind of ironic.”

Additional reporting by Jeff Jensen

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