Friday, March 11, 2016

Oscar Got It Wrong!: Best Adapted Screenplay 1992

The Contenders:

Enchanted April
Howards End (winner)
The Player
A River Runs Through It
Scent of a Woman

What’s Missing

How in hell did Glengarry Glen Ross get ignored for Adapted Screenplay. Can anyone answer that question? I have the exact same question about A Few Good Men. Seriously, looking at 1992’s adapted screenplays, any other possible additions pale in comparison to these two. How about A League of Their Own, a movie that seems to have been forgotten completely come Oscar time. Strictly Ballroom was evidently based on an earlier screenplay, which might make it eligible as well. I might toss in Bram Stoker’s Dracula simply because I like it a little more than a few of the nominations. What the hell…I’ll toss in Gas Food Lodging as well. I can imagine that someone will bring up Malcolm X here, too, but this is a film I still haven’t seen. From what I know, though, I would guess that I’d be just as outraged it its omission. This is going to be interesting.

Weeding through the Nominees

5: I didn’t like Enchanted April when I watched it and I don’t like it that much now. The story is needlessly dripping and not very entertaining. This may well be a good adaptation of the source material, but if that’s the case, the source material is drippy and boring. The only reason I watched this was for this particular nomination and in a sane world, it never would have been nominated and I never would have had to watch it. There’s no reason I can think of that has this being nominated by a sane group of people.

4: Scent of a Woman seems to have gotten a nomination because the Academy decided it was time to give Pacino an Oscar and that it would only have any hope of gravitas if the film was nominated for more than one award. Of course, it was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, so I think they went overboard on that. This doesn’t belong here. I’m not sure I could formulate an argument that gets this a nomination for Adapted Screenplay over any of the films I mentioned above. I don’t dislike Scent of a Woman, but it doesn’t belong.

3: A River Runs Through It is at least a movie where I can start to see why it was nominated, but I can’t get myself all the way there. It’s not a bad movie at least, although I did think it was a pretty predictable one. The entire point of the film seems to be to demonstrate that the two brothers in the film have very different outlooks on life. That point is hammered in over and over. It’s a beautiful movie and I fully support the idea that it won for cinematography. But it doesn’t belong here really over the films that were ignored.

2: Howards End, even though I’m not really a Merchant/Ivory fan, was well adapted. I think it actually demonstrates the strength of the adaptation that I genuinely don’t like the characters in general. I think that demonstrates a certain level of accuracy to the source material, at least as I understand it. I don’t really like this film that much, an opinion that I think it’s safe to say is going to be consistent for me on all Merchant/Ivory productions, but I can appreciate that the screenplay is good and the dialogue is at least interesting.

1: Given the five films that were actually nominated, I don’t think there is a real choice other than The Player. Given the option to grant the five nominations myself, it’s probably the only one that I would keep, or it’s at least the only one I am positive that I would keep. I like The Player and I like everything about it. It’s not what I would choose given my own list of nominees, but if it had won, at least I would credit the Academy with giving the statue to a film that deserved to be in the running.

My Choices

Seriously? Looking at the five nominees, two of these at most belong on this list. I could make an argument for A League of Their Own deserving a nomination, and that’s an argument I will happily make. But not including both A Few Good Men and Glengarry Glen Ross is an artistic crime. I hand this to Glengarry Glen Ross nine times out of time with A Few Good Men winning the tenth time. Fuck you, Academy.

Final Analysis


  1. I think you'd enjoy "Malcolm X." I found it to be one of Lee's better, greater films. In fact, I think I need to re-watch it sometime soon.

    1. It's on the list, and you're not the first person to recommend it. I'll get there one of these days.

  2. I haven't seen Enchanted April, but I'd go in the order you have of the other four nominees. While I liked Glengarry Glen Ross I didn't love it. But the one thing that most anyone talked about in relation to the film was the writing. I'm surprised it wasn't nominated. A Few Good Men, to me, rests more on its performances than its writing. Oh, I don't think it's bad writing; the story's just not very complex. I completely agree that Malcolm X should have been nominated.

    1. For both Glengarry Glen Ross and A Few Good Men, I'm a fan of the dialog more than the plot. Both are whip-crack smart, and I appreciate that more than anything.

      Both added to the lexicon--"Coffee is for closers" and especially "You can't handle the truth" are statements most people know.