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Screenplay Watch: Will This be Sorkin’s First Oscar Nod?

The Oscar race is a funny thing. I’m sure you’ll be as surprised as I was to learn that Aaron Sorkin, one of the best writers working in Hollywood, has never been nominated for an Oscar. The Oscar race is about timing, the skill of publicists, and the popularity of the stars involved … but usually it’s about the heat of the moment.

In short, Oscar is a one-night stand.

The HFPA, on the other hand, has given Sorkin three nominations for writing Charlie Wilson’s War, The American President and A Few Good Men. The AMPAS? Sorkin has been completely shut out.

That he wasn’t nominated for A Few Good Men was a good indicator that the film wasn’t going to win Best Picture. At the time, there was a bit of an uproad about it. Rob Reiner, many felt, was due for recognition and this seemed to be his Big Oscar Movie. The movie, though, had a couple of significant problems. Demi Moore was one of them. I have nothing against her but when they cast her in that role it degraded the prestige of the pic.

A Few Good Men featured great, great, GREAT dialogue. Sorkin cannot be forgiven for having written Malice, however. It is one of the all time worst films. In a great way, of course. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, marinating in the awfulness of certain films. Alec Baldwin, Nicole Kidman – complete trash.

Rob Reiner and Aaron Sorkin were paired again for The American President. A glossy representation of the Commander in Chief, and prelude to The West Wing (Martin Sheen was upgraded to President).   Well written and at times, brilliant. But The American President also devolves into sap and ultimately became too sweet to take. There was no way that movie would be nominated for its writing, no matter how good it was. It did manage a WGA nod, however.

Finally, Charlie Wilson’s War was exceptional on the page. Reading it, and then watching the finished film has convinced me that reading a script before seeing the film will almost always ruin the experience. It’s hard to shake the movie in your head and accept the changes they made. In the case of Charlie Wilson’s War they changed the ending completely and thus, ruined the script and ultimately, turned the film from a raging hard-on into a flaccid failure.

And so it goes. I don’t make the movies, nor do I write them. I just sit back and silently judge them. Nonetheless, I will continue to be a cheerleader for Sorkin because I think he stands out from the rest. He’s a nimble-minded genius who has yet to be recognized by the AMPAS, which gives him a leg up on the rest this year.

I feel certain he will, at the very least, be nominated for an Oscar this year. He could very likely win the sucker. We are talking about Best Adapted Screenplay, though, and we all know how competitive that category always is.

The strongest contenders right now are:


The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
Another Year
Black Swan
Blue Valentine

Original could be between Another Year vs. The King’s Speech vs. Inception.

Not yet seen:
The Conspirator
Everything You’ve Got
Next Three Days

127 Hours
The Social Network
Winter’s Bone
Never Let Me Go
Fair Game
The Town
Toy Story 3
How to Train Your Dragon
Flipped (I thought it was a good adaptation)

Not yet seen:
True Grit
For Colored Girls
Love and Other Drugs

Right now, I feel like adapted screenplay could come down to 127 Hours vs. The Social Network.

And original, it’s difficult to say. In fact, I won’t even go there. It’s way too early. What I do know is this: Aaron Sorkin is way overdue. He isn’t just overdo because he wasn’t nominated for A Few Good Men (and should have been) but because of his contribution to the art of writing these many years. This is how I see it anyway. Take it for what it’s worth.