And the Winner Is…

Oscar 1 Academy AwardsSo you have been nominated for the Academy Award. Thoughts of your acceptance speech have run through your head a couple thousand times, admit it! Your biggest fear is that you will forget someone. Face the hard truth. You’ll get up there and fail because you refused to write it down, for fear of jinxing yourself. You are a superstitious lot.

Your dream comes true and you win The Oscar:

First you feign shock. You let tears well-up in your eyes while demurring to the others in your category – even though you are secretly so completely stoked to beat out a couple of them. Then you will look out at the adoring faces in the crowd and rattle off the names of your producer, director, actors, etc.

You’ll thank your parents with the overused standby, “Because without them, well, I wouldn’t be here tonight,” -insert tired chuckle from crowd-  followed by other significant supporters in your life.

Without boring everyone with a list of the obvious, I thought I would help remind you of the one person you should thank, but so often is overlooked. No, it is not your 2nd grade teacher.

I am talking about the magical inventor responsible for the germ of the idea. The creator of the seed that grew into these towering productions. The architect of these monumental films is the original writer of the novel or screenplay. They may not be a flashy, red carpet, Hollywood-type at all, but someone who is proud to have watched their baby grow into something golden.

oscar 2 Academy Awards

Writers of the films up for best picture – You can jot them down on the palm of your hand.

AmourScreenplay by Michael Haneke

ArgoNovel by Antonio Mendez “The Master of Disguise”

Beasts of the Southern Wild –  Stage Play by Lucy Alibar “Juicy and Delicious”

Django – Anyone who accepts an award for this movie is off the hook since Quentin Tarantino wrote the screenplay and directed the film. Be sure to mention him at some point, but you will be screwed if you start thanking the producers. There are 14 of them!

Les MiserablesNovel by Victor Hugo

Life of Pi –  Novel by Yann Martel

Lincoln – From all the press surrounding this film, I believed that Spielberg had written the screenplay, but the credit goes to Doris Kearns Goodwin who wrote the novel.

Silver Linings PlaybookNovel by Matthew Quick

Zero Dark ThirtyScreenplay by Mark Boal

There are many other films represented through nominations in categories not listed here. Take a moment and IMDb them to discover the original writer. Scribble his or her name on your palm. They may be watching in the comfort of their living room and will want to thank you for remembering.

Will you be watching on Sunday night?

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Filed under Humor, Life, Photography

78 responses to “And the Winner Is…

  1. This is the right webpage for everyone who hopes to understand this
    topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject that’s been discussed for decades. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

  2. This should be mandatory reading for every Oscar nominee, Susie!
    Great work! And beautifully written, of course.

  3. Having seen only one of the nominated movies, I’m giving the Oscars a miss. But I love that you remind us where these movies begin – in the mind of a writer. Academy awards all around, I say :)

  4. Is it okay to finally watch the Awards for the first time after I’m eventually nominated in the distant future? :)

  5. I admit, I’ve always watched the Oscars since I was a little girl and dreamed of acting. Now it looks like a screenplay might be my only option…one day….(sigh)

    • Wouldn’t that be great???
      I never had any hope of being an actress, but I would really love to stand on that stage someday for writing a screenplay… I’ll look forward to seeing you on the red carpet!

  6. No wild thoughts but I did see Argo and Lincoln and thought both were very good. There are so many people to thank, but i don’t think anyone will ever top Robeto Benigni for his acceptance speech for Life is Beautiful.

    My wife will probably have it on but Sunday nights are always frenetic for us. it will be a good distraction! Have a great weekend!

  7. I wouldn’t miss it! I’ve been watching every year since I was a kid. The two things I’ve always loved are books AND movies. And I’m not afraid to admit that for a long time as I was growing up, I fantasized about what I would say if I won an Oscar! And let me tell you, my imaginary acceptance speech ROCKS!!

    • That is so great Mary. I bet it does! I saw Sally Field interviewed and she totally lied when she said she isn’t thinking about her acceptance speech!
      I’ve never thought about it, but would love to be on that red carpet!
      Thanks Mary!

  8. I used to watch this religiously. The husband still does. But since I don’t get out to see the movies so much anymore with the kids, I feel like I’m in the dark as far as the awards go. So… I catch the highlights.

    As for the authors, I think they should get some recognition. I understand that the story gets changed as it is adapted for the big screen. But without the book there would be no foundation from which to start. Just sayin’.

    • I so agree and will tune in a little more closely to the speeches. There are a lot of great movies this year and I hope to see a couple more. We’ll wait to see them in the comfort of our living room!
      Thanks Debra!

  9. I didn’t see any of these movies, which bums me out. But I’ll have fun watching the pre-show when we get to see everyone all gussied up on the red carpet. :)

  10. I have seen 2 of the films. It used to be a tradition for me to see them all, but Juliet is borderline narcoleptic and cannot stay awake in movies very often so we see much fewer than my previous days.
    The writer never gets the credit among the general public but my guess is that they are well received among their peers.

  11. I’ll be on the “front row” (of my living room) cheering on Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Les Mis!

    • I LOVED that movie! I have never cried so much during a movie in my life. It took me a few minutes to recognize Hugh Jackman an I knew he was in it!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      I am visiting in WI with spotty Internet, but we have cable!

  12. Great post Susie – oftern overlooked in the hubbub of the red carpet etc – Silver Linings Playbook (as mentioned above) was a great film.

  13. I’ll be watching and waiting to hear YOUR acceptance speech…, and see what “wild” gown you’ll be wearing. (really…, I never watch those things)
    Paul (…yes…, PapaBear).

  14. Of course I’ll be watching. I like to take notes for the year I’m finally nominated…

  15. I will be watching, imaging that I am up there, in a fabulous dress, receiving my award. I love this post. Let’s NEVER forget the writers. ;)

    • Thanks Renee! Let me know when you are nominated so I can Tivo it! :) Of course you won’t use a pen name… I will be watching this year and will be curious to see who mentions them… Thanks!

  16. Good point and no I will not be watching. I might tune in to catch a few awards, but I can’t sit through all of the foreign film, cinematography, lifetime achievement awards, yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s too long and boring.

    Besides, most of the movies that are usually nominated – not this year – but most years, I’ve never even heard of much less seen. And, usually I don’t really care who wins. I like who I like and what I like and no award is going to change my opinion.

    So how’s that for you?

    Now, when my book, the one that’s not published yet, is made into a movie and wins, I will not only tune in, I will be present in the audience. Funny how that little detail drastically changes one’s standing on a issue.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • I am sure that it will change your point of view! One year a friend of mine won for best documentary so you never know! Some years I have been less interested, but this year, I think the movies have merit and it will be fun to watch!
      Thanks Patricia!

  17. I saw Silver Linings Playbook and bought the book the next day. I have to see how they translated the words into screenplay so beautifully.

  18. As someone obsessed with both the Oscars and books, I obviously love this! Also, when I was in 7th grade, I swore I would win an Oscar and promises my English teacher that I would thank her. I haven’t seen her in years but still think about that every Academy Awards!

    • Thanks so much. :) It was a fun little project.
      Maybe you will win an Oscar! Just keeping imagining it!
      It is wonderful how some teachers make such an impression on us.
      Have fun watching!

  19. Great post, Susie! So true. Without the novel writers and screenwriters, these great stories would never be told on the big screen. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Thanks Cathy!
      Someone mentioned on FB that they thought that the director reshapes them so much that they become their baby, but I would disagree and say, you should always remember who gave birth to the story…

  20. Yes, so true, the writer is often forgotten or not even known! Great way to remind us that these great productions originated in someones creative mind! :)

  21. I did not know ‘Argo’ was a novel. Nor did I know ‘Beasts’ was a play. Now I have to go to the library again….damn.
    Thanks, Susie! Hooray Writers!

    • Are you back yet?? I bet you filled your backpack!
      I have a lot of reading to do as well… This was a fun little research project. We’ll see how many get mentioned on Sunday!
      Thanks Mike!

  22. Dude what a great post. I often dream of that moment :) I’m crazy like that. But I do love your idea that they should originally thank what sparked the amazing idea in the first place and I’m hoping that the writers will have enough sense to do so when they get up there. The actors usually don’t, except for Daniel Day Lewis who had awesome words for the writer when he won the Golden Globe. And you bet I’ll be watching. You bet! It’s like my SuperBowl. I’ll probably have nachos and be thinking about my dad, we always used to watch these events and argue who should win. :)

    OH! And I saw that you have Life of Pi in your picture. Dude I am totally reading that book right now. Cayman gave it awesome reviews so I thought I would pick it up before watching the movie :) Happy Oscars :)

    • That is so great! I haven’t read it yet, but plan to. That is wonderful to have such great memories of your dad. I am flying out tomorrow to visit mine and celebrate his 87th birthday!
      Thanks so much Guat! I love the movie choices and will be watching…

  23. Ever since I was young, I’ve always paid attention to who wrote the screenplay and who directed it. I’m secretly only watching to see if it’s man or a woman. I still look after I see a movie. First, I guess which one I think it is, depending the roles of the characters and their status. It’s a pretty dead give away. I’m always pleased when I see a woman’s name.

    • You are so cool to do that! I have often thought for sure that a woman wrote a poignant tale and have been surprised by the male author. Hopefully women will become better represented in the years to come.

  24. filbio

    This is so true! The original writer of the book or screenplay hardly ever gets mentioned. Most of the speeches are too long and contrived. I really think many of the winners know they have won in advance from their PR group and have in mind what they will say anyway. Occassionally you do see an upset winner who has no clue though. Those are fun as they stumble through their speech.

    • I love when the underdog wins against an older more seasoned actor. Sometimes their applause for the winner is thinly disguised… I don’t think anyone really knows. It will be fun to watch this year and see how many writers get mentioned…
      Sally Field – You like me! You really like me!

  25. Very valid. One asks oneself how many times it has been said, ‘That movie would make a great book.’ Usually, a book starts the process.
    The speeches are a no-win situation. Either the boring conventional, or the ones who try to be unconventional and funny, and generally end up by falling flat on their faces.

    • And I for one wouldn’t pick up a screenplay to read.
      The worst speeches are the ones that mention politics. Not the time nor place. They should mention the Colonist and Wild Ride blog instead. Now that would rock!

  26. Silver Linings is my favorite. It’s funny how quickly we can tell which actress played a role in the movie, but not remember the writer!

  27. Hi Susie,

    You nailed it! This is a pet peeve. Not just for the Oscars but any time I watch a movie I want to know who wrote it, even if it wasn’t a novel first. A movie is collaborative but… hello… you can’t collaborate from a blank page. There has to be something THERE. And that’s the greatest creative leap, IMO.

    Thanks for all the info!


    • Thanks Nia! I have been so sensitive to this since I started writing 2 years ago. I am going to Tweet the writers with accounts and see if it gets a retweet or two! You never know who may see it. Maybe this will be the year of the writer!

  28. Since I’m all about the sparkle, yes! I’ll be watching the red carpet pre-show and the Oscars. I will DVR it just in case one of the speeches makes me cringe. In years past we’ve gone to an Oscar party, but this year it will just be me and the dogs curled up on the couch. I’ll be wearing my jammies and they’ll don their best fur coat. I might even make snacks appropriate for the occasion, we’ll see. ;)

    • Sounds wonderful! I love it when pets wear their very best for the occasion…
      I am going back to Wisconsin and it occurs to me that I may miss parts of it. I better DVR it too!
      It is a great year for movies and I will be curious to see who wins along with all the wonderful eye candy!

  29. Award shows make me twitchy. I’m always sure someone’s going to trip over her gown and do a face plant next to the podium. My stage fright knows no bounds.

    So, no.

    • Hahaha! You empathize. I get nervous for the one’s that don’t act for a living. They are usually wearing some ill-fitting dress, but have the most heart-felt speeches!
      I thought I was over my stage fright and then I went to a screen writing class as part of the Boulder Film Festival. The teacher (Tod Davies who wrote “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) encouraged questions from the class and when I finally spoke I went all “deer in the headlights” and blanked out..abadaabadaabada….It was horrifying!

  30. I will watch to live blog and to see Seth…:)
    and TED:)

  31. We won’t be watching. :)

  32. The book Team of Rivals is one of the best
    Lincoln books I’ve read.
    I was glad (and relieved) they made a movie worthy of it.

  33. I love the glam … only once a year … so I enjoy it.
    Have only seen one of the movies above – Argo .. that is a brilliant movie. Ben has made a good job. I think the thank you speech … is what it’s and I don’t take them too serious.
    Only a show for the galleries. I’m going to check out some of yours here.

  34. I will be watching. This is so true. Without the words there would be nothing to grow. I would also like to thank that person, who at one point said: “This would make a great movie!” and then they acted on that thought.

  35. I probably won’t watch. It’s too long. The speeches never thank the right people, as you point out. I don’t care who is wearing whom. The writing is so important and it never gets the real recognition it deserves. How sad.

    • I agree! And they all seem to say the same things. Once in a while someone really captures brilliance up there, but not very often… I usually work on something while I watch and look up once in a while….
      Thanks for stopping by!

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