The movie world is all about the actors, though the occasional director, like Peter Jackson, George Lucas, or Steven Spielberg, gets lucky every now and then. Among the cinematic minds who almost always the short end of the stick, however, are the writers, but The Hollywood Reporter gives them the spotlight – if only for a moment – with the writers roundtable. (It also helps those of us watching the Oscars, as the screenplay races are as confusing as ever.)
Discussing the screenwriting craft this year are Jonás Cuarón (Gravity), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), John Ridley (12 Years a Slave), Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler), and, last and perhaps least because it won’t affect this season’s outcome, George Clooney and Grant Heslov (the delayed Monuments Men).
The inclusion of Cuarón suggests that some screenwriters in the industry might respect Gravity. That conclusion seems obvious before considering that a film that relies so much on the director’s vision and visual spectacle might not be enough of a writer’s film. Strong’s spot suggests what some others and I have been saying for a while: Lee Daniels’ The Butler might be The Weinstein Co.’s major Oscar player this year. Meanwhile, Delpy’s participation gives Before Midnight a boost in the adapted screenplay race, and might also help her cause in the actress race.
Notable exclusions from the roundtable are Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena), Tracy Letts (August: Osage County), Bob Nelson (Nebraska), and Billy Ray (Captain Phillips). I would say Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine, too, but he always opts out of the dog and pony show that is the Oscar race.