Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, & Ethan Hawke | Before Midnight
The Best Adapted Screenplay category is another strong one at this year’s Oscars. The category boasts a broad variety of films including Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope), Captain Phillips (Billy Ray), 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley), The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter), and Before Midnight (Linklater, Deply, and Hawke). Each has something unique and valuable to offer, except for one.
Captain Phillips: I refuse to watch this movie.
The Wolf of Wall Street: I was tempted to pick Wolf and think it might be a sleeper pick to take home the award. Its just so damn entertaining. Its a fun movie to watch. Its fun to hate Jordan. Terence Winter makes the extravagant opulence elegant. The underlying messages of corruption and greed are clear without being overdone but the screenplay lacks the perfect eloquence of some of the other nominees.
Philomena: I finished watching Philomena not two minutes before starting to write this and I have to say, I was not impressed. There were too many times the movie bordered on cliche. Its funny moments weren’t funny enough and its sad moments weren’t sad enough. The whole thing felt flat. In my boredom, I got to thinking how much Philomena reminded me of Nebraska. Reminding me of Nebraska is not a good thing. I’ll admit, I found Philomena a little more interesting but I found myself checking how much longer till the credits rolled.
12 Years a Slave: If you haven’t figured out by now, I loved 12 Years a Slave. I thought every aspect was beautiful, especially the script. The dialogue feels like its meant for the stage in the best way. The phenomenal acting is made all the better by the words John Ridley puts in the characters mouths. He transports us to a different time and enraptures us there. The dialogue is expressive without being overly expository. The articulate speech contrast with the unspeakable brutality.
Before Midnight: It was a tough choice between 12 Years and Before, each is brilliant. The best way I can describe my rationale in picking Before over 12 Years is: 12 Years a Slave is brilliant for what is said, Before Midnight is better for what is written. I’m not sure if that makes sense. I’m also biased, as a 21 year old man growing up in the 21st Century I find it much easier to relate to the contemporary Jesse than I do the 19th Century Solomon. I don’t want to spend too much time discussing Before Midnight now, in light of the Movie of the Week article coming out tomorrow, suffice it to say, the dialogue in Before Midnight is the sharpest in cinema.