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Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

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This is why you need good writers and why I put their names first.  Otherwise, you have supposedly senior military brass saying the titular character wins by dying (with apologies to Obi Wan Kenobi who def won by dying). Let's give these people their due, otherwise someone will be winning an award someone else lost...or, uh....

Wonderful talent exhibited this year.

  • Sian Heder, CODA

    • Predictable plot (giving my "I coulda been a screen-writer" wife an endorphin rush), so this is an acting film, not a writing winner.

  • Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe, Drive My Car

    • The use of Uncle Vanya as the play-within-a-play was brilliant (my telling my wife "It's a Dostoyevsky play" aside -- I never did learn to stop bluffing in the age of the Internets). The use of the car ride and dialogue tape of the play, voiced by Yusuke's dead wife, was brilliant. More compelling was the use of multi-lingual theater (something I was woefully unaware even existed despite being a Theater Dad) including Korean Sign Language.

  • Jon Spaights, Denis Villaneuve, Eric Roth, Dune

    • Frank Herbert wrote my favorite sci-fi novel ever. This has led me to several major disappointments, including giving a girlfriend's mother a copy when I was 17 and being dumbfounded that it didn't appeal to a 50-something highly educated nurse. I held my breath watching this film, the wounds of the David Lynch Debacle from 1984 still festering. Mssrs Spaights and Villaneuve handled the voluminous material well. Can't wait for Part II.

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter

    • Is there anything this woman can't do? She can do Batman, stand up next to an overwhelming Jeff Bridges performance and play a believable prostitute-turned-porn-director on TV. Now a great screenplay, too?  Hail, greater Gyllenhaal.

  • Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

    • Give her an Oscar, fordodssake. But for Directing this year.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

    • Nominated in 7 different categories -- a record that is better than an EGOT (sorry, Lin-Manuel -- hey, you're young!)

  • Adam McKay, David Sirota, Don't Look Up

    • Politically impossible to win (stupid 'Merica) but a laugh-out-loud funny cautionary tale about what's actually happening in our country.

  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

    • PTA is up for his 11th nomination, and may well win here. What hurts are the incredible number of famous people (and true stories) from decades ago. I had to do a bunch of research to understand all of the references.

  • Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier, The Worst Person in the World

    • Lillihammer meets Breaking Bad. This is a beautifully told story. SO happy more International films are getting recognition outside the "UN Entries" category.

  • Zach Baylin, King Richard

    • Rep-rehab, bordering on hagiography.  Enjoyed the movie (particularly the performances by the Williams family members), but it was clearly intended to tilt history in favor of Richard Williams before he passes.

Authoritarian Response

King Richard?!? White Wash. Man won't say what it is -- white wash.  Man is not a man.

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