A Lighter Look AT Oscar Writing


The Academy Awards, commonly known as the Oscars, are scheduled to be presented on March 12, 2023. Let’s discuss them a little, as they pertain to writing, and give you some fun facts!

The average Oscar viewer is arguably most interested in the 'Big 6' awards—Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor.
However, as a writer, and in a magazine devoted to writing, I think it’s appropriate to focus on the Oscars for writing. Since the first Awards for movies released in 1927-28, there have been many changes. Initially, there was just one per Award ceremony for 'Writing'. At points in the Academy’s history, there was one for 'Best Story', or for those who didn’t actually write the screenplay. (This was discontinued after 1956.)
The modern Awards are for Best Original Screenplay, for those the writer(s) who create wholly on their own, and for Best Adapted Screenplay, which is based on a previous work, usually a short story, novel, or play. Now, let’s talk about some Oscar writing fun facts.
Frances Marion was the first woman to win an Adapted Screenplay Oscar way back in 1930, as she shared the credit for “The Big House”. Ms. Marion was also one of the more prolific scribes. She totaled 300 screenplays, of which, 130 were filmed, which is extremely impressive, given Hollywood’s history of sexism.
Larry McMurtry holds a weird screenwriting distinction. To date, he’s the only person who both adapted another person’s work which won for 2005's “Brokeback Mountain”, co-written with Diana Ossana, based on Annie Proulx’s book, and has also had someone else win the Oscar for adapting his own book. James L. Brooks won in 1983 for adapting McMurtry’s 1975 novel, “Terms of Endearment”.
Emma Thompson is the only person to both win an Oscar for acting—Best Actress for 1992’s “Howard’s End”*—and for Adapted Screenplay for 1995’s “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen. Several others were close, though. Among them:

Read the entire article in the March 2023 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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