Who’ll win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2005?
Faced with the nominees in this category, voters may go by process of elimination. Writer-director Mike Leigh is famous for improvisation, so how much can he claim credit for writing Vera Drake? Keir Pearson and Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda tells a moving real-life story of courage, but it follows a somewhat conventional narrative arc in a film few people have seen. Brad Bird offers a witty take on middle-age superheroes in The Incredibles, but no screenplay Oscar has ever gone to an animated film. That brings us to The Aviator, which has generated some reported backlash about whether John Logan deserves solo script credit. Add in the mixed response to the movie itself among filmgoers and Hollywood buzz-makers, and a once-certain Logan victory seems like anything but. That leaves Charlie Kaufman (and his two story collaborators), whose wiggy romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was his top-grossing film ever and generated 12 critics’ awards as well as his third Oscar nod. We suspect the third time may just be the charm.