Who's up for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar
Time to recheck The Academy rules: two of this year's strongest contenders for Best Original Screenplay owe huge debts to external sources. Todd Haynes couldn't have written FAR FROM HEAVEN without the '50s melodramas of Douglas Sirk, but his brilliant re-creation of their conventions should win him a nomination. GANGS OF NEW YORK, credited to Jay Cocks, rewriter Steven Zaillian, and re-rewriter Kenneth Lonergan (Oscar vets all), was ''inspired by'' Herbert Asbury's 1928 history, but counts as original, and should get a nod. In addition, Nia Vardalos' MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING script is considered original since she wrote it before her stage show.
The rest of the race is wide open. The Academy's screenwriting branch has smiled on Paul Thomas Anderson twice; PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE should make it thrice. And this category may be Oscar's only place to reward Pedro Almodovar's TALK TO HER. But any number of Americans could nudge him aside -- including newcomers Burr Steers (IGBY GOES DOWN) and Dylan Kidd (ROGER DODGER), two-time nominee John Sayles (SUNSHINE STATE), Mike White (THE GOOD GIRL), Nicole Holofcener (), and and Karen Sprecher (THIRTEEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING). And don't count out Antwone Fisher's Antwone Fisher, who one-ups the field as author and subject of his own real-life Good Will Hunting.