Adapted Screenplay NOMINEES: “Before Midnight,” “Captain Phillips,” “Philomena,” “12 Years a Slave,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Original Screenplay NOMINEES: “American Hustle,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Her,” “Nebraska”
True stories tend to make great movies, and never was that more evident than 2013, when four adapted and two original screenplays that earned nominations were based on real events.
In the adapted category, only “Before Midnight” scribes Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy eschewed real events to tell their tale — yet the film feels remarkably like a slice of life. The other nominees were all based on memoirs. For “Captain Phillips,” Billy Ray adapted Richard Phillips’ own story (penned with Stephen Talty) “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea.” Terence Winter brought Jordan Belfort’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” to life, while John Ridley discovered Solomon Northup’s memoir “12 Years a Slave,” which had long been out of print. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope used Martin Sixsmith’s “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” as a starting point for their screenplay adaptation of “Philomena.”
In the original category, Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” is very loosely based on the real-life Abscam scandal — or, as the opening credits note, “some of this actually happened.” And Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack based “Dallas Buyers’ Club” on the true story of Ron Woodroof, who was diagnosed with AIDS and set out to procure an alternative treatment. Their competitors — Spike Jonze’s futuristic romance “Her,” Bob Nelson’s father-son road trip “Nebraska” and Woody Allen’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” update “Blue Jasmine” — may not be steeped in history. But all succeed in creating worlds that feel as believable and real as any true story.
Cooper and Hill are both two-time Oscar nominees, but the rest of the category is made up of first-time nominees — in the case of Abdi, he’s nominated for his film debut.
But Leto seems unstoppable; the actor has cleaned up on the awards circuit, snagging SAG, Golden Globe and Critics Choice honors, along with a slew of critics trophies.