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Comments on 'Master,' 'America,' 'Splendor'

WGA members weigh in on the work they most admired among this year’s nominees:

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World as seen by Robert Towne (“Chinatown”)

It didn’t try for anything theatrical beyond the actual workings of a ship at that time and that place. It didn’t try to juice things up by making the captain tough and create manipulative dramas with the crew. It took its drama where it found it. I liked that.”

In America as seen by Stephen Schiff (“The Deep End of the Ocean”)

There’s a mysterious emotionality in that movie. It gets deep into the marrow of day-to-day living in a way that’s profound and difficult to achieve. It’s not sentimental, there’s no single aspect of the plot that you could credit it to. There is just some amazing cinematic undertow. I sometimes watch movies and say, ‘OK, I can do that.’ While watching ‘In America,’ I was saying, ‘I have no idea how to do that!'”

American Splendor as seen by Jim Jennewein, (co-writer “Richie Rich”)

You have Paul Giamitti in the fictional narrative. Then you cut to the real Harvey Pekar doing voice over. The filmmakers (who also wrote the adaptation) deconstruct the illusion of the movie by having the real Harvey talk about what his life’s really like and what it’s like having Giamatti play him. They keep cutting between the fictional and the documentary, and then they unify it in the end, elegantly and deftly, when Giamatti asks his wife, ‘What’s more important, the real me here, lying on the floor, or the me that’s in the comicbooks, the fictional me who will live on after I’m dead? It really pushed the medium and added to film grammar. That’s why I voted for ‘American Splendor.'”

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