The nominees for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen are:

Michael Haneke for Amour
Quentin Tarantino  for Django Unchained
John Gatins for Flight
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty 

Quentin Tarantino won the Golden Globe for his Django Unchained screenplay, but I think it’s garnered too much
controversy to take the Oscar on Sunday. John Gatins’ screenplay for Flight was a project 12 years in the making, and I’d love to see him win because he’d be extra appreciative. I’m going to pick Mark Boal’s work for Zero Dark Thirty over Michael Haneke’s Amour and Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola’s Moonrise Kingdom, the indie darling’s only nomination.  — Chris Hanna
ZeroDarkThirty01_GQ_23Jan13_pr_b_642x390
Quentin Tarantino’s work is always original in the sense that he comes up with the stories, but it is also often uninspired: a protagonist wants revenge. That’s it.  Besides, I am actually surprised that Django Unchained garnered any nominations at all.  Inglourious Basterds was a much better film, and it had biting dialogue. It didn’t win, so Django won’t either. Amour didn’t really have a plot.  My favorites for this award are Moonrise Kingdom and Zero Dark Thirty.  Like Chris, I think Mark Boal did an extraordinary job with the script for Zero Dark Thirty; putting all that research together into a story that made sense. Besides, it caused controversy which is always a plus. – Radina Papukchieva

The hardest thing to accomplish successfully when it comes to a two-hour movie script is tension. Tension is the fairy dust of any good screenplay and a film that can keep that tension rising, all the while telling a story that everyone in the audience knows the end to, should take home our good friend Oscar. That my friends, is a given. Mark Boal’s Zero dark Thirty is deserving of all the hype – Django, on the other hand, not so much. I have never understood the fascination with Tarantino. His movies are not so much controversial as they are meant to shock. His dialogue has never been astounding — his creativity, directing chops, and actors have been. However, this one belongs to the word smiths and plot-wielding wizards, a.k.a. Boal or Anderson/Coppola. Unfortunately, I don’t think Moonrise Kingdom has garnered anywhere near the amount of attention it takes to bring home this kind of award, which is a shame because the writing was poignant and sharp. Still, I’ll be glad when Zero Dark Thirty wins it. This film left me breathless and wildly impressed. The torture scenes caused an uproar, but they were handled with aplomb and tact script-wise. The dialogue was minimal when it had to be, funny when we were on the edge of our seats, and wrought with emotion and intelligence the whole way through. –Sophia Loffreda

The nominees for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Published or Produced are:

Chris Terrio for Argo
Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild
David Magee for Life of Pi
Tony Kushner for Lincoln
David O’Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

121109_MOV_lincoln.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeI’m gonna go out on a bit of a limb and completely dismiss Life of Pi (David Magee) and Beasts of the Southern Wild (Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin) in this category. I also want to eliminate David O. Russell’s screenplay for Silver Linings Playbook, simply because I think people won’t vote for him because he has a bit of a bad reputation in Hollywood. I think Tony Kusher will win for his screenplay for Lincoln, full of monologues and rousing speeches; Chris Terrio’s work for Argo was his first feature screenplay. He’s a first-time nominee and it would make a great inspirational story (hey, your first screenplay can win you an Oscar, too!)  and Argo has the most momentum coming into Sunday.  — CH

I’m going to disagree with Chris and pick Life of Pi.  The book was considered unfilmable until David Magee came up withlife-of-pi a structured adaptation of it.  There are moments when the reader is not sure if Pi is dreaming or if what is happening is actually taking place, and I found that the movie took the high road and made Life of Pi look and feel like a fairytale both believable and magical.  Silver Linings had a great script too, but it doesn’t seem like much of a challenge to adapt it.  I didn’t see Lincoln, but from what I hear it’s a lot of speeches and monologues, and that makes me think of The King’s Speech which won for original screenplay a few years back,  and had a similar structure. Also, the Academy loves kings and presidents. Life of Pi should win, but the Oscar will likely go to Lincoln. – RP

Next up: Animation.

By Chris Hanna and Radina Papukchieva
Twitter @Chris_Hanna and @Papukchieva

About The Cafe Phenomenon

"The Cafe Phenomenon" refers to a situation, specifically in a cafe, where you are sitting with a friend and engaging in conversation with them, but you suddenly find yourself unable to listen because the background noise of the cafe distracts you from what they are saying (the background noise could be any thing: the gossip at the next table for example). It happens that, from time to time, in certain contexts the background noise is stronger and more defined than our personal and private one on one conversations. Our blog, made up of a group of friends from Concordia's journalism program, can serve as the background noise penetrating the intimate discussions of our virtual cafe dwellers (hopefully adding insight, relevant coverage, and interesting ideas). Or it can be the friend with whom you are deep in conversation. This, our dear readers, we leave to you.

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