Okay, so I know this post is about a week late, but bear with me since I only post about writing related things on Mondays.
Normally, I don’t watch the Oscars. To each their own if watching is your thing, I have no judgment whatsoever. I just, personally, don’t have much interest. This year, however, I did want to watch show because I was hoping that American Sniper would win Best Picture and that Bradley Cooper would win Best Actor. I follow Taya Kyle on Facebook, and she’s just such an amazing woman. So strong, so brave, and represents her late husband with such honor.
Back to my point, so this year, we watched the program, and I have to say I noticed something that kind of had me laughing. Actually, I noticed several things, but only one is writing related. The others are just personal rants.
Now, this post is no way against the movie making industry. Everyone involved in each movie, puts in a lot of hard work, effort, and time to turn movies into wonderful pieces of art and entertainment. Believe me, I love movies. Love them.
With that said, though, one thing struck me while watching the Oscars. In the few minutes the President of the Academy was on stage, she mentioned how wonderful it is that each year “they” (as in everyone in the room: directors, actors, production, sound and score, costume design, and screen play writers) come together and celebrate movies for the stories “they” (again, everyone in the room) tell.
It was this part of the speech that I laughed at. After every single nomination for Best Original Screen Play was announced this year, they proceeded with. “Based on the novel by…”
Yes, you read that right…Every. Single. Screen. Play. Every single writer that was nominated this year had written their screen plays based on novels written by an author.
Um, not to be a kill joy with technicality, or anything, but who is telling the stories again? Because it seems to me that the stories are first told by the author, not the screen play writer.
While I agree that once a novel is broken up by a screen play writer, things about the story change. Especially, when the movie takes different approaches to a novel. I mean, how many times have you heard, “Well, that wasn’t in the book.” Also, because books are substantially longer, screen play writers have to come with ways to cut and condense novels into a two-hour movie. I’m sure that’s not easy, and I’m not saying it is.
But, I had to laugh that no matter the year, no matter the award show, actors, directors, and screen play writers never thank the one who dreamed up the story to begin with: the author.
And, I think that is sad.
Without J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros wouldn’t have had Harry Potter. Without Stephanie Meyer, Summit Entertainment wouldn’t have had Twilight. Not that it won any Oscars, but it certainly made them a bunch of money.
I’m not trying to downplay what those screen writers do, say they aren’t important, or say they don’t matter—not in the slightest. Especially, when there are writers who don’t write their screen plays based on novels, but write them from their own imagination. I just think a little appreciation where it’s due would be nice.
And, maybe a multi-million dollar show where authors could all dress up in dresses that cost more than our homes, get $160,000 worth of stuff in a grab bag, and give each other big awards. 😉