by Rob Boylan
It's been a while since all five nominated scripts were of this high a quality. I loved each and every one of these films, though I feel like American Hustle won't age very gracefully. It's the only film on the list that I feel like I don't need to see again. Once was enough. But that's all right, I don't think it'll win.
I'd have no problem with any of the other scripts winning though.
Blue Jasmine has its issues -- the Streetcar Named Desire stuff and the sex abuse allegations against Woody Allen -- but it's still a well hammered out script. It was talent dependent, and getting people as good as Cate Blanchette and Sally Hawkins was important, but it's as much a writer's movie as it is an actor's movie. It's solid throughout, whatever you think of Woody Allen personally.
Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska we're both fun but with serious dramatic undertones, which is my personal favorite blend of screen storytelling. I always want to like Alexander Payne movies as much as I liked Sideways, but there is always something missing in them. He's never been as mean and winning in equal strides as he was in Sideways, which he won an Oscar for along with Jim Taylor, but in Nebraska he comes damn close -- though he didn't write the script this time around, Bob Nelson did.
Her is the most imaginative in the group, the one that pushed the limits of storytelling to the edge of the threshold. It's certainly a love/hate film though, and it seems to be equally lauded for its take on modern human connection as it has been derided for being a vacuous male fantasy (though, if you think it's ultimately a male fantasy I think you've really misinterpreted the ending).
I really feel like the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis is a serious omission here though. It's a rich, subtle script, and the film itself keeps getting better each time I see it (three times now).
American Hustle – Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell [Read the PDF]
Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club – Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack [Read the PDF]
Her – Spike Jonze [Read the PDF -- unofficial link via Reddit, will probably die at some point]
Nebraska – Bob Nelson [Read the PDF]
Personally, it's between Her and Blue Jasmine for me. Both are quality, though Blue Jasmine took a little while to sink in with me. But because of it's forward thinking narrative and invention, and in spite of the ukulele and high waisted pants, I'd give it to Spike Jonze for Her.