We watch movies for different reasons. Example: it’s Sunday, you’ve got a hangover and you want to watch a movie, but at the same time you’re looking to use as little brain activity as humanly possible without being asleep… or dead. Chances are you won’t go for ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘Inception’ or ‘Raging Bull’. You go for something easy… a random flick with aspirins as the popcorn of the day. And that’s cool. We all need those movies. However, the films that always stick out for me in the long run are the ones where the stories truly takes a hold on you. It doesn’t have to be the best story ever, but if there’s no story, there’s no film. A movie without a good story is like a gin & tonic without the gin. It’s just water in a glass.
With that in mind, and with the upcoming Oscars only a few weeks away, here are a few of my favorite previous winners of Best Original Screenplay:
won in 1996
A Coen brothers movie, this 1996 cult classic has recently been given new life in the form of the TV series of the same name bringing new life to the quirky characters created by the famous movie brothers. Frances McDormand deservedly won an Oscar for Best Actress for her part in this violent crime drama, which of course has its fair share of Coenesque humour. Crime is no joke, but stupid criminals… oh, we love them, don’t we?
won in 1987
Is this one of the best movies of the previous winners? Absolutely not, but it has a lot of charm and the unlikely pairing of Nicolas Cage and Cher (yes, Cher) in a movie is a curiosity in itself. The dinner scene with Danny Aiello is a classic, and Olympia Dukakis doesn’t just have a pretty kick-ass name, she can also act, which she does brilliantly as the mother of Loretta Castorini, played by the aforementioned Cher. Not seen it? Check it out. It’s almost 30 years old, but still pretty damn entertaining.
won in 2005
One of those movies I will always go back and re-watch. Again and again. One of those movies where different lives are brought together through interweaving stories. The movie deals with tough issues such as racism, loss and families in dire straits, and it is one of those movies that will both have you bursting with anger and drying killing the lights to hide that tear in the corner of your eye about to make a leap down your chin. The cast is perfect. Don Cheadle is solid as always, whereas Sandra Bullock really took a step out of her comfort zone with this one, as did Brendan Fraser. The impressive cast includes Ryan Phillippe, Thandie Newton, William Fichtner, Michael Peña, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Terrence Howard and Luda… cris.
Other former winners in the category: ‘Django Unchained’, ‘American Beauty’, ‘Good Will Hunting’, ‘Lost in Translation’, ‘The Hurt Locker’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’.