FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Frank Capra |||
Frank Capra

It goes without saying that Capra is one of the greatest and most beloved directors of all time, especially renowned for his madcap romantic comedies. He is one of the few directors who ever managed to balance whimsy with meaningfulness without loosing the ability to entertain.

Only Frank Capra, with his light hand and good sense of allowing the actors to be their roles, could carry off this tale of a naive average American used by an unscrupulous politician through a nationwide goodwill drive. No one was ever better at having strong yet vulnerable women not only aid, but often come to the rescue, of the leading man.

Frank Capra's final film is a hilarious translation of a Damon Runyon tale set in 1930s New York, as gangster Glenn Ford repays street peddler Bette Davis for her "good luck" apples by passing her off as a well-to-do society lady for her visiting daughter (Ann-Margret in her film debut). This excellent and thoroughly enjoyable remake of his own 1933 "Lady for a Day" is a beautiful swan song to a master storyteller. Widescreen!

In this black comedy about two sweet old ladies whose basement holds a murderously funny secret, Capra utilizes star Cary Grant to his zany, patented “double take” best. Capra’s brilliance in comic casting is demonstrated with such reliable character actors as Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre and Jack Carson who manage to play their parts to the hilt without chewing up the scenery.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

Advertisement

Oscar Handicap 2007: Screenplays

By EdwardHavens

February 13th, 2007

Our annual Oscar Handicap series continues with a look at the writing categories.

Oscar Handicap 2007: Screenplays

(For explanations as to how our scoring system works, make sure to read our first article in the series, Best Picture of the Year, linked at the bottom of this article.)

Once again, it should be noted that these are not actual predictions as to whom the author thinks will be winning, but simply a look at how voting patterns have broken down over the past twenty-eight years, to have fun with and hopefully start some interesting discussions about the nominees.

Best Original Screenplay

The Breakdowns
1) Best Original Screenplays have won for a film with at least one acting nomination 27 of the past 28 times (96.43%). Advantage: Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen
2) As long as you're not the one who wrote the lowest grossing nominee at the time of the announcements, you've won 25 of 28 times (89.29%). Advantage: Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, Pan's Labyrinth, The Queen
3) A film also nominated for Best Director has won for Best Original Screenplay 23 of 28 times (82.14%). Advantage: Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Queen
4) A film also nominated for Best Picture has won for Best Original Screenplay 22 of 28 times (78.57%). Advantage: Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen
5) Best Original Screenplay winners have had stories set in the present day 21 of 28 times (75%). Advantage: Babel, Little Miss Sunshine
6) Original Screenplays mainly set in the United States have won 20 of 28 times (71.43%). Advantage: Little Miss Sunshine
7) Non-comedies have won for Best Original Screenplay 20 of 28 times (71.43%). Advantage: Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Pan's Labyrinth, The Queen
8) Screenplays with only one credited writer have won 19 of 28 times (67.86%). Advantage: Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, Pan's Labyrinth, The Queen
9) The winner of the WGA Award for Original Screenplay goes on to win the Oscar 16 of 28 times (57.14%). Advantage: Little Miss Sunshine

By The Numbers
The numbers look very good for one of the Three Amigos films, and not so great for one of the others

Babel (Written by Guillermo Arriaga): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, -6, +7, +8, -9 (177 of 252, 70.24%)
Letters from Iwo Jima (Screenplay by Iris Yamashita, Story by Iris Yamashita & Paul Haggis): -1, -2, +3, +4, -5, -6, +7, -8, -9 (105 of 252, 41.67%)
Little Miss Sunshine (Written by Michael Arndt): +1, +2, -3, +4, +5, +6, -7, +8, +9 (163 of 252, 64.68%)
Pan's Labyrinth (Written by Guillermo del Toro): -1, +2, -3, -4, -5, -6, +7, +8, -9 (103 of 252, 40.87%)
The Queen (Written by Peter Morgan): +1, +2, +3, +4, -5, -6, +7, +8, -9 (163 of 252, 64.68%)

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Breakdowns
1) The Best Adapted Screenplay has been awarded to a best picture nominee 26 of the past 28 times (92.86%). Advantage: The Departed
2) As long as you're not the one who wrote the lowest grossing nominee, you've won 25 of 28 times (89.29%). Advantage: Borat, Children of Men, The Departed, Notes on a Scandal
3) Screenplays with only one credited writer have won 22 of 28 times (78.57%). Advantage: The Departed, Notes on a Scandal
4) The winner of the Writers Guild award in this category has also won here 21 of 28 times (75%). Advantage: The Departed
5) A film also nominated for Best Director has won for Best Adapted Screenplay 20 of 28 times (71.43%). Advantage: The Departed
6) Unlike Best Original Screenplay, the Best Adadpted Screenplay winners have had stories set in the past 19 of 28 times (66.67%). Advantage: None (and thus will not be factored into the percentages this year)
7) If this nomination is your film's only one, fuggedaboutit (0%). Disadvantage: Borat

By The Numbers
It looks like William Monohan will be departing the Kodak Theatre with a new best friend.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Peter Baynham & Dan Mazer, Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Peter Baynham & Anthony Hines & Todd Phillips): -1, +2, -3, -4, -5, +7 (48 of 151, 31.79%)
Children of Men (Screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón & Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata and Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby): -1, +2, -3, -4, -5, -7 (66 of 151, 43.71%)
The Departed (Screenplay by William Monahan): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, -7 (132 of 151, 87.42%)
Little Children (Screenplay by Todd Field & Tom Perrotta): -1, -2, -3, -4, -5, +7 (44 of 151, 29.14%)
Notes on a Scandal (Screenplay by Patrick Marber): -1, +2, +3, -4, -5, +7 (82 of 151, 54.30%)


Find out who wins this year's Oscars, when the Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 are presented on Sunday, February 25, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, televised live on ABC beginning at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST. A one-hour red carpet arrivals show will precede the telecast at 4 PM PST/7 PM EST.


Addition articles in this series:
Best Picture of the Year
Best Director
Best Actor and Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Score, Best Editing and Best Art Direction
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature