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Guest Post: Oscar Night Good for Writers


NBCC member and “NorCal Hollywood correspondent” Paul Wilner sends this post-Oscar night dispatch:

Well, it may have been the lowest rated Academy Awards ever, but it was nice to see the scribes get some (overdue) respect, as the reclusive Cormac McCarthy, looking classy in his tux, was acknowledged for his, er, prep work on “No Country for Old Men.” Daniel Day-Lewis, who comes by his literary lineage honestly (the son of British poet laureate C.Day Lewis, he’s married to filmmaker Rebecca Miller, Arthur Miller’s daughter) was recognized for his customarily impassioned performance in “There Will Be Blood.” And rising star Diablo Cody represented the young ‘uns with flair and fervor. (Personally, I loved the moment a couple of years ago when Larry McMurtry thanked his trusty typewriter.)

Call Tilda Swinton’s upset for “Michael Clayton” a victory for screenwriter Tony Gilroy, the talented son of Frank (“The Subject Was Roses’‘) Gilroy. Laura Linney’s remarkable work in “The Savages’’ would not have been possible, of course, without Tamara Jenkins’ fierce, funny screenplay. And whether you love or hate them, the Coen brothers are definitely “literary’’ filmmakers—their next project is Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.’‘

Although Amy Ryan did not win for “Gone Baby, Gone” (it was a tough category), the nomination itself was, as they say, a victory for Critical Mass contributor Dennis Lehane, who can’t be feeling too much pain after the previous success of “Mystic River.”(Lehane’s tribute to Richard Price’s great “Clockers,” made into an excellent Spike Lee movie, is proof once again, if any is needed, that Hollywood is not necessarily the place where great novels go to die.)

Nielsens notwithstanding, the caliber of the nominees was heartening—far better than watching people go overboard for “Titanic.”—Paul Wilner