Best Screenplay 2015

Which were the best original and adapted screenplay of 2015?

Bridge of Spies (Matt Charman, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
No votes
Ex Machina (Alex Garland)
Inside Out (Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Ronnie del Carmen)
Spotlight (Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy)
Straight Outta Compton (Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus)
The Big Short (Charles Randolph, Adam McKay)
Brooklyn (Nick Hornby)
Carol (Phyllis Nagy)
The Martian (Drew Goddard)
No votes
Room (Emma Donoghue)
Total votes: 42

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Re: Best Screenplay 2015

Postby Cinephile12 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:13 am


1 - Inside Out
2 - Bridge of Spies
3 - Spotlight
4 - Ex Machina
5 - Straight Outta Compton

Dull lineup. Straight Outta Compton actually has a very weak screenplay, and I was shocked it got nominated. Ex Machina has fresh ideas, and it's quite engaging, but it does fall apart - mostly because of the writing. Spotlight is solid work, but repetitive and superficial, despite the effort. I'll never get the love for this film. Bridge of Spies is solid classical writing which, despite its conventions, does deliver. Inside Out is the best; it's a particularly mature and intelligent film and the central ideas are wonderfully inventive and complex. It's not a great screenplay (or a great film), but it gets my vote here.


1 - Carol
2 - Brooklyn
3 - Room
4 - The Martian
5 - The Big Short

The less I say about The Big Short, the better - I simply despise its simplistic and heavy-handed approach. The Martian is far from an outstanding achievement in writing. Room has a solid first act, but the rest of it is just unconvincing, forced and unrealistic; the character development is surprisingly nonexistent in the latter parts of the film. It's a shame, because it could have been something much more interesting.
Brooklyn is, like Bridge of Spies, another case of solid classical writing - conventional, but tight. It also does fall apart in the third act, and the story's predictability was unavoidable, but it's fine work.

Carol is the best. By far. An excellent adaptation; Phyllis Nagy writes beautifully, and what's brilliant is that she knows when to avoid dialogue and let the director and the actors play with the glances and the general visual aesthetics. It's sophisticated, highly intelligent work. It easily gets my vote.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2015

Postby CalWilliam » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:00 am

Every craft on Bridge of Spies is perfectly respectable, not the least its screenplay, and though Ex Machina has some good moments, it could be more solid as a whole, but for me the only possible choice in Original is Spotlight, a completely riveting docudrama, and a dignified heir to the behemoth All the President's Men was and still is.

The Martian is a harmless product, but it does not resonate in the slightest, which on the contrary The Big Short cares for every time, breaking the fourth wall in what I consider one of the laziest and weakest narrative devices ever perpetrated in a movie winner in this category. A shame, specially considering its competition, with both Brooklyn and Room being almost flawless in terms of storytelling and character development. But my vote goes, of course, to Carol, a wonderful film whose scenes are just perfect, both for the words pronounced and for those unsaid. I've read Highsmith's The Price of Salt, and yes, it is also a wonderful adaptation.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2015

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:23 pm


Original is such a nebulous term in regard to screenplays. Three of the nominees, Bridge of Spies, Spotlight and Straight Outta Compton are based on complex real life situations which means they are judged even more so than adaptations are judged by their conformity to their source material. The true originals, Ex Machina and Inside Out are judged on their ideas and how they are put across without any outside influence. It's almost as if there should be two separate categories, one for real-life stories and one for fiction. SInce there isn't, all we can do is vote for the one which we think gets its points across best.

With that said, Inside Out for me is the first to go. It has a nice idea, one that might qualify it for the old Best Motion Picture Story award which is just a film's outline. The outline is fine. It's the repetitiveness of the action that dismays me.

Second to go would be Straight Outta Compton for basically the same thing even if to tell the real story you have to deal with the real-life mononoty and repetitiveness of the situation.

Bridge of Spies is a solidly written screenplay and would get my vote if there weren't two superior nominees.

Ex Machina is a constantly surprising science fiction film with a strong narrative that doesn't disappoint. It would be an excellent pick.

Spotlight, however, is not only solidly written, unsurprising in that we already know the story, but thrilling in the way it explores its subject matter and more than that, a valentine to the noble profession of print journalism of which this may be its last hurrah. It gets my vote.


You can throw out The Big Short as far as I'm concerned. Not only is it smarmy, dumb and confusing at the same time, it's focused on the bad guys from the book which had a lot more to say about the financial crisis that just the material covered. It's both a bad adaptation and a bad example of writing in my view.

The Martian is a sweetly done science fiction story that may not be great art, but is great fun. I have no problem with the nomination, but a win would be a bit much.

Brooklyn is a nicely done adaptation of a novel that was a bit off-putting with a central character that has things happen to her rather than being the master (or mistress) of her own fate. The film corrects that to the extent that she develops a backbone in the end to go with the grit she has always shown and makes a decision that in the book had to be forced on her by her mother who is seen as neutral in the film. If the award were for best improvement over the source material it would win hands down, but that's not exactly what the award is for.

Carol is a beautifully observed adaptation of a difficult novel, but the film has so many strengths that were overlooked that I'm not sure singling it out for the writing alone makes too much of a point.

Room is an adaptation of a work by its original author who allows for a remarkable first half in which the one room setting might have made it look like a filmed stage play but doesn't at all seem like that. The second half is so exhilarating that we are able to overlook some glaring holes in the narrative between the two acts and not allow it to bother us at all. It's a remarkable achievement in writing and gets my vote.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2015

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:56 pm

Under Original, I'd advocate for two foreign options (Son of Saul and Mustang), and the unfairly-maligned Joy.

When you get down to it, Straight Outta Compton is basically the hip-hop version of a Susan Hayward movie, complete with melodramatic third-act disease and death. Others griped about the movie's low nomination haul; I'd have been happy to strike even this citation from the record.

Bridge of Spies is intelligently written throughout, and (probably thanks to the Coens) wittier than expected. But for a spy thriller, it's a bit low on plot energy.

Ex Machina offers up some engaging ideas for much of its running-time, through numerous well-written two-hander dialogue scenes. But it, too, has a script that I wish went in some more exciting story directions.

Inside Out is my runner-up, for its genuinely imaginative concept, madcap sense of humor, and thoughtful exploration of the theme that sadness is a necessary part of life.

But I'll endorse the actual winner, as Spotlight is a richly detailed piece of true-life reporting that approaches its subject from many compelling angles, even if it isn't the kind of wildly original piece of screenwriting I'd pick in a stronger slate.

Adapted is a much better line-up overall, though I truly lament the exclusion of Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs script, my vote for the best piece of film writing this year, for its dazzling dialogue and imaginative structure.

The Martian's sense of humor is one of its most memorable aspects, to which I'd mostly credit the script, but overall it's more of a popcorn movie and pales in comparison to weightier competitors.

Brooklyn is a lovely piece, sweet and charming but also full of sadness. It's quite a traditional effort though, and I'll opt for something more bracing.

The Big Short definitely got some flack in circles for its win, and I wonder if some of that had to due with Adam McKay's prior resume. I've actually never seen any of his other films, but I found this a highly energetic piece of writing that took a fairly academic subject and approached it from consistently clever directions. It doesn't get my vote, but I think it's a thoroughly defensible win.

Room is an extremely powerful piece, with a script that slowly doles out information about its set-up until we have a clear picture of what's happening, then goes off in countless directions I didn't anticipate once it moves beyond that premise in the second half. I'd have been happy to cheer for this as the winner.

But I'll opt for Carol, despite it being more of a Best Director/Cinematography kind of movie than a Best Screenplay one. Because it is beautifully written -- it doesn't have a ton of plot, but the small details throughout are exquisite, and numerous scenes (the first "I don't even know what to order for lunch" date, the Harge/Abby "I can't help you with that" encounter, Carol's "We're not ugly people" outburst in the lawyer's office) feature precise and powerful dialogue exchanges.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2015

Postby Sabin » Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:05 pm

Inside Out & Carol.

Best Original Screenplay
1. INSIDE OUT, Josh Cooley, Ronnie del Carmen, Pete Docter, & Meg LeFauve
2. SPOTLIGHT, Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer
The others are more or less the same echelon of competence (albeit flawed or under-ambitious) but if I had to pick...
3. BRIDGE OF SPIES, Matt Charman and Joel & Ethan Coen
4. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, & Alan Wenkus
5. EX MACHINA, Alex Garland

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. CAROL, Phylis Nagy
2. THE MARTIAN, Drew Goddard
3. ROOM, Emma Donoghue
4. BROOKLYN, Nick Hornby
5. THE BIG SHORT, Adam McKay & Charles Randolph
Last edited by Sabin on Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2015

Postby mlrg » Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:00 pm

Inside Out & Carol

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Best Screenplay 2015

Postby CalWilliam » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:45 am

Which are your choices for the screenplay prizes this year?
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