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Writing Plays/Screenwriting/How good are the Oscar nominations this year?


Dear Sir,

I really appreciate your thought on the Oscar nominations this year. I was surprised that Argo won the Best Picture award. Of course, Argo, and other movies like Life of Pi are good. But relatively speaking, are they lesser films when we compared to the previous year?

Thank you

This is a hot-button topic in so many ways. Are the Oscars an indication of quality? Is the nomination and election system fair? What about the huge changes in the nomination rules from one year to the next? These are not just idle speculations; they really affect my answers to your questions and bring up the larger issue of whether these questions are worth asking in the first place. On top of all that, it's obviously a super-subjective topic.

That said, let's take your questions in turn.

I wasn't surprised that "Argo" won Best Picture. But I was disappointed. I was disappointed after I saw the film, and as time has gone by, I have been increasingly disappointed. The movie felt overly linear to me; there were no real surprises. Later, I realized that the parallels overtly drawn between movie making and the real crisis in Iran (i.e. the opening sequence, the closing titles) trivialized the issues covered and aggrandized the movie makers. And recently, I learned that a lot of the details in the critical climactic sequence NEVER HAPPENED. When you hold up a movie to be an accurate portrayal of real and important events, it should be just that.

The reason I wasn't surprised that it won was because the PR push was mighty and I could see which way the wind was blowing.

But overall I was disappointed in the crop of Best Picture nominations -- that is, those I watched. I'm hoping that I like "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Life of Pi" more than the ones I've seen.

However, I felt more or less the same way last year too. "Hugo," "Extremely Loud," "War Horse," etc. disappointed. And I wouldn't even begin to compare them to this year's: there are must too many variables.

I would just say that it's been a long time since I've seen a movie that made me say, "Wow. This is clearly and wonderfully Oscar bait!"

Hope this helps. Feel free to follow up on my blog:

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Roger S. H. Schulman


I can answer questions on the creative aspects of writing for features and television comedy: brainstorming, character development, plotting, story structure, dialog, rewriting, editing, etc. I can also address the business side of show business: pitching, writing and presenting treatments, "taking" meetings, common pitfalls, etc. I'm also well versed in the relationship between screenwriting and computers: software for scriptwriting, brainstorming, presentation, outlining, an d general organization. I'm also a producer, and so can answer questions regarding the ins and outs of television production, specifically the half-hour arena. Visit my scriptwriting blog at


I have been working in Hollywood as a screenwriter for both TV and features for many years. I'm an Executive Producer and "showrunner" who has run several prime-time and cable comedies. I've written several featurs and contributed to many more for several major studios.

Writers Guild of America, West

Newsweek, BusinessWeek, GQ, Connoisseur, UPI, New York Daily News, please visit my blog at

I have a Masters of Science in Journalism from Columbia University.

Awards and Honors
Academy Award Nomination, Best Adapted Screenplay British Academy Award, Best Adapted Screenplay Emmy Award Nomination, Best New Series NAACP "Image" Award, Best Television Comedy "Annie" Award, Best Animated Film

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