Best Screenplay Nominees (That Didn’t Win)

What do the films North by Northwest, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and Saving Private Ryan all have in common? None of them received the annual Academy Award for best screenplay, but they were all nominated.

Many frustrated filmmakers have questioned how the Academy makes its decisions, but regardless of how political some claim the awards to be, they are certainly the most coveted honors in the film world, except maybe a good opening weekend. The category of Best Screenplay is used to honor the writers of exceptionally excellent scripts, an art that is perhaps as nuanced as the actual filmmaking itself. After all, its possible to make a bad movie with a great script, but all the CG in the world won’t fix a poorly written screenplay.

Throughout the years, a number of films have fallen just short of the honor, but have been remembered fondly while the winners have faded away. Of course, the popularity of the film is immaterial to the quality of it’s writing, so perhaps these hopefuls got precisely what they deserved. A point of curiosity: not a single nominee that lost Best Screenplay, won Best Picture, and most Best Screenplay winners didn’t go on to win Best Picture with the exception of Annie Hall which received both.

   

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North By Northwest

Year:1959
Director:Alfred Hitchcock
Written by:Ernest Lehman (Author), Ernest Lehman (Screenplay)

Script Synopsis:Madison Avenue advertising man Roger Thornhill finds himself thrust into the world of spies when he is mistaken for a man by the name of George Kaplan. Foreign spy Philip Vandamm and his henchman Leonard try to eliminate him but when Thornhill tries to make sense of the case, he is framed for murder. Now on the run from the police, he manages to board the 20th Century Limited bound for Chicago where he meets a beautiful blond, Eve Kendall, who helps him to evade the authorities. His world is turned upside down yet again when he learns that Eve isn't the innocent bystander he thought she was. Not all is as it seems however, leading to a dramatic rescue and escape at the top of Mt. Rushmore.
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