Home Forums Movies Why was “Syriana” nominated for Best ORIGINAL Screenplay if it was based on a book?

Why was “Syriana” nominated for Best ORIGINAL Screenplay if it was based on a book?

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  • Jake
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    #601979

    It was previously nominated for WGA for Best Adapted Screenplay. It actually looks like “Whiplash” situation in reverse. Writers of “Cinderella Man” must have been pissed.

    Why was it allowed to compete with original screenplays if it was based (even apparently loosely) on a book? Was there any controversy regarding this so the rules are now more strict at the Oscars?

    I remember joining (old) GoldDerby the following year so I don’t know anything about “Syriana” (Oscar-wise) other than it won George Clooney his only Oscar to date and he had several other nominations for “Good Night, and Good Luck”. Web was all about “Crash” vs. “Brokeback Mountain” and Reese vs. Felicity.

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    Tyler The Awesome Guy
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    #602002

    I always thought it was because 2005 was a really weak year and the Oscars didn’t have the balls to nominate Judd Apatow and Steve Carell for The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

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    Jake
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    #602024

    Surely there were other contenders? “Hustle & Flow”, “Mrs. Henderson Presents”, “Transamerica”, “Junebug”, “Cinderella Man” and “The New World” all scored nominations elsewhere (some of them more than “Syriana” did) so it didn’t have to be Judd Apatow if voters didn’t feel like it.

    Besides that, there’s no way that “Syriana” was switched into original category only to cover up inadequate field. It doesn’t work like that.  

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    Boidiva02
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    #602088

    I wish I had the answer to this, but I don’t. But you are so right that it was nominated for Adapted Screenplay by WGA and the National Board of Review but in Original Screenplay at Oscars. 

     

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    OnTheAisle
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    #602096

    Entertainment Weekly published the following in 2006

    Syriana may be full of conspiracies and coincidences, but here’s one plot twist its writer-director, Stephen Gaghan, couldn’t have invented. Though the drama is based on Robert Baer’s book See No Evil and earned a Writers Guild nod for adapted screenplay, the Academy decreed that the script is different enough from Baer’s work to be classified as an original screenplay. There’s only one problem: No one told Gaghan, Syriana’s Oscar strategists, or Warner Bros. of the decision, which actually came down weeks ago. Could this flap cost Gaghan (who won the adapted-screenplay Oscar for Traffic) his second nomination? Perhaps, but we think the writers’ branch will nominate Syriana where the Academy wants.

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    CanadianFan
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    #602108

    It makes no sense, and just emphasizes how ridiculous the distinctions between original and adapted are. 

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    Jake
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    #602142

    By using that logic Aaron Sorkin should have been nominated in Original for “The Social Network”. Disgrace.

    Similar situation happened this year with “Bridge of Spies”, although it was in Original from the start and apparently screenplay was written separately from the book. 

    Thank you for your answers.

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    M H
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    #602216

    It was previously nominated for WGA for Best Adapted Screenplay. It actually looks like “Whiplash” situation in reverse. Writers of “Cinderella Man” must have been pissed.

    Why was it allowed to compete with original screenplays if it was based (even apparently loosely) on a book? Was there any controversy regarding this so the rules are now more strict at the Oscars?

    I remember joining (old) GoldDerby the following year so I don’t know anything about “Syriana” (Oscar-wise) other than it won George Clooney his only Oscar to date and he had several other nominations for “Good Night, and Good Luck”. Web was all about “Crash” vs. “Brokeback Mountain” and Reese vs. Felicity.

    Just one point: this isn’t Clooney’s only Osacr. He also won for producing “Argo.”  

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    Jake
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    #602239

    ^^I forgot about that. Thanks!

    It’s possible that in the end he will win multiple Oscars and not a single one will be for Best Actor.

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    JabberCash
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    #602511

    I always thought There Will Be Blood should have been nominated in original screenplay. The characters names are all different, the story has a different focus, the film ends differently, it’s really nothing like Oil.

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    Eddy Q
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    #1201746485

    Except for certain interventions made by the Academy, the criteria for Original/Adapted is purely based on whether or not there is credited source material. So a movie could be partially based on numerous sources but if none of them are prominent enough to warrant a screen credit, it goes in Original. And if a movie is drastically altered from its credited source material, it stil goes in Adapted. Kind of arbitrary, but that’s just the way it is. If it were up to me I’d sort out category fraud as a top priority before coming down on this. 

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    Jake
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    #1201746575

    Unlike many people around here, I’m actually not against this separation. It takes different kind of writing when you create a story from scratch and when you already have a finished product that you have to translate for the big screen purposes. Plus there were many amazing winners on both sides, often in the same year. Situations like these make me puzzled, though.

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