2012 Oscars Challenge: [7] Margin Call & Original Screenplay

[39 OUT OF 46 FILMS REMAINING]-[30 DAYS TO OSCARS]

For starters, it should be known that developing a screenplay with even one truly formed character is a difficult task, let alone developing an entire ensemble in one coherent piece of writing. J.C. Chandor writes and directs this masterful film, a first for the writer/director in both regards, and he makes it look easy. Chandor’s screenplay has the dialogue of a Sorkin screenplay with all the bells-and-whistles of the “Wall Street” films. The film takes place in only 36 hours at one company, but the relationships, the personal conflicts and resolutions, and the constant motion make a good case for why this screenplay is above the rest.

There is a trend in screenplay writing as of late, in which concepts that are foreign to a majority of the population are being presented and explained in an interesting and understandable way. “The Social Network” was a great example of this, winning the Academy Award last year for Best Adapted Screenplay. The idea of web development, business, and lawyer-talk are all pretty thick and heavy topics, however “The Social Network” was one of the most beloved films of that year. This year, “Margin Call” brings to light the occurrences on Wall Street before the market crash. We step into the lives of these traders and executives and instead of cowering from being in over our heads, we relate with them and understand what is going on. Being able to write a screenplay that covers such high-knowledge topics and get the concepts across effectively is truly a skill and I really hope this trend continues.

“Margin Call” has an uphill battle this year. The big dog in the Original Screenplay category is Woody Allen with “Midnight In Paris” followed closely behind by the Oscar juggernaut, “The Artist” which could easily swoop in and take this award. Also, if Chandor, a first time screenplay writer, were to win the award over Woody Allen, a veteran in this category, it could cause an outrage. No matter the outcome, I believe “Margin Call” is the superior screenplay in its writing and more so than its other contenders. Though I was happy to even see this film get nominated, I would be even happier to see it win.

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