2016 Oscars Challenge: [16] “Straight Outta Compton” – Best Original Screenplay

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STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff
Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff


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FILM SYNOPSIS: In the mid-1980s, five young men from Compton — Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Yella and MC Ren — form a hip-hop group called N.W.A. As their music takes off, they attract the attention of veteran rock manager Jerry Heller, but the pressures of fame cause dissension among the bandmates, prompting them to pursue separate careers.


With as much influence as the members of N.W.A. had on the music world in the ’80s, including all the people that became famous around them during the rise of rap music, it is absolutely astonishing that a big studio film chronicling their rise hadn’t been made before. “Straight Outta Compton” handles the story well. Obviously certain elements are left out to keep the film going in a certain trajectory and at two hours and thirty minutes already, it still felt like there was so much more story to tell. The writers handle the multiple story-lines well, weaving the characters in and out of each others lives, just as it occurred in the history books, all while weaving them in and out of the hit music they were apart of, the artist discoveries like 2Pac and Snoop Dogg, and all the elements that went in to writing the lyrics for each song. You listen to the music now and you get the references to the other rappers, understand what was going on in their lives at the time, and ultimately earn a better respect for these lyricists and their gift with words. The screenplay also works in the favor of the brilliant young cast, who carry their roles with ease and in the footsteps of the men they are playing, make names for themselves. The characters are definitely all real human beings, with flaws, and we’re never exactly sure of the villains and the protagonists until the writers want us to know.

What’s its competition? Unfortunately, love for “Straight Outta Compton” was sparse among the Academy despite it doing well in the box office and being praised in most circles. Contributing to this lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations, now it has even been revealed that the cast of the film, despite some of them even being producers, were not invited to the ceremony, making headlines yesterday. But as they say, “no press is bad press,” and “Straight Outta Compton” could benefit from this lack of diversity topic, being on more Academy voters minds to consider whether this film truly deserves a win or not. However, since “Straight Outta Compton” wasn’t nominated in any other category, if we are to look at competition, then “Spotlight,” the front-runner seated next to “The Big Short” in Best Picture, will likely take this category. If somehow it does not, the fact that “Inside Out” has a Best Animated Feature nomination also puts this above “Straight Outta Compton.” Even “Bridge Of Spies,” which has plenty of Oscar love could potentially be a threat for the story of N.W.A. That being said, I will hold off my prediction for a little while, as the vote could easily sway this way for “Straight Outta Compton,” and wanting to give it some love, whether out of guilt or because it actually deserves it.

Previous nominations? These are the first Academy Award nominations for Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus.

“Straight Outta Compton” (2015) Trailer:


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// Produced by Ice Cube, Tomica Woods-Wright, Matt Alvarez, F. Gary Gray, Scott Bernstein, and Dr. Dre // Directed by F. Gary Gray //
// Dated Viewed: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 // BLU-RAY //  26 films – 33 days //

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