Thursday Movie Picks: Oscar Edition - Screenplay


It's the first TMP of the month, so that means its another Oscar edition over at Wandering Through The Shelves. This week we're talking about screenplays, and since it's pride month I decided to pick my favorite screenplay winners for LGBTQ+ films. Hopefully we have many more of these winners to come.

1) Brokeback Mountain -
The more I think about this film, the more I think it's actually perfect. It absolutely deserved its Adapted Screenplay win. I read the short story in college and Ang Lee beautifully expanded on it. 

2) Milk -
I believe when Dustin Lance Black won his Best Original Screenplay Oscar he was the first openly gay man to do so. His speech was beautiful, and this was such a good movie. 

3) Moonlight -
When this film ended, I wasn't ready to leave Chiron. I wanted to stay with him and make sure he was going to be okay. Normally I would hate that in a screenplay, but I get it. This is one of my all time favorite Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay winners. It's such a beautiful film.


  1. I haven’t seen Milk yet but I have seen the other 2. Brokeback Mountain is just such a beautiful and heartbreaking love story. Heath was excellent in his role. Moonlight is another that is so good and I would like to rewatch.

    1. Milk is definitely worth the watch. Such a great film.

  2. I always love a theme within the theme and this is a great one and so appropriate!!

    I love Brokeback and saw if multiple times in the theatre during its original run but haven't revisited it lately though I own it. It's just so terribly sad. I love the short story that served as its basis as well and listen to it on audio occasionally. It's read by Campbell Scott, he's one of the best readers in the audio book field, and he adds a wonderful depth and compassion to the story.

    Milk is also fantastic. I remember vividly when Harvey Milk was murdered and the travesty of the trial. Still burns today. The screenplay, and Sean Penn, make Harvey a living, breathing person.

    Wish I could say the same for Moonlight. I was so looking forward to it but it just wasn't for me. Two hours of unremitting misery.

    I also did a theme within, all three of mine, running in consecutive years, are crime stories that were also nominated for Best Picture (which in my opinion all three should have won!)

    The Sting (1973)-David S. Ward-When their mutual friend is murdered in 30’s Chicago small-time crook Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) teams with seasoned conman Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to exact revenge on crime boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) who ordered the hit. Joining with an odd assortment of colorful associates they formulate a long con to settle the score. Jaunty caper flick was a reuniting for the stars and director of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid ending up being showered with Oscars (7 in total including Best Picture as well as three other nominations) and leading to a jazz revival courtesy of its Scott Joplin musical score.

    Chinatown (1974)-Robert Towne-What he assumes will be a routine infidelity stakeout soon becomes an incredibly complex web of deceit and murder for L.A. private eye Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) when he discovers he was hired by an imposter and is being used as a pawn in a game with deadly stakes. Smart, stylish mystery amassed 11 Oscar nominations but only Towne won for his original screenplay.

    Dog Day Afternoon (1975)-Frank Pierson-Young and desperate Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) and his not terribly bright buddy Sal Naturile (John Cazale) attempt to pull off a bank heist in Brooklyn that quickly goes wrong. Trapped inside with the tellers a standoff, first with NYPD Sgt. Moretti (Charles Durning) and then FBI agent Sheldon (James Broderick) escalates into a media circus leading to a tense conclusion. Forceful, incisive drama garnered six Oscar nominations but again only Pierson actually picked up the award for his screenplay.

    1. The Sting is the only one I haven't seen here. I recently saw Dog Day Afternoon for the first time a few months ago and it was so good. Pacino was outstanding.

    2. While it has its serious moments The Sting has a much lighter tone than the other two. Newman & Redford have such an amazing chemistry that they themselves elevate an already excellent script. On top of all that the surrounding cast is top flight and it has a great look. It captures a real feeling of the period. Very much worth seeing.

      Glad to see you enjoyed Dog Day Afternoon. Incredible film.

    3. I'm glad I watched it. When I want a young Pacino fix I end up watching The Godfather for the 100th time, so I forced myself to branch out to something else.

    4. I'm not the hugest fan of The Godfather. I thought it was a very fine film but it's not one I feel any great pull to rewatch often. That said it is full of tremendous acting including Pacino. He's actually so right for it that it seems incredible now that the studio didn't want him because he wasn't well-known enough and cast James Caan as Michael initially. Coppola pulled for him and eventually persuaded the higher ups with Caan switching to Sonny.

      If you get the urge to check out more of Al's early work I'd recommend Serpico, And Justice for All and Scarecrow (the film is slow but worthwhile and has amazing performances from both Pacino and Gene Hackman).

      Avoid Bobby Deerfield!! The best thing I can say about the movie is he looks great in it and if you like car racing there is plenty of that but the film is an inert mess.

    5. I could not imagine Caan as Michael, he was the perfect Sunny. I'll have to check out those Pacino movies! I keep going back to Godfather and Part II lol

  3. 3 incredible picks and I like the theme within a theme approach to it. Moonlight was just on Showtime. Saw a bit of it in its second act as seeing the teenage Chiron beat up that homophobe felt good.

    1. Moonlight is one of the few recent films I've bought on DVD. I need to watch it again now.

  4. I'm hating myself so much for not thinking of doing this theme. Anyway, these are excellent films!

  5. I'm still bitter that Brokeback Mountain lost Best Picture. Best Adapted Screenplay AND Best Director but no picture? Give me a break. Milk was a great movie (heartbreaking too). I haven't seen Moonlight yet but it's on my list to watch.

  6. I haven't seen any of this, but Brokeback Mountain was recently added to Netflix so I will be able to see it soon.

  7. I've only seen Brokeback Mountain but in general I've heard nothing but good things about all of your picks!


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