Best original and adapted screenplay nominees



Mark Boal
"The Hurt Locker"

"Movies like 'Schindler's List' and 'Saving Private Ryan' actually inform opinion about those wars," Boal says. "I was moved enough by my experiences in Iraq to want to try something along those lines. For me, 'The Hurt Locker' was a story about the madness of Iraq that I wanted to tell in a cinematic way to reach the biggest possible audience. For a reporter to have a story that's meaningful made into a film seen around the world is a tremendous gift."

Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon
"The Messenger"

The writers struggled with how to handle the love story between Staff Sgt. Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) and widow Olivia Pitterson (Samantha Morton). "We had this huge temptation for them to end up together and we had to resist it," Camon says. "In the end, we decided not to have them sleep together and that was a big decision for us. It feels now that Oren and I went through the same process as the two characters went through: It was very tempting."

Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
"A Serious Man"

Although Larry, a physics professor, is a fictional character, the writing duo say he is an amalgamation of several people they knew growing up with academics parents. The film was originally going to be about the main character, Larry, and his son, who is only interested in pot and records. However, as the script progressed, the Coens came up with new ways Larry is tortured by misfortune.

Quentin Tarantino
"Inglourious Basterds"

In Tarantino's original screenplay, there was an additional story line about a group of black soldiers on the run from both the Americans and the Germans. "They were trying to make their way to Switzerland and then they come across the Basterds," the filmmaker says. "When I wrote it 10 years ago, that was the story line I was most excited about."

Pete Docter, Bob Peterson and Tom McCarthy

Producer Jonas Rivera remembers when Docter first came to him with the screenplay idea for "Up." "There were no visuals, he just told me the story of Carl Fredrickson from being a little kid and meeting Ellie and them growing up," Rivera recalls. "When he gets to the part where Ellie's gone and Karl is in his 70s, Pete said, 'This is where the story begins.' I almost fell over my chair. I had already laughed and cried in the three minutes of him explaining it to me. It had all the guts and emotion of any love story or action film that I had seen. I felt it was our job to make this."


Neill Blomkamp
and Terri Tatchell
"District 9"

Tatchell says writing the screenplay with her life partner, filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, happened almost by accident. "We moved to New Zealand because Neill was meant to be directing 'Halo,' but three months later it got canceled." "(Producer) Peter Jackson said, 'Why don't you stay and develop another screenplay?' " The duo did stay -- for two years.

Nick Hornby
"An Education"

Novelist Hornby has avoided adapting his own books, arguing that film is a very different medium from prose writing. But he did agree to adapt this memoir. What he didn't expect was to take on an acting role as well: At the first read-through, he had to stand in for Alfred Molina because the actor could not be there. "I could get used to this," he said after it was over.

Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche
"In the Loop"

Iannucci says the screenplay grew to 240 pages before getting greenlit. However, his financiers had last seen a 180-page script and were expecting cuts. "So quietly, we made two scripts: The official screenplay at about 140 pages long and the actual screenplay at 240 pages. I'm sure it was for the best that these nice, generous money people were none the wiser to the awful truth: That they were funding a film which, like the war it was based on, was the result of a massive deception."

Geoffrey Fletcher

Around the time New York-based Fletcher was close to finishing the "Precious" screenplay, he hopped on a subway car that was full except for two seats. He took one and just as the doors were closing, a woman took the remaining seat next to him. "She looked familiar to me," he recalls. Turns out it was Sapphire, the author of "Push." It was the very first time they met. "The only reason I recognized her was because I had been staring at her picture on the back of the book during all these months as I was adapting it," he recalls.

Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
"Up in the Air"

In 2001, Turner tried to option the book and "because I was hungry and dumb, I had already written half of the script." When author Walter Kirn chose to let the rights go to Jay Roach and Fox 2000, "to compound my stupidity, I decided to write the rest of it as a writing exercise." After the project was put in turnaround, Turner's script was sold on spec to Montecito Pictures and DreamWorks.