As the Oscars sunrise slowly peeks its head over the horizon, I find myself able to brush off certain snubs even though they were blatant. What they were blatant for, I don’t know. But the snub that confuses me the most is Gillian Flynn’s strange exclusion from the Best Adapted Screenplay category. What’s even stranger is the lack of commentary I’ve seen on the subject matter. The little bit I have seen regarding her adaptation stems from well before the new year and was basically an assortment of cheap jabs that featured the usual adaptation bashing echoed nearly every year. Flynn’s execution of this adaptation was a beyond comprehensive effort that demonstrated her ability to flex her screenwriting muscles just as well as her novelistic skills. So, why was she snubbed?
She’s a First-Timer
Nope. This phrase can be so destructive, as it enables a perpetual scapegoat for the choosers on the other end. In fact, the fact that she dipped her toe in the screenwriting deep end and ended up making a massive, coherent splash is all the more reason she should be recognized.
Her Adaptation Wasn’t That Good
One of the most disappointing rumblings I’ve heard (yet no real writing and commentary produced from it) about her onscreen translation. Again, we must remember what a movie adaptation really is in its best form: source material that is shifted to the film medium, thus the content must be most reflective to motion picture. In short (and in the spirit of the cliche), kill your darlings. But do it so it benefits the screenplay format. Gillian Flynn did this. She did it well. Her screenplay was also pieced together nicely by longtime Fincher Editor Kirk Baxter.
So grumblings about her writing not being “faithful to her characters” or “to the story” are blindfolded, throwaway comments. If one finds her adaptation questionable, then he or she needs to recall that adaptation focuses on bringing to life the essentials of the book’s (or other source material’s) thematic backbone(s) and motives for its characters. Internalization does not exist on these pages.
Not One Woman Writer Nominated?
Yes. This is a problem. And let’s call this for what it is: bullshit. Flynn was strangely left out of the Oscars equation, yet her adaptation was probably the best of the year. Whiplash gives it a close run. This is as close as I can get with pointing the finger, but it is worth saying out loud because it does need to be heard.
Like Nolan for making Interstellar, Flynn has been on the undeserved, raw end of her own adaptation. She methodically built a motion picture storyline that gave the term “rabbit hole” a run for its money. Her understanding of the Crime/Thriler genre is an expert one – one where if anyone has any leeway to dish out commentary, it’d be her.