Historically, whenever I watch the Academy Awards I feel inspired as a screenwriter. Each year a few screenwriters I haven't heard of are nominated for Best Screenplay or Best Adapted Screenplay. This year was the same, but I was bummed out because of one nomination: the adaptation of Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy. It was probably the worst movie I saw last year. The screenplay is a study in nonsense, hackwork and most of all, bad storytelling.
I went to see the film because I like Gary Oldman and I trusted the reviews (which I rarely do). I never read a review until after I see a movie. But the buzz in the quotes in the newspaper ads made it seem like a great film.
Whoever wrote this turd and study in boredom (I felt sorry for the actors) is one thing, but how could it be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. I've met one person who liked this movie. He saw it twice. I kid him about being off his meds that day. I don't know. He's a screenwriter himself and smart. Why did he like it? Who knows?
I suggest that you see this movie as an assignment. Tell me if you understand it. Tell me what the structure is. Tell me what the hell it's supposed to be about.
I love Woody Allen and I loved Midnight In Paris, but I'm not sure it deserved Best Screenplay. Margin Call or Bridesmaids were much better scripts.
In fact, look at the structure of both of these movies. Bridesmaids went on a little too long, but it had a true beginning, middle and end. So did Margin Call.
Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy had nothing.
See for yourself.