Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Oscar nominations came out today.  Here is the complete list compliments of
Sylvester Stallone made the list.  Go, Rocky!  Along with Kate Winset and others.  Some snubs to note -- the two biggest grossing movies of the year Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World didn't make the Best Picture roster.  Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin didn't make the list for his Steve Jobs script.  The Oscars will air on ABC on Sunday, February 28th.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

Best Picture
The Big Short
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers

Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers

Mad Max: Fury Road
Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers

The Martian
Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers

The Revenant
Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers

Ed Guiney, Producer

Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge Of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

The Big Short, Adam McKay
Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller
The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Room, Lenny Abrahamson
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short
Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Screenplay by Nick Hornby
Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
The Martian
Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Screenplay by Emma Donoghue

Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies
Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Ex Machina
Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out
Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
Straight Outta Compton
Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Film Editing
The Big Short
Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road
Margaret Sixel
The Revenant
Stephen Mirrione
Tom McArdle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Foreign Language Film
Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
Mustang (France)
Son of Saul (Hungary)
Theeb (Jordan)
A War (Denmark)

Original Score
Bridge of Spies
Thomas Newman

Carter Burwell

The Hateful Eight
Ennio Morricone

Jóhann Jóhannsson

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
John Williams

Production Design
Bridge of Spies
Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
The Danish Girl
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
Mad Max: Fury Road
Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
The Martian
Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
The Revenant
Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
Mad Max: Fury Road
Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
The Martian
Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
The Revenant
Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

 Animated Feature Film
Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
Boy and the World
Alê Abreu
Inside Out
Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
When Marnie Was There
Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Ed Lachman
The Hateful Eight
Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road
John Seale
The Revenant
Emmanuel Lubezki
Roger Deakins

Costume Design
Sandy Powell
Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl
Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road
Jenny Beavan
The Revenant
Jacqueline West

Documentary Feature
Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
Cartel Land
Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
The Look of Silence
Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Documentary Short Subject
Body Team 12
David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Chau, Bbeyond the Lines
Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
Adam Benzine
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom
Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Makeup and Hairstyling
Mad Max: Fury Road
Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
The Revenant
Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Original Song
“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from Youth
Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Animated Short Film
Bear Story
Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
Sanjay’s Super Team
Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
We Can’t Live without Cosmos
Konstantin Bronzit
World of Tomorrow
Don Hertzfeldt

Live Action Short Film
Ave Maria
Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
Day One
Henry Hughes
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Patrick Vollrath
Jamie Donoughue
Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage
Sound Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mark Mangini and David White
The Martian
Oliver Tarney
The Revenant
Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
Alan Robert Murray
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Matthew Wood and David Acord
Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies
Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
Mad Max: Fury Road
Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
The Martian
Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
The Revenant
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's hard to believe we're closing out another year.  2015 was pretty awesome!

I hope it was for you as well.

It was a year of firsts -- first time visiting Ireland, first time moving to California, first time placing in the two top screenwriting contests in the country (Nicholl & Austin) after years of trying and never making the cut.

So overall, 2015 lived up to my hopes in many ways.

I happily checked off a few things on my Evernote Dream List. 

And, living now in San Diego is pretty close to perfection.  It's sunny almost every day, waking up to the sound of bird songs and enjoying the Pacific.  I miss New York terribly, but for now, I'm soaking up everything California has to offer (while wearing plenty of sunblock).

For the New Year, I'm preparing to work on a new screenplay and a pilot script.  I want to hit the ground running with new projects and writing as often as I can (while working part-time). 

So, Friends, here's to a healthy, happy & safe 2016 for all of us!  Peace in the world.  Dream BIGGER than last year.  Let's BELIEVE and WORK hard at our dreams and goals.

CHEERS!  Cue sound of POPPING champagne corks!

Until next time.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Thanks to Variety for breaking down all the nominations below.  Mark your calendars to watch the show on Sunday, January 10th.  Worth noting that NetFlix beat out HBO for the most nominations with 8 this year. 
Best Motion Picture, Drama
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Comedy
The Big Short
The Martian

Best Director – Motion Picture
Todd Haynes, Carol
Alejandro Iñárritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
George Miller, Mad Max
Ridley Scott, The Martian

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Melissa McCarthy, Spy
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Maggie Smith, Lady in the Van
Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Will Smith, Concussion

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Steve Carell, The Big Short
Matt Damon, The Martian
Al Pacino, Danny Collins
Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Emma Donoghue, Room
Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight
Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, The Big Short
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Animated Feature Film
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best Original Song
“Love Me Like You Do” 50 Shades of Grey
“One Kind of Love” Love and Mercy
“See You Again” Furious 7
“Simple Song No. 3” Youth
“Writing’s on the Wall” Spectre

Best Original Score
Carter Burwell, Carol
Alexandre Desplat, The Danish Girl
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Daniel Pemberton, Steve Jobs
Ryuichi Sakamoto Alva Noto, The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language
The Brand New Testament
The Club
The Fencer
Son of Saul


Best TV Series, Drama

Game of Thrones
Mr. Robot

Best TV Series, Comedy
Mozart in the Jungle
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley

Best TV Movie or Limited-Series
American Crime
American Horror Story: Hotel
Flesh and Bone
Wolf Hall

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Wagner Moura, Narcos
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Eva Green, Penny Dreadful
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Rob Lowe, The Grinder
Patrick Stewart, Blunt Talk
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex Girlfriend
Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens
Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Lilly Tomlin, Grace & Frankie

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV Movie
Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Regina King, American Crime
Judith Light, Transparent
Maura Tierney, The Affair

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Tobias Menzies, Outlander
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
Idris Elba, Luther
Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero
David Oyelowo, Nightingale
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
Patrick Wilson, Fargo

Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel
Sarah Hay, Flesh & Bone
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Queen Latifah, Bessie

Monday, November 30, 2015

Read Amy Schumer's script TRAINWRECK below
The Black List just posted this awesome list of new movie scripts to read for free, legally available for instant PDF download.  There are so many gems on this list.  I can't wait to read CAROL, TRUTH and TRUMBO... also MAN UP and TRAINWRECK.  Thanks, The Black List for posting these links and to your great staff!  Reading scripts like these will help writers improve their own work.  Let's be thankful on this CYBER MONDAY for these FREE screenwriting gifts below.

Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)
Bridge of Spies (DreamWorks)
Carol (TWC)
Danny Collins (Bleecker Street)
Ex Machina (A24)
Grandma (Sony Classics)
I’ll See You In My Dreams (Bleecker Street)
Infinitely Polar Bear (Sony Classics)
Inside Out (Disney/Pixar)
Legend (Universal)
Macbeth (TWC)
Man Up (Big Talk Pictures)
Minions (Universal)
Mississippi Grind (A24)
Pawn Sacrifice (Bleecker Street)
Remember (A24)
Room (A24)
Slow West (A24)
Steve Jobs (Universal)
Straight Outta Compton (Universal)
Testament of Youth (Sony Classics)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Classics)
The End Of Tour (A24)
The Keeping Room (Drafthouse Films)
The Lady in the Van (Sony Classics)
The Son of Saul (Sony Classics)
Trainwreck (Universal)
Trumbo (Bleecker Street)
Truth (Sony Classics)
While We’re Young (A24)
Woman In Gold (TWC)

NOTE: These scripts are for educational purposes only!

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This is my first Thanksgiving in California and we're loving it.  We started the day by going to Coronado Island here in San Diego for a leisurely walk on the beach with our dog.
Thanksgiving 2015
It was heaven!   Dogs running and playing in the ocean and families gathered for the holiday.

It wasn't exactly exercise, but we did get in a stroll of about two miles.  That should allow a second serving of mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes without too much guilt.

Over the summer, I started my new screenplay tentatively titled ABSOLUTION.  I did about four passes on it so far and it's in pretty good shape... but still needs work.

I'm giving it to my three trusted reader friends -- and will see how they react to the story and characters.  Accept their fearless feedback and then sit down for another draft.

This time of year my motivation wanes big time.  I burst out of the gates in January after the holiday slowdown and go full steam until... around now, when the next holiday season returns.  Nobody much reads scripts this time of year anyway.  So it's a good time to study, brainstorm and gear up for the new year ahead.

I'll also read produced scripts, catch up on Oscar-buzz movies and watch great TV... but today, I'm enjoying turkey leftovers and football on TV.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!  For those followers outside of the USA, enjoy your day and let's share an abundance of gratitude together to make the world more harmonious in 2016.


Until next time.

Janet Lawler is an author, playwright and screenwriter. Her screenplay The Tenant advanced to the Quarter Final Round in the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for Screenwriting and the semifinals of the 2015 Austin Film Festival. 

Janet's debut novel From the Ground Up is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kindle.    Visit Janet's website at   Follow Janet on Twitter @JJLawler and the NY Screenwriting Life on Facebook.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

A Clever Tool To Help Your Story Get Unstuck
by Janet J. Lawler
November 8, 2015
Writer's Card Game from John August
John August is a prolific screenwriter and blogger.  He's written hit movies like Charlie's Angels, Big Fish and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  He co-hosts the very popular geeky screenwriter podcast ScriptNotes.

I love Scriptnotes and listen weekly (while walking my dog around San Diego).  It's an awesome podcast for screenwriters on the look out for cool new things, advice, insider tips and interesting chatter between John and his co-host Craig Mazin.

That's why the playing cards WRITER EMERGENCY PACK caught my eye.  John August created this deck of writing cards.  It's a cool idea for writers who might find themselves stuck writing their latest story.  Need some quick brainstorming games?  Pick a card, any card, and consider your hero in a new situation -- or location -- or facing a new dilemma.  There are 26 cards to help jump start your scenes.

The cards are glossy with tons of fresh ideas and suggested creative writing exercises. 

Now, if you're the type of person who hates to do writing exercises at the end of a book or chapter, then this deck of cards is not for you.  Don't waste your money.

BUT, if you're the type of writer who likes challenges and games to help flex your creative writing muscles, then the Writer Emergency Pack is worth the $19.  Here is the link to buy it

Want to save a little money?

Readers of The NY Screenwriting Life can also get a special 10% discount off the purchase of the cards.  Use code NYSWLIFE until the end of 2015 and save.  Go to John August's website for purchase

The Writer Emergency Pack is a fun, helpful tool, but you'll still have to sit down and do the hard work of writing.  Pick a card and get busy!

Until next time.

Janet Lawler is an author, playwright and screenwriter. Her screenplay The Tenant advanced to the Quarter Final Round in the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for Screenwriting and the semifinals of the 2015 Austin Film Festival. Janet's debut novel From the Ground Up is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kindle.    Visit Janet's website at   Follow Janet on Twitter @JJLawler and the NY Screenwriting Life on Facebook.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Five Screenwriters Receive Praise and $35 Thousand Each to Write Their New Script
by Janet J. Lawler
November 5, 2015
Award Ceremony at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater
Ever wonder what it's like to win the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting?  The following five fellows discovered what that achievement means.   Each called it "life changing" for their writing careers.  Their feature screenplays were celebrated (with a scene read live) last night at the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Awards and Live Read:

What They Had

Great Falls

Best Sellers

Free Agent

Addis Abeka

All accepted their award (a leather-bound script of their winning work and a $35,000.00 prize.)  Each fellow now has a mandate from the Academy to write a new feature script within the year of their fellowship.
Nicholl Program
They gave speeches and thanked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, their new agents, and spouses and families for supporting them.

Sam Regnier gave an emotional, heartfelt speech about how he kept a bottle of champagne in the fridge that he'd only open when he sold his first script.  It remained unopened for seven years.  At one point, when he and his wife had moved, the "champagne box" came up empty... Sam thought his wife had thrown it out.  Instead, she had placed it in their new fridge.  Together, they kept the dream alive... and his script FREE AGENT won the fellowship and has since sold to CBS Films.

Each screenwriter spoke about the many unsold spec scripts it took to get to Nicholl.  They know rejection like most writers.  The one theme running throughout the night was persistence and trusting your own VOICE on the page.  A reader will respond when you're honest and dig deep to find an emotional truth.  
Janet Lawler at Nicholl Awards;  2015 Nicholl Quarterfinalist
It was a fun evening in Beverly Hills!  This was my first time attending the awards and live read.  Go, if you're able to some year.  It's open and free to the public.  My script The Tenant was a quarterfinalist in Nicholl this year.  I wanted to be there in person to root for the FIVE fellows who were selected out of over 7,000 submissions in 2015.  

Congratulations to all: Elizabeth, Andrew, Anthony, Sam and Amy!  Many of the fellows had been rejected numerous times prior by Nicholl... so if you didn't win this year, never give up and keep writing your next draft for 2016!

Until then...

Janet Lawler is an author, playwright and screenwriter. Her screenplay The Tenant advanced to the Quarter Final Round in the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for Screenwriting and the semifinals of the 2015 Austin Film Festival. Janet's debut novel From the Ground Up is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kindle.    Visit Janet's website at  Follow Janet on Twitter @JJLawler