The Foolproof Guide To Making An Oscar Winning Film

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You can always tell what film is going to win the best picture at the next Oscars, can’t you? We all know what the board like and so do the film makers. That’s why every film now has some kind of grey/brown, gritty filter, they’re all based on true stories and there’s not a single laugh in sight.

So you’d thought then that more production companies would be able to nail it. You find yourself a true story, throw some mud on the lens and then go for it. Sadly though, we still get a load of shit films every year so it doesn’t look like the directors and producers show any sign of learning.

With that in mind, little old me with my no awards has decided to lend some advice to Hollywood, because god knows they need the money.

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GET THE RIGHT ACTOR

Now I’m not saying go for a good, big actor that everyone likes because that’s not necessarily the way forward. Get a male actor who’s either criminally underrated, famously a dick or in need of a big role to revitalise his career. Joseph Gordon Levitt will do.

For the female actor, get someone who either used to do mainly comedy roles, or Cate Blanchett.

BASED ON A TRUE STORY

Don’t stick 100% to history – that could get boring. You want to find a story that, on the face of it, doesn’t seem that remarkable, but with the additions of romance, addiction and a hint or something really illegal like paedophilia (Lolita-style), you could be on to a winner.

There must be some sort of dirt to dig up on the guy who designed the Golden Gate Bridge, or maybe something about the wife of the man who made Winston Churchill’s hats? There’s stories everywhere.

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DISAPPROVING FATHER FIGURE/MENTOR

Assuming we’re going ahead with the bridge guy, Irving Morrow (I googled it), we need him to have either a father who disapproves of the bridge architect scene or a bridge architect mentor who employs some sort of tough love approach to teaching Irving. Or both.

Yes, the father is a butcher with a drinking problem. He insists that Irving join the family business and perhaps slaps him around a little when he’s had too much to drink. Meanwhile, in between cutting meat and seeing a girl who’s too young (we’ll get to that bit later), Irving sneaks off to midnight architecture classes.

But while the teacher (definitely from mainland Europe) sort of fills the void left by an emotionally and physically abusive father, he’s still very tough on Irving, never happy with his work and somewhat abusive himself.

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ADDICTION

Your lead needs a fall from grace and in a vain attempt to perk themselves up again they turn to the bottle or something of that ilk.

For Irving, he designs a small bridge for a nearby town that collapses a day after its opening, killing a family of four and two dogs. Naturally Irving blames himself and starts drinking to ease away the pain.

His career looks to be over when he joins his now dead dad’s butcher shop. But then…

REDEMPTION

Obviously you want your character to reclaim their former glory and that’s exactly what Irving is going to do. Working in the butcher’s shop with a drinking problem, he realises that he’s become the thing he hates the most, his father.

As he picks up a newspaper to take his mind off of things, he sees that there was an enquiry on his small-town bridge. It turns out that the design was perfect, but the funds were embezzled by the mayor on cocaine and hookers, meaning that it was made from cheap, faulty materials. Also the family killed were prolific Nazis and the dogs had super-rabies.

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ILLICIT LOVE

This is the Oscar shit right here. Your character can’t be totally likeable and has to do something despicable – that’s where the illicit love affair comes in.

Sort of like Leon, our tale will have Irving fall for an underage girl, though he might not do anything about it. Millie Bobby Brown seems like a good casting because she reminds me a bit of young Natalie Portman. She was perhaps the daughter of Cate Blanchett, who would frequent the family butcher shop quite often. They exchange looks and something happens, I don’t know. They don’t have sex or anything – that would be too bad but they might kiss or something.

This would create a conflict within the minds of the audience as well as perhaps within Irving’s. He knows it’s wrong but love’s love, right? Also Cate Blanchett fancies him and finds out that he’s into Millie Bobby Brown.

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A GRATUITOUS SEX SCENE

Not with Millie Bobby Brown – maybe Cate Blanchett is blackmailing Irving or something – that or there’s a girl who really likes his bridges. Or…

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HOMOPHOBIA AND/OR RACISM

Either Irving has a gay moment or his brother is gay, leading to him being beaten up by some thugs. As for racism, Irving’s mentor should be black, not allowed to design bridges in America (on account of all of the racism).

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THE RIGHT TONE

You want music by Hans Zimmer and cinematography by whoever did the cinematography for The Revenant (god knows that was the only good thing about that terrible film).

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AN EMOTIVE NAME THAT DOESN’T ACTUALLY MEAN ANYTHING

Either something like Bridge to Tranquillity or the obvious American Bridges.

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And there you have it, make that and you’re quid in for the Academy Award.

Or not..? I don’t know, do I? I’ve never won anything.

Images via iStock, Getty, Regency Enterprises, Pathé, Focus Features, Fox Searchlight Pictures

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