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01/30/2003 - Tom Jones at Academy

Brian A. Wilson


No, this isn't about the Welsh warbler from Vegas.

I'm referring to the best picture and best screenplay winner of 1963, written by John Osborne based on Henry Fielding's novel.

I had no idea what to expect when the curtain rolled back at the Academy. Two hours later, I was very glad I went, and not just because I sat across the aisle from Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks. Although that didn't hurt anything!

The contrast between this intelligent, literate, rich and ribald tale and the XXX/MI:2/Rocky 57 fare we get today was staggering. This film was made at a time when audiences were expected to have not only brains, but attention spans longer than three seconds. Imagine that!

It was a period picture, it was talky, it was cerebral, and the critics hated it. However, audiences love it and it won the Oscar for best picture.

Some things don't change very much in Hollywood.

Give it a rental. Watch the rich characterization, played to perfection by Oscar-nominated Albert Finney. Listen to the informative, multi-faceted dialogue penned by Osborne. Try to infuse your scripts with some of this richness.

You work will be the better for it, and so, we hope, will Hollywood films!

Keep writing.



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