Each year, there are two Academy Awards given out for screenplays. One is for the best original screenplay, which is a screenplay that is not based upon previously published material. The other is for the best adapted screenplay, which is a screenplay that interprets another source. This can be a novel, short story, a play, a television show or sometimes even another film.
Learning to write your own screenplay takes a good amount of research, practice and repetition. Watching movies and studying successful screenplays and writers are some things that you can do to help yourself learn. The following are some of the best adapted screenplay ideas of the 1980s that are worth checking out.
In 1989, Driving Miss Daisy won the Academy Award for the Best Adapted Screenplay. The film, adapted by Alred Uhry from his play of the same name, is a comedy-drama that follows Mrs. Daisy Werthan, a 72-year-old widow at the beginning of the story. After a driving mishap where her automobile is wrecked, her son, Boolie finds a chauffeur for her by the name of Hoke Colburn. At first Daisy refuses to be driven, but gradually she accepts Hoke and comes to respect him. When she finds out that he is illiterate, Daisy, a retired schoolteacher, educates him, and develops an understanding of how Hoke’s race affects how others treat him in the society of 1940s and 1950s Georgia. When her maid dies, Miss Daisy takes it upon herself to care for her own house. She develops an appreciation for the civil rights movement and attends a dinner at with Dr. Martin Luther King gives a speech. Eventually, Daisy is unable to take care of herself anymore and is moved into a retirement home. Hoke visits Daisy, at this point 97 years old, and ends up feeding her some of her uneaten pumpkin pie when she finds it too difficult to move the fork. Driving Miss Daisy is the only film based on an off Broadway production to ever win an Academy Award for Best Picture, and Jessica Tandy, at age 81, became the oldest winner ever in the history of the Best Actress category.
In addition to the Academy Awards, the film won three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture. It also won awards at the British Academy Film Awards. The film earned over $145 million at the box office total.
Another adapted screenplay to win an Academy Award in the 1980s was Terms of Endearment. The film was produced, directed, and adapted by James L. Brooks from the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry, and covers thirty years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma. In the beginning of the film, Aurora is portrayed as difficult but caring, going so far as to almost climb into Emma’s crib to ensure her daughter is still breathing. Later, Emma gets marries immediately after graduating high school, while her friend continues on to college, becoming successful and rich in New York City. Emma’s marriage to college professor Flap Horton becomes strained after years of struggle to support themselves and their children in Iowa, particularly when Flap begins to philander. Emma finds comfort and love in small-town, older banker Sam Burns, eventually having an affair with him. At the same time, Aurora cultivates the attention of several gentlemen in the area, eventually forming a tenuous relationship with the philandering retired astronaut, Garrett Breedlove. Emma leaves her husband after discovering his affair, though she eventually goes back to Flap, even deciding to end the affair when Flap accepts a teaching position in Nebraska. She realizes, however, that Flap accepted the position to follow his mistress, and while at the doctor’s office for a flu shot, the doctor discovers lumps which prove to be cancer. When it becomes clear that Emma is not responding to treatment, she makes plans for her children to be raised by her mother. Garrett and Aurora reconcile, and after Emma’s funeral, Garrett shows love toward each of Emma’s children.
The film was generally well regarded by critics, and was a box office success, grossing over $108 million in the United States. It remained #1 at the box office for four weeks straight, after alternating weekends in the #1 and #2 positions. On the film’s 11th weekend, it arrived at #1 for the sixth and final time. In addition to the Academy Award wins, the film won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay and has been honored by the American Film Institute in several of its 100 best lists.
Do you have a screenplay idea that you think would make a great movie or TV show? If you would like to take action and pursue your screenplay idea, New Show Studios can help.
New Show Studios is a company that’s designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small. It has all the resources under one roof to develop your screenplay idea into a concept package and present it to an entertainment company through its exclusive licensing agent, SFM Entertainment. SFM Entertainment has over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry.
Remember that even with the best presentation materials new entertainment development is high risk and there is very little likelihood that your idea will be successfully licensed or result in profit to you.
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