DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s the star-studded event that Hollywood looks forward to every year: the Academy Awards ceremony! This year marks the 90th annual awards ceremony. And, on Sunday, March 4th, Hollywood A-listers will gather at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles for the star-studded, red carpet event.

With hundreds of movies released each year, how does a film make it onto one of the most coveted lists of all? First, you have to start with a great script. WWJ’s film critic, Terri Lee, sat down with Metro Detroiter Geoffrey Calhoun, an award-winning screenwriter, and founder of to find out what a screenplay needs to have in order to stand out from the rest.

“What makes a really great screenplay stand out from a regular screenplay is the ability to show sympathy for the hero and an almost empathy for the villain; “I think that’s really what separates a great script,” Calhoun said.

This year’s screenplays competing for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay include:

The Big Sick”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“The Shape of Water” and
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri …

all unique in their own right.

“You definitely have to have your own voice, so that you can stand out,” said Calhoun. “You know, what happens is things start to kind of blend together. For instance, with ‘The Shape of Water’, Guillermo del Toro has such a unique voice the way that he writes and the way that he shows his movies, so that becomes branded in itself and creates a pretty good screenplay.”

Speaking of “The Shape of Water”, the movie and its director have already racked up numerous awards. But, it’s still anybody’s guess which screenplay will take home the prize.

The Academy Awards ceremony is Sunday, March 4th.

Is Your Script Ready for Prime Time?

Calhoun’s company, We Fix Your Script, is hosting its first screenwriting contest later this year in Las Vegas.

“It’s specialized for screenwriters,” Calhoun said. “A lot of film festivals are just for films, and ours is screenwriters.”

“We’ve actually partnered with The Action on Film Megafest, which is 10 festivals coming together. So what that means is we’re going to have all kinds of seminars and movies that you get access to, and we can also deliver you access to producers and directors because of that big festival. And we also have over $1,500 in cash prizes,” Calhoun added.

For more information on Script Summit, click here.

See you at the movies!

Be sure to tune in to WWJ Newsradio 950 every Friday for my weekly look at the movies with Midday Anchor Jackie Paige.

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee

Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA)
Detroit Film Critics Society (DFCS)
African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)


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