The drama “Whiplash,” filmed in 19 days on a shoestring budget, starring J.K. Simmons, and considered a contender for best screenplay, found itself in a pickle on Monday, when it was discovered that the Academy had deemed the script an adaptation.
The Writers Guild of America, which announces its nominees Wednesday, had already declared it an original script, placing the guild and the Academy at odds.
According to Deadline Hollywood’s Pete Hammond, who broke the story, the Academy came to its conclusion that the film was adapted because the filmmaker, Damien Chazelle, had made an 18-minute short version of it first, winning a prize at Sundance, to raise the money to make it into a feature. The plan worked, but possibly at the cost of denying Mr. Chazelle a best screenplay nod.
“It’s a surprise to us. I wish I had more information,” Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, the film’s distributor, told Mr. Hammond. “And they don’t really give you a reason. I wish the Academy could give an explanation.”
For what it’s worth, the Academy’s classification for “Whiplash” echoed the decision by the Indiana Film Journalists Association, which also deemed the film to be adapted. Stay tuned for how this plays out: Oscar nomination ballots are due Thursday.
By C. Buckley
Picture credit:Daniel McFadden