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Write An Oscar-Winning Movie in 4 Easy Steps

Write An Oscar-Winning Movie in 4 Easy Steps

By Brandon Specktor

As we recently discussed, The Academy Award Best Picture nominees are beginning to look, well, a little lame. Today we are here to tell you why!

If all the Oscar nominees seem a little formulaic to you, that's just because all the Oscar Nominees follow one very simple formula. The MindHut is proud to announce that we have discovered the SUPER SECRET AND DEFINITELY NOT FAKE movie-making algorithm that all the top studios use to infiltrate the Oscars year after year.

We encourage you to take advantage of this simple, four-part algorithm before Hollywood spin-doctor Internet spies hijack this page and silence the truth. So bust out your favorite 20-sided die (or roll this digital one if don't carry your own 24/7. Weirdo.), grab a pen, and get ready to write your own Best Picture nominee!

Part One: The Lead Actor
First, roll to determine which of Hollywood's favorite actors will handle the leading roll in your upcoming blockbuster. This handsome mug will be the [A] value in our algorithm, so write it down!

1.    George Clooney
2.    Tom Hanks
3.    Brad Pitt
4.    Philip Seymour Hoffman
5.    Sean Penn
6.    Adrian Brody
7.    Morgan Freeman
8.    Tim Robbins
9.    Denzel Washington
10.  Leonardo DiCaprio
11.   Maaaaatt Daaaaamon
12.   Don Cheadle
13.   Clive Owen
14.   Alec Baldwin
15.   Jeff Bridges
16.   Clint Eastwood
17.   Jack Nicholson
18.   Paul Giamatti
19.   Daniel Day-Lewis
20.  Ben Kingsley

Part Two: The Lead Actress
Nice! Now, roll for a leading actress to strut and/or cry and/or defiantly champion the kinship of all living things alongside her prime cut of man meat. She'll be the [B] input in our equation.

1.    Sandra Bullock
2.    Meryl Streep
3.    Gwyneth Paltrow
4.    Cate Blanchett
5.    Hilary Swank
6.    Susan Sarandon
7.    Meryl Streep
8.    Dame Judi Dench
9.    Helen Mirren
10.   Julia Roberts
11.    Meryl Streep
12.    Kate Winslet
13.    Michelle Williams
14.    Meryl Streep
15.    Halle Berry
16.    Snooki
17.    Meryl Streep
18.    Meryl Streep
19.    Meryl Streep
20.   John Travolta in drag

Part Three: The Wildcard
Good pick. We can tell, this is going to be one sexxxy movie. Okay, time to find your input [C], who will play the Supporting Wildcard. This is a super important role, as the wildcard is usually responsible for love triangle complication, comic relief, and unnecessary nudity. They might even get a Best Supporting Actor nom if they do all three! Here are your choices:

1.    Jonah Hill
2.    Renee Zelwegger
3.    Paul Giamatti
4.    Jennifer Aniston
5.    Jesse Eisenberg
6.    Charlie Day
7.    Queen Latifah
8.    Sir Paul McCartney
9.    Joseph Gordon-Levitt
10.    Oprah
11.    Steve Buscemi
12.    James Franco
13.    Kristen Wiig
14.    Matthew McConnaughey
15.    Emma Stone
16.    Charlie Sheen
17.    Jessica Alba
18.    Will Smith's son and/or daughter
19.    Pam from The Office
20.    a cartoon monkey

Part Four: The Plot Skeleton
With our star-studded cast in place, all that remains is plugging their names into one of these time-tested, crowd-pleasing narrative archetypes. Roll one more time, and you, buddy, have got the next Best Picture on your hands.

  1. [A] is an important lawyer who's working on a big case that will reclassify destitute children as "livestock" fit for fast food production, until [B] comes along to change the way he sees the world as he knows it. [C] guest stars as the crooked judge.
  2. Through a series of tangentially-linked vignettes, [A] and [B] cure racism in America. [C] guest stars as the crazy hobo with a heart of gold.
  3. [A] dies in a national tragedy, leaving behind for his beloved daughter [B] only a mysterious grocery list. With the help of [C], a local pariah and petty shoplifter, [B] finds the list items through a crazy cross-city romp, then finds herself.
  4. [A] is a disgraced football player who breaks into the world of ballet coaching after witnessing a chance performance by the tenacious young [B]. They form an inseparable bond while training to defeat international ballet champion, [C].
  5. [A] and [B] are rival Hollywood actors who fall in love as the game-changing advent of CG imagery is introduced as the new studio standard, threatening to put them out of the job. [C] voices a famous computer-generated prune.
  6. [A] and [B] are a married couple on the outs who decide to try relationship counseling with renowned theoretical psychologist, [C]. Things get weird when [A] and [B] both fall in love with [C], and when we later discover that [C] is a reformed mafia boss in witness protection.
  7. [B] is about to get married to [C], but cannot stop thinking about her long lost drag queen father, [A]. Will he show up to the wedding?
  8. [A] is a professional country singer spiraling out of control. [B] is his only hope of rescue from complete self-destruction. [C] guest stars as the hallucinated Jesus lizard.
  9. [B] waits faithfully for [A] to return from war, even as her hometown falls deeper and deeper into emotional and economic depression. [C] plays vagabond musician Pickle Teeth Moses.
  10. [A] wakes up in a strange town with a terrible case of amnesia. While the locals take him in as one of their own, and mayor [C]'s beautiful daughter, [B], makes flirtatious advances, [A] soon discovers that there may be more to Cannibal Falls than meets the eye.
  11. Franklin Delano [A] and Eleanor Roosevelt [B] must fend off a team of bumbling burglars captained by [C] when the Secret Service accidentally leaves them home alone at the White House.
  12. A depressed writer [C] writes about a depressed writer [A] writing about a femme fatale [B] who comes to life and tries to seduce/murder him. It gets complicated from there.
  13. Longtime friends [A] and [C] must face each other in the International Planking Championship to earn the love of [B]. They discover that their friendship is more resilient than the world's strongest 2x4.
  14. [B] is an activist who saves armadillos from being crushed on the highway. A relationship blossoms when [A] almost runs her over, but quickly dissolves when she discovers he is a professional armadillo pelt salesman. They overcome their differences with the help of local shaman and TV personality, [C].
  15. [A] is a cowboy, [B] is an Indian, [C] is the planet-eating warlord Grogax, whose deadly campaign to eradicate mankind unites our heroes in love and battle.
  16. The Queen of England [B] must deliver a speech to prepare her country for war, but she can't find her contact lenses. Court jester [A] teaches her the art of improv while a local knave [C] plots an ineffectual power grab and draws mustaches on the Royal Family portraits.
  17. [B] is an eccentric English teacher who discovers that her struggling student [C] is a stealth harmonica prodigy. [A] plays the abusive father who we all hope falls into an open manhole, or something.
  18. [A] is a professional jockey who forges a deep relationship with his three-legged horse, Stumbly. [B] doesn't believe in either of them, but [C] is waiting at the finish line with a bouquet of roses and some gauze.
  19. [A] is an undercover cop trying to break up [C]'s bootleg DVD racquet. [B] is a boutique popcorn maker playing them both. Based loosely on the Pirates of Titanic scandal of '97.
  20. Two hobbits, [A] and [C]. must hide their love, lest they be expelled from the Shire forever. [B] plays the girlfriend who refused to see this movie with you.

How'd it work out? We've got Denzel and a cartoon monkey planking for the love of Judi Dench. And that, friends, is how movie magic is made.

Tags: guides, movies, writing, celebrities, the oscars, oscar nominees, the oscars 2012

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About the Author
Brandon Specktor

For 22 years, Brandon was a fat kid living in Tucson, AZ, which gave him lots and lots of time to write. He now works at a magazine in New York City, but still loves writing almost as much as he loves muffins.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.