The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Why was British co-writer of Two Popes ‘erased’ from the Oscars?
ACADEMY AWARDS SPECIAL
BASED on Vatican discussions on the state of the Catholic Church, The Two Popes might initially seem a little short of Hollywood drama.
But behind the scenes, intrigue stalks the movie, which has been shortlisted for three Oscars tonight.
Its stars, Jonathan Pryce and Sir Anthony Hopkins, are up for best actor and best supporting actor respectively.
But it is the nomination for best adapted screenplay which is causing consternation – as missing from the citation is British writer Frank CottrellBoyce, despite his substantial contribution to the script.
He was called in to help Anthony McCarten adapt his 2017 play The Pope for the screen, drawing on his detailed knowledge of Catholicism.
Yet his name does not appear on the film’s official credits, apparently at the behest of producers Netflix, which means he will not be invited to the podium if the film wins.
Last night the Writers Guild of America confirmed Cottrell-Boyce was eligible for a co-writing credit. But senior director of credits, Lesley Mackey, said: ‘[Netflix] determines what they believe is a good-faith credit based on how the film was written. In this case they believed the credit was solely due to Mr McCarten.
‘Mr Cottrell-Boyce could have chosen to protest that and ask us to arbitrate. That didn’t happened. Mr CottrellBoyce was eligible but there was no protest.’
Cottrell-Boyce, who also worked with Danny Boyle on the opening celebrations of the 2012 London Olympics, was not available for comment yesterday, but a friend of the writer told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It’s all a bit confusing and rather disappointing.
‘It doesn’t seem that credit has been given where credit’s due.’ Tonight’s awards are expected to be dominated by the epic war movie 1917, which is hot favourite to win best picture. Its British director Sam Mendes, who based the film on his grandfather’s experiences in the trenches, is tipped to take the best director prize.
Joker star Joaquin Phoenix is favourite to win best actor while Brad Pitt is expected to pick up the best supporting actor gong for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
British newcomer Florence Pugh is up for best supporting actress for her role in Little Women, although it is expected to go to Laura Dern for Marriage Story. Renee Zellweger is expected to win best actress for playing Judy Garland.
Last night Oscar insiders revealed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been invited to present an award but had ‘respectfully declined’.
They had been approached about presenting the best documentary Oscar, expected to be won by American Factory, a film about a Chinese-owned US car plant made by Michelle and Barack Obama’s production company.
A source said: ‘They had been expected to attend but then the Obamas announced they weren’t coming because of security concerns so Meghan and Harry backed out too.’