Professionals Discuss Their Favorite Movie Moments

What makes the perfect scene? With the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hyping the Academy Awards with interviews of nominees describing their favorite film moments, others are naturally following suit. The opinions are now both from fanatics and the creators themselves, and it’s definitely interesting to hear from the perspectives of the actors and filmmakers. I read an inspiring article from The Hollywood Reporter, where the staff interviews the nominated writers and directors of this year’s Academy Awards. Here, they tell us what makes the pivotal moments in the nominated films.

Here’s a list of the films they describe in the article.

Margin CallWritten & Directed by J.C. Chandor

*Best Writing – Original

The Ides of March Written by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, & Beau Willimon; Directed by George Clooney

*Best Writing – Adapted

The DescendantsWritten by Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, & Jim Rash; Directed by Alexander Payne

*Best Writing – Adapted

*Best Director

*Best Editing

*Best Picture

*Best Actor

The ArtistWritten & Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

*Best Writing – Original

*Best Art Direction

*Best Cinematography

*Best Costume Design

*Best Directing

*Best Editing

*Best Original Score

*Best Picture

*Best Actor

*Best Actress

Bridesmaids – Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig; Directed by Paul Feig

*Best Writing – Original

*Best Supporting Actress

Bullhead – Written and Directed by Michael R. Roskam

*Best Foreign Film

You can read the full story here, but I’ll briefly sum up some of the best advice from the professionals.

What would "Bridesmaids" look like without this scene?

For Mumondo and Rash, it’s all in the rewrites. Mumondo says the poison scene came up in Bridesmaids because they needed to find a reason for why Lillian (Maya Rudolph) chooses Helen (Rose Byrne) over Annie (Kristen Wiig). Annie needed to cause something horrific in order to humiliate the other girls. The scene was originally written as a fantasy sequence with Christian Bale, but Mumundo and Wiig didn’t feel it was strong enough. For The Descendants, there was going to be a moment when Matt (Clooney) tries to console his daughter, Alexandra (Shailene Woodley). Rash and the other writers felt there was too much dialogue. In the final drafts, they changed it so that Alexandra would run off and have a private moment on her own instead of discussing her feelings with her father. She ends up crying underwater, which is a much more powerful scene without any dialogue. For Rash, less was definitely more in this scene.

Beau's favorite line in "The Ides of March" - "You can start a war. You can lie. You can cheat. You can bankrupt the country. But you can’t fuck the interns. They’ll get you for that.”

Beau Willimon thinks the key moment in The Ides of March is when Stephen (Gosling) and Morris (Clooney) argue in the kitchen in the final act. The scene worked because all of the elements were there; the mise-en-scene provided the tension-driven scene with harsh lighting and dark shadows, revealing Stephen’s character arc. And, of course, the delivery of the dialogue by Gosling and Clooney is what ultimately sells that moment. And J.C. Chandor says that it’s all in the underlying tension. Due to scheduling problems with Margin Call, several scenes had to be rushed, creating tension on set. Fortunately, this only served to help the film since that momentum and sense of urgency translated on scene. Chandor’s favorite line is when Tuld (Jeremy Irons) and Sam (Kevin Spacey) argue about moral actions. He has this to say about it:

‘If you’re the first one out the door, it’s not called panicking.’ If you’re in a theater and it catches on fire and you’re the first one to see the smoke, what are you going to do? That basically creates plausible deniability for everyone in the movie, and deniability is one of the human crutches that got us into this mess.

Great advice from these professionals. Make sure to check out the full article on, which includes links to pictures as well.

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One thought on “Professionals Discuss Their Favorite Movie Moments

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