Roundup: The screenplay Oscar conundrum

Mark Harris notes, as many have before him, that the Academy’s Best Screenplay categorizations are a bit confusing. Why should films like “Before Midnight” and “Toy Story 3” compete as adaptations when they’re not adapted from anything, simply because they use pre-existing characters? And on the original side of things, are factual or biographical screenplays really that comparable to fiction crafted entirely from the writer’s imagination? Harris argues that the only solution is to divide the writing Oscars into three categories: Best Original Screenplay, Best Screenplay Based On Factual Material and Best Adaptation. Even then, though, a part-factual, part-fabricated film like “The Butler” could blur the lines. What do you think? [Grantland]

Tim Gray considers the mixed response to “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and deems its awards outlook unclear. [Variety]

The director of Canadian Oscar submission — and estimable contender — “Gabrielle” discusses the rewards and challenges of working with mentally disabled actors. [The Wrap]

Alfonso Cuaron regrets making “Great Expectations.” He shouldn’t, because it’s wonderful. [Atlantic Wire]

That’s a tidbit, by the way, from this Hollywood Reporter, directors’ roundtable, which also includes Steve McQueen, Paul Greengrass, Ben Stiller, Lee Daniels and David O. Russell. [THR]

Scott Tobias proposes a mini-festival of the eight films — several of them excellent — that have received a Cinemascore rating of F. [The Dissolve]

Composer and sound designer Mike Zarin wants it known that it was he, not Hans Zimmer, who created the “Inception” “BRAAAAM.” [The Playlist]

Oprah Winfrey talks about being asked to play a serial killer for Lee Daniels, and Daniels on his chances of winning an Oscar. Also, he gets genuinely flummoxed by a good question. [The Guardian]

Kyle Buchanan on how Oscar Isaac can get that Best Actor nomination: he might have to sing for his supper. [Vulture]