Spike Jonze's 'Her' is the likely winner of the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Since its debut at the New York Film Festival last October, Spike Jonze's new film Her has become the dark horse of the awards season, gathering best film awards from the American Film Institute, National Board of Review and critics groups in Los Angeles, San Diego and Austin.
Spike Jonze's 'Her' Stars Joaquin Phoenix
And Jonze's screenplay has racked up the prestigious Writers Guild award and the Golden Globe, plus prizes from both broadcast and online critics, as well as 10 regional critics groups. Of the film's five Oscar nominations, it's the favourite to win for Best Original Screenplay. Check out our 'Her' review.
Jonze's singular genius is his ability to take a high-concept idea and turn it into a profoundly human movie. Working with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, his films Being John Malkovich and Adaptation are both mind-bending comedies and evocative explorations of our inner thoughts. "I always wanted Her to be a relationship movie," he says. "And that was at odds with it being so high-concepty."
To make his futuristic story feel more tactile, he avoided the standard sci-fi glass and steel look. When Joaquin Phoenix's character Theodore falls for his operating system, the only physical representation of her is a retro-style mobile phone and Scarlett Johansson's sexy voice.
Jonze was inspired to write Her based on the memory of a brief conversation he had some 10 years ago with an artificially intelligent computer programme. "For the first 30 seconds I had that buzz," he recalls. "It's responding to me! Then it quickly fell apart. So you wonder, what if I could sustain that forever? What would that be like?" And now that the film is with us, it's hard to imagine anyone else answering those questions.