Dana Coen is the director of the Writing for the Screen and Stage Minor. Coen has written for shows like "Carol & Company," "JAG," "Room for Two" and "Bones." University desk staff writer Casey Quam spoke with Coen about Sunday’s Academy Awards.
DTH: What movies should've been nominated for the Oscars but weren't?
DC: My favorites were "The Florida Project," written and directed by Sean Baker, a terrific film. I can see why it wasn’t nominated — it’s very much an independent film. It’s a very powerful film about matriarchal white families living in the outskirts of Disney World, in this very brightly-colored hotel, basically living on the edge. It’s about their children and particularly one child whose play land becomes kind of an alternate Disneyland, and so instead of being involved in all the park attractions, she’s getting involved in vandalism and voyeurism.
I also liked "A Ghost Story," it’s about literally a white-sheeted ghost where this character dies and he doesn’t want to leave his house, nor does he want to leave his young wife, so he kind of sticks around without her knowing he’s there. The film is largely visual, there’s very low dialogue, except for extensive monologue about mortality. It’s really about his journey in a kind of purgatory and he needs to make a choice one way or the other, whether he’s going to stay in this world where he just watches the world move past him, or whether he’s going to complete his journey.
Another film, "A Woman, a Part," is about an actress who is in a television series and she’s very unhappy with the way they are writing her character, so she has to decide whether she’s going to try to get out of her contract or continue on with the show. "The Big Sick" is one of those that was actually up for best original screenplay last night, that’s a very amusing film about a young Pakistani man who has an affair with a young white woman and doesn’t tell her that his mother is intent on arranging a marriage for him. He has to meet her parents, who already know they’ve broken up. So it’s a very interesting and a very funny film. "The Light of the Moon" was written and directed by a woman, about a woman who was assaulted and raped, a young architect in New York, and it’s really a film about her struggles to process it. It’s unapologetic, honest and not exploitative.