‘Wizard of Oz’ draft scripts head for auction block

Above, an early version of a script to the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ being kept in the vaults of the Smithsonian’s American History Museum. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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‘Wizard of Oz’ draft scripts head for auction block

  • The first three original draft screenplays, dated between April 5 and May 14, 1938, are being sold alongside a fourth draft
  • ‘It is the single most important manuscript in Hollywood history’

LOS ANGELES: A collection of draft scripts for “The Wizard of Oz” and other material from the archives of the 1939 film are going up for auction in December and could fetch up to $1.2 million.
Los Angeles auctioneers Profiles in History said on Thursday four handwritten draft screenplays by Noel Langley were being sold.
Langley, who died in 1980, was one of about a dozen screenwriters who worked on the big screen adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s book that catapulted Judy Garland to fame and became an enduring movie classic.
Langley’s first three original drafts, dated between April 5 and May 14, 1938, are being sold alongside a fourth draft of the screenplay, written by Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, and a fifth draft from August 1938 by Langley.
“It is the single most important manuscript in Hollywood history,” Brian Chanes, head of consignment at Profiles in History, told Reuters.
Chanes said the more than 150 pages of handwritten manuscript notes and pages were “the genesis of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” tracing its development and changes from first draft to the final version.
Some 16 photos of special effects, including the tornado sequence that transports Garland’s Dorothy from Kansas to the magical land of Oz, will be included in the single lot.
The archive is being sold by an anonymous private collector who bought it years ago from the late Los Angeles memorabilia collector, Forrest J. Ackerman, Chanes said.
Profiles in History put an estimated sale value of $800,000 — $1.2 million on the archival material, which will be auctioned during its Hollywood memorabilia sale in Los Angeles from Dec. 11-14.
Langley, Ryerson and Woolf all received credits for the screenplay when the movie was released in 1939, but several others also made uncredited revisions and contributions.
“The studio assigned a number of script writers and each scriptwriter did not know the other was working on it. The others kind of fizzled out,” Chanes said. “Noel Langley is the one that really set the stage.”
“The Wizard of Oz” won just two Oscars — for its music — after it was released in 1939 but went on to become one of the best-known musicals in Hollywood history. In 1989, it was among the first to be preserved by the National Film Registry.


Nadine Labaki, Rami Malek score Oscar nominations as race kicks off

Updated 22 January 2019
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Nadine Labaki, Rami Malek score Oscar nominations as race kicks off

DUBAI: The Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday, with Lebanese director Nadine Labaki scoring a nomination for her film, “Capernaum.”

Meanwhile, American-Egyptian actor Rami Malek was nominated for “Leading Actor” for his role as Freddie Mercury in in Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” while breakout star Mahershala Ali scored a “Supporting Actor” nomination for his role in “Green Book.” Ali made history for being reported as the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar in 2017, for his role in "Moonlight."

Actors Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani announced the nominations at 5:20 a.m. in Los Angeles, as film critics, movie stars and producers and directors across the world set their alarms early to catch the eagerly-awaited submissions for Hollywood's most coveted awards.

The show will take place on Feb. 24 and will see Hollywood’s cream of the crop go head to head.

Labaki’s “Capernaum” was widely expected to be nominated as it has been well received by international critics.

The gritty film, which won the 2018 Cannes Jury Prize, centers on a poverty-stricken child who sues his parents in protest of the life they have given him. Last year’s Oscar entry from Lebanon, Ziad Doueiri’s “The Insult,” also earned a nomination.

One of the most buzzed-about foreign language films this year, however, is “Roma” from Alfonso Cuaron — a black and white ode to his childhood in 1970s Mexico City that took home two Golden Globes, including best director.

The film was produced by streaming giant Netflix, which has come under criticism from its more traditional rivals for its strategy of massive online distribution of original content — and screenings in only a few cinemas.

“Roma” is the first Netflix film to vie for glory in major Oscar categories.

It was also nominated in the coveted “Best Film” category, alongside “Black Panther”

“BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favorite,” “Green Book,” “Roma” and “A Star is Born.”

Last year, the awards season was marked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the birth of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements against sexual misconduct and harassment in the workplace.

This year, multiple controversies are plaguing the Oscars — none of them related to last year's bombshell.

In August, the Academy — under fire for being too elitist — announced it would add a “best popular film” award. But many saw the new category as a booby prize for blockbusters like “Black Panther” that would keep them out of contention for top honors.

The plan was scrapped a month later.

Then actor-comedian Kevin Hart had perhaps the briefest tenure ever as Oscars host — a few days. He withdrew after homophobic tweets he had written years ago sparked a crippling backlash on social media.

Of course, on Oscars night, the focus will revert to the nominees and the red carpet glamor.

Key Nominations

Best Film

‘Black Panther’

‘BlacKkKlansman’

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

‘The Favorite’

‘Green Book’

‘Roma’

‘A Star is Born’

Vice

Best Foreign Language Film  

‘Capernaum’ (Lebanon)

‘Cold War’ (Poland)

‘Never Look Away’ (Germany)

‘Roma’ (Mexico)

‘Shoplifters’ (Japan)

Best Actor

Christian Bale, "Vice"

Bradley Cooper, "A Star Is Born"

Willem Dafoe, "At Eternity's Gate"

Rami Malek, "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Viggo Mortensen, "Green Book"

Best Actress 

Yalitza Aparicio, "Roma"

Glenn Close, "The Wife"

Olivia Colman, "The Favourite"

Lady Gaga, "A Star Is Born"

Melissa McCarthy, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"