Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
BEST SCREENPLAY ‑ MOTION PICTURE
Best Screenplay ‑ Motion Picture
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
QUENTIN TARANTINO: Wow. I can’t believe I won over Steve Zaillian. I gotta tell you that. I mean, I think ‑‑ it was only Margot giving me the award, that was the mojo that pushed it over the edge. Congratulations, dudes. This is really lovely. I want to dedicate this award to the dean of screenwriters, Robert Bolt.
And my favorite screenwriter growing up that made me want to be a screenwriter was John Milius, and John Milius’s hero was Robert Bolt. So I am pushing it back to Milius back to Bolt, right here, right now. Normally the thing is when I win a writing award, and you don’t share the script with somebody else, you write it by yourself, you kind of don’t really have anybody to thank. I did it.
But this time, more than usually most, I had a fantastic cast. And it’s not just a BS fantastic cast. It was a fantastic cast that took it from the page and had to add a slightly different layer than what was just on the page, whether it was Leo in the trailer, whether it’s Brad having his acid flashback ‑‑ acid trip or Margot’s just truly goodness, just the goodness that comes out of her that put more goodness in a movie than I’ve ever been involved in. And that goes down to everybody, all the way down to little Julia Butters, God bless her little heart. So I want to thank you so much. And my wife who is watching from Tel Aviv, who is pregnant with my very first child.
(In a foreign language). I love you.
QUENTIN TARANTINO: Hello. QUESTION: Congratulations. I'm a film fan first, journalist second. QUENTIN TARANTINO: Oh, wow. I would like one of those. QUESTION: I'm going to keep this brief. You said that your screenplay was elevated by your performances. Were Brad and Leo always the choice, or were there other people you had in mind while writing this? QUENTIN TARANTINO: Well, you know, it's funny. They were definitely the people that I had in my favorite dream about who would be fantastic to do this, but I couldn't count on getting those guys. I mean, that's the crazy casting crew of the decade. But at the same time, though, it was dependent, since one act -- one person is playing the stunt double of the other, they had to go together. You had to believe that one guy could double the other person. So I had to come up with a few different examples of people that -- different actors who could do that, but because of that, I kind of needed to cast Rick Dalton first, because once I cast Rick Dalton, then I would know who I would need for Cliff Booth. So that's the way it kind of all worked out, and then it worked out in the best way it could possibly work out. QUESTION: Congratulations. I wanted to ask you -- first of all, I love the KHJ jingles on there. QUENTIN TARANTINO: Yes. QUESTION: But I wanted to know, did you -- because I know you have to be sensitive about certain issues. The Tate family obviously went through some horrible things. QUENTIN TARANTINO: Yeah. QUESTION: Tell us your contact with them, explaining to them what you were going to do, and not necessarily getting their blessing, but having them understand what you were trying to do? QUENTIN TARANTINO: That's a good question. Even the way you are posing it is an interesting way. I got Debra Tate's phone number, and I gave her a call. We talked on the phone, and she lives out by Santa Barbara, and so what I did is I drove out there. I drove out to Santa Barbara, and I got a hotel for the weekend, and so we went out. So we got together for like a lunch in Santa Barbara. By the way, it's a lovely city. So it's a really good place to hang out. We got together. We had a big lunch. And I kind of talked to her about the movie, without trying to spoil everything, but just telling her where I was coming from and what it meant to write the movie, how I felt that I got to know her sister from writing it. Then we went and had dinner, and then I got to ask her questions, because I wrote a lot of this about -- I wrote a lot of this, and I hadn't done a lot of research, but now I was really talking to, you know, the person who really knows. So I could ask her specific questions, like, for instance, a lot of people actually think that the last lunch of Sharon's life was Joanna Pettet and another person, but no, that was not the case. I found out for sure that, no, that was just Joanna Pettet showed up that day. So then I gave her the script to read. And no one else, not Brad, not Leo, nobody else had the script on their own to take home. I gave it to Debra to take home and read, and then we got -- that was like a Saturday. So then we got together on Monday and talked about the script. No, no. That was Saturday, and then I stayed another night, and we got together on Sunday and talked about it. So the whole idea was to just let her know where I was coming from and that I wasn't trying to be exploitive and that I wanted to make her sister a character. And for too long she has not -- she has been excluded as a character in her own story, and I have to say it's one of the things about the movie that I'm the proudest of. If you go back any odd year, look at like a 20/20 piece on the Manson family on the anniversary of the murders, whether it be six years ago or seven years ago, watch it. Now watch it knowing who Sharon Tate is as a person, not just a celebrity person who died, not just a famous victim. You'll burst into tears watching the specials that we all grew up watching, because I think Sharon is taken seriously in a profound way. QUESTION: There's always been talk, rumors about they are going to end at ten. Do you really want to end with ten directorial films or will you ever -- will you ever stop? We don't want you to stop. QUENTIN TARANTINO: Well, thank you very much. The whole idea is to leave them one more. That's always the old vaudevillian's way of going out. Yeah, I do like the idea of a ten-film filmography, especially a ten-film filmography where I have spent the last 30 years giving everything in the world that I have to this and then dropping the mic and saying, Okay, that's it, and there's other things to do. I can write plays. I can direct plays. I can do a TV show. I can do a lot of different things, but the filmography will stand, and there is an umbilical cord link from the tenth film to Reservoir Dogs. So there is this artistic intention that carried from the beginning all the way through the end. I think that's actually really kind of cool, and I think that's really terrific. Also, as time as gone by, I've been making movies for a long time. I've given them a lot, so now I like the idea of being more of a writer, just me and my pen and a piece of paper and just kind of doing it that way. I can do one more question. Sorry about that. Thanks, guys.