Was a Fictional Character Nominated for an Best Screenplay Academy Award?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: A fictional character was nominated for a Best Screenplay Academy Award.

Adaptation is an engaging film about the struggles that screenwriter Charlie Kaufman had with adapting Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief into a movie.

In the film, which was directed by Spike Jonze (who had directed Kaufman’s screenplay, Being John Malkovich, to great acclaim), Charlie is aided by his twin brother, Donald Kaufman. Both characters are played by Nicolas Cage (with the aid of “movie magic”).

As you can see from the film poster above, the film is credited as being written by Charlie and Donald Kaufman.

The brothers were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Fair enough, right?

Not so fast!

You see, there IS no Donald Kaufman. Donald was a fictional character created for the film.

He therefore became the first fictional person (not counting pseudonyms) to be nominated for an Academy Award!

Pretty funny, huh?

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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