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The Holdovers’ Faces Plagiarism Claims Before Oscars

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Simon Stephenson, of “Luca” and “Paddington 2” fame, accuses Oscar-nominated “The Holdovers” of plagiarizing his 2013 script “Frisco.”

“Stephenson’s allegations, made in emails to the Writers Guild of America (WGA), claim that “The Holdovers,” directed by Alexander Payne and written by David Hemingson, copied his script “line by line.

” “Frisco” follows a middle-aged children’s doctor and his 15-year-old patient, while “The Holdovers” centers on a teacher, a student, and a cafeteria manager at a boarding school during Christmas break. Stephenson asserts that Payne had access to “Frisco” in 2013 and again in 2019, before developing “The Holdovers” with Hemingson.

“Os Rejeitados”, filme indicado ao Oscars de Melhor Filme e um dos favoritos em Melhor Roteiro Original, foi acusado de plágio pelo escritor Simon Stephenson (“Paddington 2”, “Luca”).

Stephenson tinha um roteiro chamado “Frisco” que seguia um médico infantil cansado do mundo e o… pic.twitter.com/xOMt5pYSkt

— Cinema com Rapadura (@rapadura) March 10, 2024

Despite presenting documents comparing scenes and dialogues from both scripts, the WGA initially indicated it wouldn’t get involved, suggesting a lawsuit as the most viable option. “The Holdovers” faces these plagiarism accusations as it competes for five Oscars, including Best Original Screenplay.

Background of the Allegations

Simon Stephenson’s “Frisco” gained attention in 2013 when it ranked third on Hollywood’s Black List of most-liked unproduced scripts. The narrative similarities between “Frisco” and “The Holdovers” have raised concerns, with Stephenson detailing extensive parallels in story, structure, characters, and dialogue. He has been in discussions with the WGA since January, seeking to address his claims.

Response and Developments

The WGA’s initial stance was that plagiarism claims involving spec scripts fall outside their purview. However, internal discussions within the guild indicate ongoing deliberation on the matter. Stephenson was advised that pursuing legal action might be the most effective course to seek recognition and compensation[3].

Implications for “The Holdovers”

“The Holdovers” has received critical acclaim and multiple Oscar nominations, including for Best Original Screenplay. The plagiarism allegations cast a shadow over its achievements, especially given the timing just before the Oscars. If substantiated, these claims could significantly impact the film’s legacy and the careers of those involved[1][2][3][4].

Conclusion

The “The Holdovers” controversy reveals the intricacies of film industry intellectual property rights. It emphasizes the challenges creators encounter in safeguarding their work and stresses the significance of thorough project development. The resolution of Stephenson’s claims against “The Holdovers” is pending, carrying possible legal and reputational consequences for all parties.

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