21 November 2013 9:30 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Stars and scribes are in bed together. And as current award contenders illustrate, nobody’s sleeping with the enemy.

Writing categories, normally heavily tilted toward such ensemble pics as “Juno” and “Little Miss Sunshine” with stars-to-be in the main roles, this year promise to include numerous projects that successfully attracted big-name onscreen talent. Screenplays are giving stars what they want, and it’s a lot more than bitter Joe Gillis brought to crazy Norma Desmond in “Sunset Blvd.

Which is: What? Ethan Hawke, acting and scripting with Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater on “Before Midnight,” claims “any actor worth his salt is looking for a challenge. He’s dying to go out on a limb.” To Billy Ray (“Captain Phillips”), “what they’re looking for in a character is dilemma. Those are the playable moments.”

Thesps above all crave “red meat,” in the phrase of Tracy Letts, author of carnivores’ banquet “August: Osage County. »

- Bob Verini

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