Oscar crash blossom

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Attachment ambiguity strikes again! Originally the headline was "Screenwriter Graham Moore reveals he tried to commit suicide during 2015 Oscars acceptance speech for 'The Imitation Game'". Now it's "Screenwriter Graham Moore reveals during Oscars acceptance speech for 'The Imitation Game' that he tried to commit suicide at 16", Daily News 2/23/2015.


[h/t Omri Ceren]




  1. maidhc said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 5:59 am


    His point really was that he got a lot of acclaim for portraying Alan Turing, whereas Alan Turing himself didn't get much acclaim for being Alan Turing, despite having done more to win the Second World War than most generals, because everything he did was secret. And Alan Turing ended up committing suicide (so it's thought). There was a point in the movie where Turing hands out apples to his team; it looks as though it was intended to presage his death, but they didn't follow through with it.

    Turing received a posthumous pardon. His family is now asking that it be extended to everyone convicted under that law: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/22/family-alan-turing-government-petition-pardons-gross-indecency-homosexuality

    The screenplay was interesting because the people being depicted were all super-intelligent. Things that would have been obvious to them had to be hammered home for the benefit of filmgoers of average intellect. Quite a challenge for the screenwriter.

    Thomas Flowers, creator of Colossus, got written out of the story, but I admit that having too many characters would be confusing to the audience.

    It's a point in history when things are poised on the brink of tipping over into the modern world: computers, formal grammars, artificial intelligence … An exciting time for people who know about these things, but putting it over to the general public to the extent of winning an Academy Award is quite a feat.

  2. David L said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 9:50 am

    I thought about committing suicide while watching the Oscars, but instead I just turned the TV off.

  3. Mara K said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

    My boyfriend refuses to watch The Imitation Game with me because he believes its portrayal of Turing is grossly inaccurate. Can you help me convince him that it's nonetheless worth watching? (I've tried to go the other way and convince him it's accurate because Turing really was an Aspie, but a history blogger he likes insists otherwise.)

    [(myl) My reaction to the movie is that as fiction, it's a good story and a good movice, it's but really bad history. I mean REALLY bad history. ]

  4. Lance said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

    The screenplay was interesting because the people being depicted were all super-intelligent. Things that would have been obvious to them had to be hammered home for the benefit of filmgoers of average intellect. Quite a challenge for the screenwriter.

    Graham Moore in fact wrote about this very thing: https://medium.com/@MrGrahamMoore/how-to-write-about-characters-who-are-smarter-than-you-c7c956944847

    @Mara: http://io9.com/which-alan-turing-movie-really-captures-the-father-of-c-1671009693 might be something of an answer to your question. (Perhaps not much of one. Disclaimer: I haven't yet seen the movie, nor the Derek Jacobi movie also discussed therein. But I did take a class once that included Turing machines.)

  5. David Morris said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 2:33 pm

    To digress, the movie Still Julia either hasn't been shown in Australia or I missed it completely, so after Julianne Moore's win I had to look up what it was about, and I found that her character is a linguistics professor. Exactly none of the linguistics blogs I read regularly or semi-regularly has commented on this. Does she do anything linguistics professor-y in the movie?

  6. J. W. Brewer said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 2:44 pm

    I was not aware of the movie David Morris references (apparently titled Still Alice?), but I don't pay much attention to the movies in general these days so that doesn't mean anything. I do see that per the wikipedia plot summary part of the movie's fictional conceit is that Ms. Moore's character is a linguistics professor at a prominent American research university (Columbia) which has no linguistics department, having notoriously scrapped its once-renowned program several decades ago.

  7. David Morris said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 4:36 pm

    @J.W. Brewer: Thanks, yes, "Still Alice". I was thinking ahead to Ms Moore's name, and it was 6.30 am local time.

  8. David Morris said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 5:25 pm

    The Wikipedia article for the book on which the film is based describes her as 'a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned linguistics expert'.

  9. J. W. Brewer said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 5:51 pm

    Well, maybe they needed to tweak the book because they wanted an excuse to film scenes in what would recognizably be Manhattan rather than the Boston area. But if so maybe the actually-existing NYU and CUNY linguistics departments should be insulted that they weren't deemed prestigious enough for the fictional character to be associated with?

  10. Lance said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

    It wouldn't surprise me to learn that it's generally safer in a movie to portray someone as belonging to a non-existent department or college. (See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_University, though it may be more important to not use an actual school when you're accusing its students of various crimes.)

  11. AntC said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 9:29 pm

    @Mara K "… really was an Aspie. "
    Yes Turing really was. Look for accounts of the only occasion he met Wittgenstein. (Another Aspie, also gay.)

    @maidhc "…were all super-intelligent. Things that would have been obvious to them had to be hammered home …"

    For super-intelligent Aspies, it would not have been at all obvious that Turing was gay [**]. This must be the explanation for why the movie hammers home his sexuality by giving him a girlfriend??

    @myl "…REALLY bad history."


    [**] Personal verification: my dad, also an Aspie, but not gay, worked with Turing briefly after the war. He still has no idea what 'gay' means.

  12. Mara K said,

    February 23, 2015 @ 10:24 pm

    @Lance thank you! Now I want to see both of them back to back.

  13. maidhc said,

    February 24, 2015 @ 4:16 am

    Mara K: Imitation Game would be good for someone who didn't really know who Turing was and wanted to find out more about him and what he did. As a film it's well-written and full of drama. But it's not anywhere close to historically accurate. I even wonder about the pub with the ever-flowing pints of beer. I was just reading about Tolkien and his circle complaining that their favourite pub was frequently out of beer during the war.

    AntC: Whether Turing was gay didn't have anything to do with breaking the Enigma. That was what they were all focused on. For closeted British gays of that period I think you'd have to be super-sensitive to pick up on it. It was the norm for all men, gay or straight, never to display any kind of feeling. But it was true that Turing was briefly engaged to Joan Clarke, and her knowing at the time he was gay.

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