How Graham Moore Went From Attempting Suicide To Winning An Oscar
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most memorable speech from last night’s Oscars was delivered by screenwriter Graham Moore.
Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for his script for “The Imitation Game.”
For those who haven’t seen it, “The Imitation Game” follows the trials and tribulations of brilliant British mathematician Alan Turing as he and his team attempt to break a seemingly unbreakable Nazi code during World War II.
By accomplishing this feat, Turing was able to help the Allies win the war.
Yet, he was not publicly recognized for his contributions until 50 years later.
He was also persecuted for being a homosexual and eventually committed suicide because of said persecution.
Moore dedicated his victory to Turing, to those who feel different than others and to those who consider themselves to be outcasts.
Moore also revealed his own brush with suicide early on in his life.
When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself… And now I’m standing here, and so, I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do.
I promise you do, you do. Stay weird. Stay different. And then when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.
Moore was able to make it through those dark days to become an Oscar-winning screenwriter.
After high school, Moore attended Columbia University in New York where he majored in religious history.
But, even in college, he felt like an outsider. He considered dropping out.
He told BuzzFeed,
I liked Columbia, but it was like high school in that there was this big social world that I was not part of. I existed on the side, far away. That might be temperamental, my own fear of large groups, more than anything else.
Due to the encouragement of his professors, Moore stuck it out and graduated. He then played in a number of rock bands and began working as a sound engineer.
Moore began writing scripts on the side with a good friend, Ben Epstein, who was in film school.
The pair had some early success and were courted by agents and managers. Epstein wanted to move to LA; Moore did not.
Moore struck out on his own and wrote a novel called “The Sherlockian,” which made its way to the best-sellers list for a short time.
He later joined back up with Epstein and moved to LA, where the pair worked on the short-lived TV version of “10 Things I Hate About You.”
Eventually, the opportunity to write a script about Turing fell into Moore’s lap and he leapt at the chance, even though it was unpaid at first.
But, he followed his heart and his passion. Moore had a minor obsession with Turing and empathized with the man’s struggle.
Moore wrote the script in six months and Hollywood went crazy for it.
The screenplay topped the 2011 Black List and was eventually produced with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley as the film’s stars.
Overall, Moore was able to turn his outsider nature into a commodity that paid great dividends when writing “The Imitation Game.”
In doing so, he embodied this memorable line from his script:
Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.
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