Shia LaBeouf has come under fire after winning a screenwriting award intended for aspiring writers.
LaBeouf’s script, titled Minor Modifications, won the Sun Valley Film Festival’s High Scribe Award last month.
The award “gives finalists an opportunity for one-on-one meetings with some of the industry’s finest to discuss their work” and “mentoring from an experienced professional.”
Shia LaBeouf came under fire after winning the award
The decision to declare LaBeouf the winner of the award led to a backlash from some aspiring writers who also participated in the competition.
Several took to Twitter to express their disappointment. They wondered why the festival gave an award supposedly intended for emerging screenwriters to a movie star with an established career and name recognition, and who has previously written a critically acclaimed movie.
LaBeouf wrote and starred in 2019 movie Honey Boy.
Any "screenwriting competition" that awards its top prize to an established Hollywood screenwriter doesn't deserve your $50.
— Kyle Andrews (@kylefandrews) April 26, 2020
I lost a screenwriting competition to Shia LaBeouf. I hope he puts that $1000 and 1-on-1 consultation with a producer to good use.
— Just Screenwriting (@JustScreenplay) April 26, 2020
This is the shit that drove me out. There is virtually no pathway for a new generation of craftsmen, so you get nepotism and ass kissing as the keystone of an industry’s future
(Hollywood) literary agents pride themselves on finding the talent, but they have no system to DO that
— Allen Ivers – Is it pronounced Gif? Or Gif? (@AllenIvers) April 26, 2020
I didn’t enter the contest, but I thought this was awful. Yes, he had every right to enter. But why? The prize was $1k and a meeting. He was once an A-lister. He’s worth $20mil. He has an agent and the ear of anyone he wants in Hollywood. He stole an opportunity from someone.
— Dr. John Licata (@JLicataDPT) April 26, 2020
LaBeouf’s latest screenwriting award comes after he reached the quarterfinals of the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards for his script for Honey Boy. PAGE International Screenwriting Awards is also intended for aspiring screenwriters.
A rep for LaBeouf reacted to the backlash
A representative for LaBeouf reacted to the controversy, saying that the Transformers star legitimately entered the competition as an emerging writer. The rep added that LaBeouf was thrilled by his success.
“Shia entered the competition as an emerging writer,” the spokesperson said, according to The Wrap. “He is thrilled to be a part of the community and thrives off of any opportunity to gain insight, constructive criticism, and knowledge from those with more experience… and that’s in regards to any art form.”
Emily Granville, one of the organizers, said that anyone can enter the competition and that the only restriction is that the script entered for the competition should not have been previously optioned.
The competition is also based on blind submissions. The team of judges, led by Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan, assessed the submissions without knowing the names of the competitors, the festival organizers said.
The judges only learned that the script was LeBeouf’s after it was selected for the final round.
Shia LaBeouf is an actor who has starred in dozens of blockbuster Hollywood movies. He is best known for playing Sam Witwicky in Michael Bay’s Transformers sci-fi series. He is also known for playing Mutt Williams in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
His film credits also include Nymphomaniac, American Honey, and The Peanut Butter Falcon.