Margate native Scott Neustadter, now a Los Angeles-based screenwriter, kept his expectations in check Tuesday morning.
Neustadter, 40, had heard the hype previously that he would receive an Academy Award nomination for his first screenplay that turned into movie, “500 Days of Summer,” released in 2009. It didn’t happen.
But, this time, the bloggers and prognosticators were correct.
Neustadter and his writing partner, Michael H. Weber, received the first Oscar nominations of their careers as they were honored in the best adapted screenplay category for their work on “The Disaster Artist.”
“Obviously, it’s a dream come true, and I kind of can’t believe it,” Neustadter said via email Tuesday. “We’re very proud of the movie and over the moon that people are enjoying it.”
Neustadter and Weber adapted Greg Sestero’s 2013 memoir, “The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made,” into “The Disaster Artist.” Neustadter and Weber are also both executive producers of the film.
The film is a biographical comedy about the creation of 2003’s “The Room,” with James Franco playing its creator, Tommy Wiseau.
Neustadter, a 1994 Atlantic City High School graduate, said it was pretty hard to sleep Monday night.
Neustadter and his wife, Lauren, have a 5-year-old son, Michael, who wanted to get up and watch the Academy Award nominations with them about 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time.
The three of them watched the livestream together.
“We cheered so loud it woke our baby, Riley,” said Neustadter, who added the baby turns 1 year old next month.
All of the screenplays Neustadter has written, both original and adapted, have been co-written by New York-based Weber.
They did screenplays for movies including “The Spectacular Now” in 2013, “The Fault in Our Stars” in 2014, “Paper Towns” in 2015 and “Our Souls at Night,” which was released last year.
Neustadter said he and Weber sent texts back and forth Tuesday.
“I don’t think either of us has completely processed what’s happened. It’s pretty unbelievable,” Neustadter said.
When the nomination were announced, Neustadter missed incoming calls from his mother and sister because he and his wife were dealing with the baby, but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“I’m very glad I did, because now I have some very lovely messages from everyone saved on my phone. Everyone is obviously very excited, and I have to say anything good that’s ever happened to me I owe to the love and support of my family, which continues to this day,” Neustadter said.
Ursula Ryan, president of Weist-Barron-Ryan Acting Workshops in Pleasantville, is a voting member of the Screen Actors Guild, which named Franco, the director and the star of “The Disaster Artist,” as one of the five nominees for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role.
“We think it’s great for South Jersey,” Ryan said.
Neustadter said he was having a small group of people over later on Tuesday for a little toast, but apart from that, it was just another day.
William Sokolic, founder and president of the Atlantic City Cinefest, also known as the Downbeach Film Festival, said Neustadter participated in a screenwriting panel during the first festival in 2008, before “500 Days of Summer” was released into theaters.
“Anybody that’s been a part of the festival, it’s great to see them make a name for themselves, not that it is a reflection of the film festival, because he was on his way prior to that,” Sokolic said. “It’s just nice.”
Prior to the Oscar nominations, Neustadter and Weber’s work on “The Disaster Artist” won in the screenwriter of the year category of the Hollywood Film Awards and was honored as the best adapted screenplay by the National Board of Review.
Neustadter became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a couple of years ago but has never attended the Oscars.
“I’m still a little in shock that I get to go,” Neustadter said.