With his new film for Marvel, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, hitting theaters, it’s the perfect time to tip our hats to Destin Daniel Cretton. It’s hard to believe it was only back in 2010 that his feature screenplay, Short Term 12 (an expansion of his short film of the same name), was one of the five winners of the Academy’s annual Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Now with several films under his belt, he’s established himself as a major voice with impressive work still to come.
Destin’s award-winning streak didn’t end with Nicholl, as he ended up directing his script for a film that became a hit at South by Southwest. The film also marked the beginning of his long working relationship with star Brie Larson, who had her first lead role here as the supervisor of a residential center for troubled teens and would go on to win an Oscar for Room (2015).
Destin teamed up with Brie Larson again for this true story based on Jeannette Walls’ memoir about her upbringing with two deeply dysfunctional but committed parents (Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson) fighting to escape from extreme poverty.
Destin’s sole co-screenwriting feature credit for a film he didn’t direct is this faith-based drama starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer, with British Columbia serving as the backdrop for a story of a family man coping with sudden tragedy by seeking vengeance at the title shack only to find a life-changing lesson inside.
Destin turned to a true-life legal story with this acclaimed drama, again featuring Brie Larson. This time she’s a supporting character to Michael B. Jordan’s powerful performance as young and resourceful attorney Bryan Stevenson, who commits to overturning the murder conviction of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) in a drawn-out process that has a seismic effect on Alabama’s criminal justice system.