Tuesday, November 22, 2011

State of the Race: November Predictions - Screenplays

Best Original Screenplay - November Predictions
Michel Hazanvicius "The Artist"
Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig "Bridesmaids"
Sean Durkin "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Woody Allen "Midnight in Paris"
Diablo Cody "Young Adult"
Other Possibilites - Dustin Lance Black "J. Edgar", Terrence Malick "The Tree of Life", Thomas McCarthy and Joe Tibani "Win Win", James Ward Byrkitt and John Logan and Gore Verbinski "Rango", Soctt Z. Burns "Contagion", Abi Morgan "The Iron Lady", Steve McQueen and Abi Morgan "Shame", Will Reiser "50/50", Jeff Nichols "Take Shelter", Mike Mills "Beginners"

Commentary - Unlike in recent years, this category actually has a plethora of great contenders, and a lot of unknown factors. I think it is safe to say that The Artist, the great Woody Allen, and Jason Reitman re-teaming up with Diablo Cody will all be hard to ignore, as all three are also big time Best Picture contenders. But beyond that, there are some big comedies, indies, and biopics all fighting for the last two slots. J. Edgar drops from contention with its bad reviews, but who takes its place. I think that one smaller indie, ala Another Year, will get in. The Tree of Life may be too abstract, and the more comedic films like Beginners, and Win Win may not have enough heft, as they were early films. So in that spot I am going with the psychological thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene. If Olsen gets left out because Best Actress is so crowded then this is a way to honor the film. Finally, I am going out on a limb and saying that Bridesmaids will get a well-deserved Original Screenplay nod. I know it probably won't happen, like 40-Year Old Virgin. But I have hope the Academy will embrace a big raunchy comedy which was fresh and original. If not, watch out for the animated slot that usually gets filled, this year by Rango.

Best Adapted Screenplay - November Predictions
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash "The Descendants"
Eric Roth "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"
Grant Heslov and George Clooney "The Ides of March"
Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillan "Moneyball"
Richard Curtis and Lee Hall "War Horse"

Other Contenders - Briget O' Connor and Peter Strong "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", Tate Taylor "The Help", Steve Zaillan "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", John Logan "Hugo", Christopher Hampton "A Dangerous Method", Steve Kloves "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2", Rory Kinnear and Lynne Ramsey "We Need to Talk About Kevin", Glenn Close and John Manville "Albert Nobbs", Pedro Almodovar "The Skin I Live In", Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller "The Muppets", Cameron Crowe and Alina Brosh McKenna "We Bought a Zoo"

Commentary - This is category with a lot of contenders, but something seems off about it, and I can't really put my finger on it. The Descendants is the current frontrunner, but Moneyball is hot on its heels. Once again, we seem to be in the dilemma of not seeing Extremely Loud and War Horse, but both have top notch writers, and also both could be more about the direction, the technicals, or the performances, and not as much about the script. The Final spot at this moment is tricky. Tinker has no buzz, and needs a boost at its release date here in the U.S. The Help could get in, but its most likely all about the performances, and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo doesn't seem like Oscar bait, plus Steve will definitely get in for Moneyball. Hugo is on the rise, but the story seems to be the one problem people have, so Scorsese probably has a better shot. So I am going with The Ides of March. It has been struggling since its Venice premeire, but there will be those out there that like it, and while Best Picture seems out of reach (unless it gets a huge critical boost), maybe its supporters can at least get this one on the ballot.

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