Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: Post Toronto/Telluride/Venice Predictions - Best Adapted Screenplay

Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions
John Ridley "12 Years a Slave"
Billy Ray "Captain Phillips"
George Clooney and Grant Heslov "The Monuments Men"
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope "Philomena"
Terence Winter "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Other Contenders - Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke "Before Midnight", Tracey Letts "August: Osage County", Jason Reitman "Labor Day", Steve Conrad "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", Michael Petroni "The Book Thief", Peter Berg "Lone Survivor", Phillippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Guillermo del Toro "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
Commentary - Who would have thought that the Adapted Screenplay race would be weaker than the Original one? But this year, I truly think that this is the case. Which probably means that the two frontrunners at this point, will cakewalk to nominations, and to frontrunner status. The first is 12 Years a Slave, which has shot to the top of the heap in terms of Best Picture buzz. Unlike some other overeager Oscar pundits, I am not stupid enough to call the race in September. But I do think that it will be a major contender, and this will be an easy pick for the Writing branch. Another easy pick will probably be Captain Phillips, which is getting pretty good reviews leading up to the NYFF, and in an apparent weak year for this category, this will once again be an easy pick. The last three slots are a bit tricky. Films like Labor Day and August: Osage County kind of hit with a bit of a thud at Toronto, but if they get decent enough reviews, they could easily be in play here. Before Midnight was this year's earliest Oscar contender, and the last script was nominated, so it is one to watch for, especially if some of the bigger projects either bomb or get moved (see below). And then there is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which intrigues me, and could be a surprise this year. But I am playing it safe for now. Philomena as already won a screenplay award this year, and the film is generally well-liked. Once again, in a weak year, it is a big contender. The last two slots I am saving for two big question marks The Monuments Men and The Wolf of Wall Street. Clooney insists Monuments Men is not an Oscar movie, and Wolf may not even be finished in time, bumping it to 2014. But I do not discount Oscar royalty, and at this point, until I hear differently, I am sticking with the favorites, sight unseen.

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