Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: First 2016 Predictions - Best Adapted Screenplay

First 2016 Predictions
Nick Hornby "Brooklyn"
Phyllis Nagy "Carol"
Lucinda Coxon "The Danish Girl"
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Mark L. Smith "The Revenant" 
Aaron Sorkin "Steve Jobs"

Other Contenders - Charles Leavitt, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver "In the Heart of the Sea" Jesse Andrews "Me & Earl & The Dying Girl", John Logan "Genius", John Logan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade "Spectre", Billy Ray "The Secret in Their Eyes", Robert Zemeckis and Christopher Browne "The Walk", Cary Fukunaga "Beasts of No Nation", Emma Donoghue "Room", Drew Goddard "The Martian", David Nicholls "Far From the Maddening Crowd", Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber "Paper Towns", Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone "Snowden", Scott Cooper, Jez Butterworth, and Mark Mallouk "Black Mass", Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie, and Todd Louiso "Macbeth", Peter Landesman "Concussion", Marielle Heller "The Diary of a Teenage Girl", Saul Dibb and Matt Charman "Suite Francaise", J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", Doug Ellin and Rob Weiss "Entourage", Joss Whedon "Avengers: Age of Ultron", Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow "Jurassic World", Kay Cannon "Pitch Perfect 2", Adam McKay and Paul Rudd "Ant-Man", Jason Fuchs "Pan"

Commentary - Another year where it looks like Adapted Sceenplay will have less top-notch contenders than original screenplay. Who says Hollywood is out of ideas? I think the top of the list has to be this year's original screenplay winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The December release is a bit unnerving as recent history has suggested that releasing a film too late now actually hurts your chances to catch up to earlier contenders (Boyhood and Birdman had been on the circuit for months). But the subject, the cast, and the director all say that it will be one to watch for. Tom Hooper could return to the winners circle with The Danish Girl. It has the newly minted Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne playing a transgender individual, but also has some period classy vibes that could cause it to crossover to Oscar voters (the way The Imitation Game was able to overcome its gay protagonist to get a lot of nominations, although I hope Hooper and his screenwriter Lucinda Coxon don't gloss over the subject matter this time around). Plus Hooper's last two films The King's Speech and Les Miserables were big Oscar winners, so he has a good track record in the last five years or so. Carol is Todd Haynes return to the big screen after some television success. Phyllis Nagy is a two-time Emmy nominee for Mrs. Harris, and this is her first big screen adventure. The project looks fantastic and it could be an award-worthy debut. I know that there have been some issue getting Steve Jobs to the screen, but Sorkin is always good for a lightning fast, entertaining, and smart script. Until I see some reviews that suggest that the final product didn't work out, he's in. Finally, Nick Hornby barely missed the cut this year for Wild (probably a solid sixth or seventh vote), but could redeem himself with Brooklyn, one of two Sundance films (the other being Me & Earl & The Dying Girl) that could breakthrough into this Oscar race. Speaking of Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, it is definitely in this race, but I still question if it is one of those comedies like Juno/Little Miss Sunshine that will win over voters hearts, or will it be considered too light for the voters. Plus, there has been a streak of great YA adaptations including The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Spectacular Now, all of which, I think, have been inhibited by their teen trappings. Beyond that there are several potentials, although not as many as its counterpart. Ron Howard's latest In the Heart of Sea was moved from March to right in the thick of Oscar season meaning that the studio must have faith in its chances. John Logan could return to the race with either Genius, or with the Skyfall sequel Spectre, which could finally breakthrough some major categories for the Bond franchise. Cary Fukunaga is returning to the big screen with Beasts of No Nation after winning an Emmy for True Detective, and he will have the feisty Netflix team behind him. The Martian is a great science fiction novel, and the film has a lot of great parts to it. Emma Donoghue is trying to do what Gillian Flynn couldn't do and adapted her own novel to an Oscar nomination. Paper Towns could pull some of the love away from the YA crowd going for Me & Earl & the Dying Girl, and the Brits are in town with Macbeth and Far From the Maddening Crowd. And don't forget the blockbusters. Guardians of the Galaxy got a WGA nod, so look out for Star Wars, The Avengers, Pitch Perfect, Ant-Man, Pan, and Jurassic World. After this year's ratings were down, there might be a push to embrace bigger films. 

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