Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Oscar Narrative: Pre-Guild Predictions - Screenplays

Best Original Screenplay
Nicholas Martin "Florence Foster Jenkins"
Taylor Sheridan "Hell or High Water"
Damien Chazelle "La La Land"
Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos "The Lobster"
Kenneth Lonergan "Manchester By the Sea"

Other Contenders - Matt Ross "Captain Fantastic", Mike Mills "20th Century Women", Noah Oppenheim "Jackie", Byron Howard, Jared Bush, Rich Moore, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon, Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee "Zootopia", Maren Ade "Toni Erdmann", Joel and Ethan Coen "Hail Caesar!", Guy Hibbert "Eye in the Sky", Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer "Patriots Day", Richard Linklater "Everybody Wants Some!!", Jim Jarmusch "Paterson", Asghar Farhadi "The Salesman", Woody Allen "Cafe Society", Ira Sachs "Little Men", Jared Bush, Ron Clements, Chris Williams, Don Hall, Pamela Ribon, Aaron Kandell, and Jordan Kandell "Moana"

Commentary - Both categories got a jolt after Loving and Moonlight were moved to adapted. This opened up two slots in this category. I think this is a three-way race between Manchester, Hell or High Water, and La La Land, and all are pretty much guaranteed nominations. Its that last two slots that are tricky. I could see some indies like Captain Fantastic, 20th Century Women, Jackie, Paterson, Toni Erdmann, or Little Men taking advantage of these slots. Animated films have done well in the past, so don't discount the awesome scripts from Moana and Zootopia. Finally, previous nominees like Richard Linklater, Woody Allen, and Asghar Farhadi could once again charm voters with their gift for words. For last two slots, though I am picking the incredibly original The Lobster, which feels right up the writers' branch alley, and Florence Foster Jenkins. It did well with the Globes, and SAG, and if you start looking at the categories across the board, you see that Florence Foster Jenkins will do really well across a lot of categories. I think its a bigger contender than folks are giving it credit for.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Eric Heisserer "Arrival"
August Wilson "Fences"
Luke Davies "Lion"
Jeff Nichols "Loving"
Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney "Moonlight"

Other Contenders - Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder "Hidden Figures", Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan "Hacksaw Ridge", Tom Ford "Nocturnal Animals", Jay Cocks "Silence", Todd Komarnicki "Sully", Whit Stilman "Love & Friendship", Park Chan-Wook "The Handmaiden", James Schamus "Indignation", Kelly Reichardt "Certain Women", Ben Affleck "Live By Night", Justin Marks "The Jungle Book", Michael Showalter and Laura Terruso "Hello, My Name is Doris", Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse, Bob Peterson, and Angus MacLane "Finding Dory"

Commentary - This category got a lot tighter with the aforementioned category swap, and yes I made room for both Loving and Moonlight, two scripts I think writers will enjoy. That leaves three strong previous contenders in Fences, Moonlight, and Arrival, rounding out the top five. Neither Hidden Figures nor Hacksaw Ridge seem like strong screenplay possibilities, but they are big Best Picture contenders, so that gives them a lot more leeway in this category. Silence, Sully, and Nocturnal Animals are flirting with Oscar attention, and then we hit the indies, foreign, and animated contenders hoping that the quirky folks in this branch are paying attenion: Love & Friendship, Hello My Name is Doris, Indignation, Live By Night, Finding Dory, Certain Women, and The Handmaiden.

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