Thursday, October 11, 2012

October Oscar Predictions: Screenplays

So, moving on, we’ll make some updates on the Writing categories.  Adapted Screenplay usually follows a pretty obvious pattern.  They like weighty material in Oscary movies.  Original Screenplay is far more likely to nominate lighter or wittier fare.  For the most part, if you’re going to be nominated in the Adapted category, you need to bring the drama.  Yes, there are exceptions (Borat) but those are very few (and usually need to be in a very weak year, as 2006 was).  So, all the delusional people who think that ‘This is 40’ has a chance in the Adapted category are, well, delusional.
It’s not happening.
Many have told me that for such a ‘Les Miserables’ fanboy, I’m kind of crazy for sticking to my guns about the film being snubbed in this category.  Honestly, I don’t find it crazy at all.  Film adaptations like ‘Les Miserables’ don’t get nominated here.  There is nothing to adapt.  The film is basically a collection of songs from the stage musical.  The entire film is sung.  There is nothing added, except for ONE original song.  Unless ‘Les Miserables’ is such a contender that no other film stands a chance and AMPAS decides to nominate it for everything, it’s not going to hit here.  That doesn’t hurt its chances to sweep almost every other category, but really, it’s highly unlikely that it gets nominated here.
I’m also really on the fence about ‘Argo’ and ‘The Sessions’.  Not in the ‘will they be nominated’ sense, since I think ‘Argo’ could win EITHER category at this point, but I’m just wondering what category they’ll be placed in.  ‘Argo’ is apparently inspired by some newspaper articles, and ‘The Sessions’ was inspired by some memoirs.  Neither is truly adapted from anything though, and while all prognosticators are assuming they’ll go Adapted at this point, that could change as the season progresses.  With ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ flirting with taking the Adapted Screenplay Oscar, maybe ‘Argo’ will go Original to corner a market with no clear frontrunner.
For now, I’m keeping them BOTH in Adapted, but I’m still not certain.
1)      Silver Linings Playbook
2)      Argo
Those are the two I am most certain of.  The rest on the list have serious pluses and minuses.  ‘Life of Pi’, ‘Lincoln’, ‘The Sessions’ and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ are the most probable.  Yes, ‘Les Miserables’ is lingering right on the outside, and like I said, if AMPAS goes insane over it then it’ll make it in regardless of deserving to or not.  But, right now I’m not betting on it.  I’d say that ‘Lincoln’ is a safe bet considering that source material (highly respected) and the subject (OSCARY).  ‘Life of Pi’ is said to be an emotional high and has stirred up some massive goodwill.
3)      Lincoln
4)      Life of Pi
I’m tempted to say that ‘The Sessions’ will get in here because of the sheer buzz and good ink about the way the story is told, and yet some who I know who have seen it say that the script is a tad one-note.  I’m giving ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ the edge, since I still think it’s getting a Best Picture nomination.
5)      Beasts of the Southern Wild
Now, Original Screenplay has a few more options.  This category is usually open to surprises as well, so we could see a shakeup, especially since the majority of the key Oscar contenders are Adapted films this year.  We have a slew of previously nominated screenwriters/directors with their best shot at Oscar attention here.  Tarantino, both Andersons and McDonagh.  Rian Johnson has gotten good ink for ‘Looper’ and ‘Promised Land’, penned in part by Oscar winner Matt Damon, could pose a threat here.  And then we have Haneke, who has gotten some of the most attention he’s ever received critically for ‘Amour’, and the respect her has in the industry should easily solidify his nomination in this category.
With all these contenders, I’m not seeing a clear winner, which brings me back to ‘Flight’, the film that appears to be more than it appears to be, and from what I’m reading am beginning to think has a really good shot at taking this award.
1)      The Master
2)      Moonrise Kingdom
3)      Flight
4)      Amour
And then we have this last spot which could go so many different ways.  Could McDonagh be rewarded yet again for witty depth?  Could Damon sneak in with a surprise Oscar player?  Could Mark Boal strike a second time with Bigelow’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty’?  Is early reaction to Tarantino’s trailer for ‘Django Unchained’ misleading?  Could it really be an Oscar player?  What about ‘The Impossible’?  Will it be seen as a well written movie, or are other factors more prominent?  Some are suggesting that ‘Arbitrage’ could get in ala ‘Margin Call’.  I’m totally stumped here. 
5)      Arbitrage
I know that seems like an odd choice, but my gut tells me we’re in for a shock here, and that seems like the only possibility at this point.


  1. I'm starting to think your picks will be the Adapted Screenplay lineup. However, it's worth mentioning that Chicago managed a screenplay nod. If Les Mis really is all that, then it should get in...probably.

    Flight just doesn't strike me as the type of film to get nominated. That said, there are always surprise additions to the award season.

    1. Yeah, it does happen...but Chicago also had segments of spoken dialog. Les Miserables is entirely sung. I actually think that that is going to be the stumbling block to a nomination. I mean, in reality, it isn't adapted at all.