The screenplay categories are pretty easy to pinpoint each year, mostly because now that we can have up to ten Best Picture nominees we can pretty much cover every base without venturing out of the predicted Best Picture lineup. That being said, some films despite being nominated films just don’t feel like screenplay nominees (of all ten Best Picture nominees, ‘Black Swan’ was the only one to miss here in 2010, and Les Miserables was out last year). Besides, this year is really top heavy with Original Screenplay contenders in Best Picture, and not so many Adapted ones (at least with what I’m predicting) and so I’ve really got room to speculate in some areas.
With Adapted, I left off ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, mainly because it is my #10 pick and it looks like more visual candy than anything else. In Original, I cut out ‘The Counselor’, but I have a feeling that it could sneak in here so I’m not wholly happy with that cut.
Alas, there can only be ten, and these are what I’m thinking right now:
1. August: Osage County
I know that it may seem weird to have this as my #1 pick here and yet not in my Best Picture predictions, but this feels like the type of film that would be guaranteed a nomination here, regardless of quality. Like, the film could wind up semi-panned and pick up no other nominations outside of Streep (let’s face it, she’s locked) and I’d still think it would get in here rather easily.
2. The Wolf of Wall Street
The most prestigious ‘Adapted’ nominee in my predicted lineup, I have a feeling that this could even be the consolation prize for the film itself if Leo winds up playing bridesmaid to Robert Redford. It is racy and edgy and immoral and yet the writer’s branches have been known to think outside the box.
3. Before Midnight
Passion for this film has enough pockets to get it in here, even if it misses everywhere else. I still think that there is an outside chance that this could land in Picture and Actress, but for now this is the safest bet and one I’m pretty certain of. These talky films do well here.
4. The Monuments Men
I’ve said it a few times recently, but this trailer was such a letdown. Still, the pedigree behind this film is impressive and AMPAS loved Clooney. If the film sneaks into Best Picture (which I assume it will) then this will be a lazy filler nomination for the film that is destined to rack up nominations and win absolutely nothing.
5. Blue is the Warmest Color
This is my wild card pick that I refuse to let go of. The hype, buzz, praise, what-have-you for this film is huge, and people are still talking about it. With it out of contention for the Foreign Language Oscar, I could see other branches looking to reward it elsewhere, and this would be the perfect opportunity.
1. American Hustle
If the film winds up being the frontrunner for Best Picture, then this will be a no-brainer. It’s a tapestry film complete with interjected storylines, construed facts and a political edge. Besides, we all know that O. Russell can write dialog like the best of them, and he reworked this script heavily so I have faith.
2. Blue Jasmine
It’s Woody Allen, and with the reviews his film has garnered, this is a guarantee, even if the Best Picture nomination is questionable. He’s a token filler nominee that earns that filler status, even when he doesn’t get it.
3. Fruitvale Station
While many have complained that the script is the worst part of the film (I don’t agree, at all) there really is no precedent to suggest that a film that is bound to be in the top five of the year (seriously, don’t doubt) is going to miss here. Basically, picture, screenplay and director are locked up at this point. YES, things change, but it would take a lot to change this.
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen Brothers are notorious for getting nominated here. In fact, they pretty much always do. Writers love them, and rightfully so. The reviews for ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ have been exceptional, so I foresee this getting the nomination rather easily. The distribution for the film will be light, so Picture and Screenplay may be all, but I don’t see them missing right now.
A lot can change because of a trailer, and this looked so delightfully fresh, unique and charming that I can’t see it not making it right now, especially if it does make it into Best Picture, which I am currently predicting. I can’t wait to see if my newfound hopes for this film pan out!