Sunday, April 14, 2024

Predicting The 89th Academy Awards: Best Original & Adapted Screenplay

With the tech awards officially out of the way, we now turn our eyes to the above the line categories. This year’s screenplay categories feel like a done deal in one category while the other is practically a coin flip.

​Click below to see my in-depth analysis.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Best Adapted Screenplay

The nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay are:

Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

We have more information than most to work with here in helping us to determine what will happen in this category. Let’s look to the Critics Choice Award, Golden Globe awards for Best Screenplay, the WGA, USC Scripter and BAFTA for Best Adapted and how they all matched with the Oscar.

CRITICS CHOICE
1995: Sense & Sensibility
1996: The English Patient
1997: LA Confidential
1998: A Simple Plan
1999: The Green Mile
2000: Traffic
2001: Memento
2002: Adaptation & Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind
2003: In America
2004: Sideways
2005: Crash
2006: Little Miss Sunshine
2007: Juno
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Up In The Air
2010: The Social Network
2011: Moneyball
2012: Lincoln
2013: 12 Years A Slave
2014: Gone Girl
2015: The Big Short
​2016: Arrival
GOLDEN GLOBE
1983: Terms Of Endearment
1984: Amadeus
​1985: The Purple Rose Of Cairo
1986: The Mission
1987: The Last Emperor
1988: Running On Empty
1989: Born On The Fourth Of July
1990: Dances With Wolves
1991: Thelma & Louise
1992: Scent Of A Woman
1993: Schindler’s List
1994: Pulp Fiction
1995: Sense & Sensibility
1996: The People vs. Larry Flynt
1997: Good Will Hunting
1998: Shakespeare In Love
1999: American Beauty
2000: Traffic
2001: A Beautiful Mind
2002: About Schmidt
2003: Lost In Translation
2004: Sideways
2005: Brokeback Mountain
2006: The Queen
2007: No Country For Old Men
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Up In The Air
2010: The Social Network
2011: Midnight In Paris
2012: Django Unchained
2013: Her
2014: Birdman
2015: Steve Jobs
​2016: La La Land
WGA
1984: The Killing Fields
1985: Prizzi’s Honor
1986: A Room With A View
1987: Roxanne
1988: Dangerous Liaisons
1989: Driving Miss Daisy
1990: Dances With Wolves
1991: The Silence Of The Lambs
1992: The Player
1993: Schindler’s List
1994: Forrest Gump
1995: Sense & Sensibility
1996: Sling Blade
1997: LA Confidential
1998: Out Of Sight
1999: Election
2000: Traffic
2001: A Beautiful Mind
2002: The Hours
2003: American Splendor
2004: Sideways
2005: Brokeback Mountain
2006: The Departed
2007: No Country For Old Men
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Up In The Air
2010: The Social Network
2011: The Descendants
2012: Argo
2013: Captain Phillips
2014: The Imitation Game
​2015: The Big Short
2016: Arival
USC
1988: 84 Charing Cross Road
1989: The Accidental Tourist
1990: Awakenings
1991: Fried Green Tomatoes
1992: A River Runs Through It
1993: Schindler’s List
1994: The Shawshank Redemption
1995: Sense & Sensibility
1996: The English Patient
1997: LA Confidential
1998: A Civil Action
1999: The Hurricane
2000: Wonder Boys
2001: A Beautiful Mind
2002: The Hours
2003: Mystic River
2004: Million Dollar Baby
2005: Capote
2006: Children Of Men
2007: No Country For Old Men
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Up In The Air
2010: The Social Network
2011: The Descendants
2012: Argo
2013: 12 Years A Slave
2014: The Imitation Game
2015: The Big Short
​2016: Moonlight
BAFTA
​1983: Heat & Dust
1984: The Killing Fields
1985: Prizzi’s Honor
1986: Out Of Africa
1987: Jean de Florette
1988: The Unbearable Lightness Of Being
1989: Dangerous Liaisons
1990: Goodfellas
1991: The Commitments
1992: The Player
1993: Schindler’s List
1994: Quiz Show
1995: Trainspotting
1996: The English Patient
1997: Romeo + Juliet
1998: Primary Colors
1999: The End Of The Affair
2000: Traffic
2001: Shrek
2002: Adaptation
2003: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
2004: Sideways
2005: Brokeback Mountain
2006: The Last King Of Scotland
2007: The Diving Bell & The Butterfly
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Up In The Air
2010: The Social Network
2011: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
2012: Silver Linings Playbook
2013: Philomena
2014: The Theory Of Everything
2015: The Big Short
​2016: Lion
OSCAR
1983: Terms Of Endearment
1984: Amadeus
1985: Out Of Africa
1986: A Room With A View
1987: The Last Emperor
1988: Dangerous Liaisons
1989: Driving Miss Daisy
1990: Dances With Wolves
1991: The Silence Of The Lambs
1992: Howards End
1993: Schindler’s List
1994: Forrest Gump
1995: Sense & Sensibility
1996: Sling Blade
1997: LA Confidential
1998: Gods & Monsters
1999: The Cider House Rules
2000: Traffic
2001: A Beautiful Mind
2002: The Pianist
2003: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
2004: Sideways
2005: Brokeback Mountain
2006: The Departed
2007: No Country For Old Men
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Precious
2010: The Social Network
2011: The Descendants
2012: Argo
2013: 12 Years A Slave
2014: The Imitation Game
2015: The Big Short
​2016: ?

It’s pretty incredible when you take a look at the stats for screenplay and you see how many different avenues there are to predict the winner. The wild card all season long has been “Moonlight.” Nominated for Original Screenplay at the Critics Choice, BAFTA and even WGA (Where it won!), “Moonlight” has only had one opportunity to compete in an exclusively Adapted field and that was at the USC Scripter where it won. Here are the list of winners for the USC over the last 10 years.

2007: No Country For Old Men
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Up In The Air
2010: The Social Network
2011: The Descendants
2012: Argo
2013: 12 Years A Slave
2014: The Imitation Game
2015: The Big Short
​2016: Moonlight

With the exception of “Up In The Air” the USC Scripter has correctly helped us predict the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar winner over the last decade. And let’s be honest, we all expected “Up In The Air” was going to win that year. Every stat said it should and it simply ended up being one of those surprise wins for “Precious” that one could not simply predict. “Arrival” seems like the most likely to upset “Moonlight” here as it won at the two award shows where it did not have to go directly up against “Moonlight,” the Critics Choice & the WGA. A film that has won those two awards has never gone on to lose the Oscar which will make “Arrival” the first to do so. You can thank “Moonlight’s” category placement at the Oscars in Adapted for that one. While no one will be upset to see Barry Jenkins take home an Oscar, it’s a shame for all of the “Arrival” fans out there.

Oh, and regarding a surprise “Hidden Figures” win due to its recent surge in popularity or “Lion” trying to repeat its win at BAFTA…not going to happen in my opinion. “Hidden Figures” winning would be the previous scenario all over again and no BAFTA only winner for Adapted Screenplay has gone on to win the Oscar since “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King” which was the Best Picture winner in a true sweep year. That is not “Lion.”

PREDICTED WINNER: “Moonlight
RUNNER UP: “Arrival

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Best Original Screenplay

Here we go. One of the toughest awards of the evening are between two films. One heavily favored to win Best Picture. The other, a Best Picture nominee with a respected writer at the helm whose screenplay is arguably the most celebrated aspect of the movie.

The nominees this year for Best Original Screenplay are:

20th Century Women
Hell Or High Water
 “La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester By The Sea

With all due respect to the nominees, this is a two-horse race. “La La Land” has won the Critics Choice and the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. “Manchester By The Sea” has won the Critics Choice (Tying “La La Land“) and won the BAFTA. Neither film won the WGA, failing to give us an idea of which way AMPAS will go. Let’s dive in and see where all of this may end up…

CRITICS CHOICE
1995: Sense & Sensibility
1996: The English Patient
1997: Good Will Hunting
1998: Shakespeare In Love
1999: American Beauty
2000: Almost Famous
2001: Memento
2002: Adaptation & Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind
2003: In America
2004: Sideways
2005: Crash
2006: Little Miss Sunshine
2007: Juno
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Inglorious Basterds
2010: The King’s Speech
2011: Midnight In Paris
2012: Django Unchained
2013: Her
2014: Birdman
2015: Spotlight
​2016: La La Land & Manchester By The Sea
GOLDEN GLOBE
1983: Terms Of Endearment
1984: Amadeus
​1985: The Purple Rose Of Cairo
1986: The Mission
1987: The Last Emperor
1988: Running On Empty
1989: Born On The Fourth Of July
1990: Dances With Wolves
1991: Thelma & Louise
1992: Scent Of A Woman
1993: Schindler’s List
1994: Pulp Fiction
1995: Sense & Sensibility
1996: The People vs. Larry Flynt
1997: Good Will Hunting
1998: Shakespeare In Love
1999: American Beauty
2000: Traffic
2001: A Beautiful Mind
2002: About Schmidt
2003: Lost In Translation
2004: Sideways
2005: Brokeback Mountain
2006: The Queen
2007: No Country For Old Men
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Up In The Air
2010: The Social Network
2011: Midnight In Paris
2012: Django Unchained
2013: Her
2014: Birdman
2015: Steve Jobs
​2016: La La Land
WGA
1984: Broadway Danny Rose
​1985: Witness
1986: Hannah & Her Sisters
1987: Moonstruck
1988: Bull Durham
1989: Crimes & Misdemeanors
1990: Avalon
1991: Thelma & Louise
1992: The Crying Game
1993: The Piano
1994: Four Weddings & A Funeral
1995: Braveheart
1996: Fargo
1997: As Good As It Gets
1998: Shakespeare In Love
1999: American Beauty
2000: You Can Count On Me
2001: Gosford Park
2002: Bowling For Columbine
2003: Lost In Translation
2004: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
2005: Crash
2006: Little Miss Sunshine
2007: Juno
2008: Milk
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: Inception
2011: Midnight In Paris
2012: Zero Dark Thirty
2013: Her
2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel
2015: Spotlight
​2016: Moonlight
BAFTA
​1983: The King Of Comedy
1984: Broadway Danny Rose
1985: The Purple Rose Of Cairo
1986: Hannah & Her Sisters
1987: Wish You Were Here
1988: A World Apart
1989: When Harry Met Sally…
1990: Cinema Paradiso
1991: Truly, Madly, Deeply
1992: Husbands & Wives
1993: Groundhog Day
1994: Pulp Fiction
1995: The Usual Suspects
1996: Secrets & Lies
1997: Nil By Mouth
1998: The Truman Show
1999: Being John Malkovich
2000: Almost Famous
2001: Amelie
2002: Talk To Her
2003: The Station Agent
2004: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
2005: Crash
2006: Little Miss Sunshine
2007: Juno
2008: In Bruges
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: The King’s Speech
2011: The Artist
2012: Django Unchained
2013: American Hustle
2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel
2015: Spotlight
​2016: Manchester By The Sea
OSCAR
1983: Tender Mercies
1984: Places In The Heart
1985: Witness
1986: Hannah & Her Sisters
1987: Moonstruck
1988: Rain Man
1989: Dead Poets Society
1990: Ghost
1991: Thelma & Louise
1992: The Crying Game
1993: The Piano
1994: Pulp Fiction
1995: The Usual Suspects
1996: Fargo
1997: Good Will Hunting
1998: Shakespeare In Love
1999: American Beauty
2000: Almost Famous
2001: Gosford Park
2002: Talk To Her
2003: Lost In Translation
2004: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
2005: Crash
2006: Little Miss Sunshine
2007: Juno
2008: Milk
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: The King’s Speech
2011: Midnight In Paris
2012: Django Unchained
2013: Her
2014: Birdman
2015: Spotlight
​2016: ?

“Django Unchained” is the only Oscar winner for Original Screenplay since the Critics Choice have been around that has won the Critics Choice, BAFTA and Golden Globe.

However, because Golden Globe is a combination of both Original & Adapted screenplays, here are the films which have won the Critics Choice & BAFTA and went on to win the Oscar:

2000: Almost Famous
2005: Crash (Won WGA)
2006: Little Miss Sunshine (Won WGA)
2007: Juno (Won WGA)
2010: The King’s Speech
2015: Spotlight (Won WGA)

Unfortunately we have to take WGA out of it because both “La La Land” and “Manchester By The Sea” each lost there to “Moonlight” leaving only two times since the Critics Choice have been around that a film won there and the BAFTA and then went on to win the Oscar. BAFTA has predicted this category right 13 times in 33 years (39%). Those are “Manchester By The Sea’s” chances.

La La Land” however has different chances at its side. Here are the films that won the Critics Choice Award & Golden Globe for Screenplay but went on to lose BAFTA and still win the Oscar:

​1997: Good Will Hunting
1998: Shakespeare In Love (Won WGA)
1999: American Beauty (Won WGA)
2011: Midnight In Paris (Won WGA)
2013: Her (Won WGA)
2014: Birdman

That’s right. An equal number of times has the Critics Choice/Globe winner gone on to win the Oscar as the Critics Choice/BAFTA winner. The Golden Globe has gotten the Original Screenplay category right within this sample size of 1983-2015, 10 times (30%), which is slightly less than the BAFTA’s 39% success rate.

Now, you may think this gives the edge to “Manchester By The Sea” by a slim chance but we have to remember that the Golden Globe celebrates both Original & Adapted scripts in their category. The Golden Globes also have a crazy stat which shows that no winner for for Golden Globe for Best Screenplay EVER went on to lose that award at the Oscars if it also won the Best Picture Oscar. That may be a circumstantial accident but there is no denying that Screenplay typically tends to go towards the Best Picture winner. However, working in “Manchester By The Sea’s” favor is the fact that BAFTA has crossover with the Academy where the Critics Choice & Golden Globes do not. Also, no musical has won the Screenplay Oscar since “Gigi” did back in 1958. Even “West Side Story,” which won 10 Oscars, only lost screenplay. So what do we do? Unfortunately, we must go with our gut here.

Most will argue that Original Screenplay is the only place to honor “Manchester By The Sea” as many have voiced that they will not be voting for Casey Affleck for Best Actor (That post is coming soon…) and many don’t expect nor want to see “Manchester By The Sea,” one of the most acclaimed and beloved films of the year, to walk away empty handed. Many also feel that a win here for Kenneth Lonergan, a well respected writer who has had to pay his dues in this business pretty hard (Never forget “Margaret”), would be well deserved and is objectively the better written screenplay compared to “La La Land.” However, “La La Land” has universal love and a strong passion for it which will compel many voters to check it off down the line on their Oscar ballots. I honestly don’t know what to do here. It would be pretty incredible is a split happened here and another film won such as “Hell Or High Water” but I must make a choice so, I’m going to go against my brain here and vote with my heart and my heart says Lonergan.

PREDICTED WINNER: “Manchester By The Sea
​RUNNER UP: “La La Land

What are your thoughts on these two categories? Are you picking the same films to win the Screenplay Oscars? Let me know in the comments below.

You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture

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Matt Neglia
Matt Negliahttps://nextbestpicture.com/
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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