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Wednesday, April 23, 2014



2014 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Original Screenplay

Her poster

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we will look at the two writing categories, starting with Best Original Screenplay. This race is twice as competitive as the Best Adapted Screenplay, by that I mean it is a two-way race for the Oscar and not a runaway race.

(Note: All previous awards listed are only for writing and not other categories. Also, for writing teams, they are combined totals with each film counting as one nomination regardless of how many members were part of the previous team.)

Best Original Screenplay

Woody Allen - Blue Jasmine
Tomatometer Score: 91% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: WGA and Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: Fifteen Oscars, Six Golden Globes, Seventeen WGAs, Two Independent Spirit Awards
Writer's Previous Major Wins: Three Oscars, Two Golden Globes, Three WGAs, and One Independent Spirit Award
Notes: Like I said before, Blue Jasmine is earning a lot of Oscar buzz, but it is almost entirely going to Cate Blanchett. Woody Allen has earned so many nominations and wins for writing that I'm not 100% sure I got the math right. Because of this, Oscar voters might think it is better to give the Oscar to someone who hasn't earned nearly as many awards in their career.

Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack for Dallas Buyers Club
Tomatometer Score: 94% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: None
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Dallas Buyers Club seems like a lock to win at least a couple of Oscars; however it is very unlikely it will win for Best Original Screenplay. Nearly all of the buzz is directed to the two main actors, to the detriment of all other nominees. I'm not saying it is the longest of the long shots. Then again, I don't think there is a longest of the long shots. I think the three also-rans have a very similar low chance of winning.

Spike Jonze for Her
Tomatometer Score: 94% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe and WGA
Writer's Previous Previous Major Nominations: None
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Spike Jonze earned a lot of Award Season buzz for Adaptation and Being John Malkovich, but he only directed those films. This is the first screenplay of his that is earning major Awards Season buzz. It will likely also give him his first Oscar. He won both the Golden Globe and the WGA, but there are some who think American Hustle will win here. Given its two previous wins, Her has to be seen as at least a moderate favorite. During the past decade, the winner of the WGA has won the Oscar 80% of the time. The Golden Globe winner has won an Oscar 75% of the time over the past two decades.

Bob Nelson for Nebraska
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe, WGA, and Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: First Screenplay
Writer's Previous Major Wins: First Screenplay
Notes: This film didn't live up to expectations at the box office, so there's a chance it will be overlooked by Oscar voters. It is certainly a long shot to win this Oscar. It's Bob Nelson's first screenplay, so Oscar voters won't be looking to correct past mistakes. He didn't win either of the two Major Awards he was up for. He has a good shot at picking up the Independent Spirit Award, so he will likely not end Awards Season empty-handed.

David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer for American Hustle
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, One Golden Globe, Two WGAs, and Three Independent Spirit Awards
Writer's Previous Major Wins: Two Independent Spirit Awards
Notes: A lot of people see David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer as the favorites to win for American Hustle. However, American Hustle went head-to-head with Her and twice it lost. Could American Hustle still win the Oscar? Yes, it is possible. That said, it is the underdog. I would put it at at least a 60% / 30% underdog, with the other 10% divided evenly among the other three nominees.

Conclusion: While it appears most analysts are picking American Hustle to win, I think Spike Jonze will win the Oscar for Her. Winning the Golden Globe and the WGA gives it a huge advantage.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-02-25

Movies 
 Blue Jasmine
 Dallas Buyers Club
 Her
 Nebraska
 American Hustle