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2014 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Original Screenplay

February 17th, 2015

The Grand Budapest Hotel 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 look at the two writing categories, starting with Best Original Screenplay. This is actually a two-horse race and for once, I'd be happy with either of the two leading contenders winning.

(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

Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: WGA, Golden Globes, and BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: WGA and BAFTA
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscars, Two BAFTAs, Two WGAs, and one Independent Spirit Award
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: This is an amazing movie and the film has won two of the three major awards it was nominated for. Additionally, while Wes Anderson has earned a lot of major nominations, including some for directing, he has never won. The increases the chances he will win this year, as Oscar voters will want to make up for past mistakes. On the other hand, Birdman wasn't eligible for a WGA and it beat The Grand Budapest Hotel at the Golden Globes. I think this adds up to a coin toss.

Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye for Foxcatcher
Tomatometer Score: 88% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writers' Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, One BAFTA, One WGA, and one Independent Spirit Award
Writers' Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Foxcatcher was widely seen as a potential big player during this year's Awards Season. However, while it has done well in that regard, it hasn't done exceptionally well. It seems very unlikely that it will win in this category, for instance. In fact, it might be the longest of the long shots.

Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler
Tomatometer Score: 95% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: WGA, BAFTA, and Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: None
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Nightcrawler is Dan Gilroy's directorial debut and it is by far the best movie he's written. This bodes well for his future; however, it does hurt his chances here. The film's reviews are amazing, but its buzz isn't. Also, there are two films battling for the Oscar and this film is getting lost as a result.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Bo Armando for Birdman
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes and BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globes
Writers' Previous Major Nominations: None
Writers' Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: For a long time, a lot of people thought Birdman would be the big winner at this year's Oscars. Its Oscar buzz has quieted somewhat, but it should still win a number of awards. While it isn't a lock to win here, it is neck-and-neck with The Grand Budapest Hotel to take home the Oscar.

Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Tomatometer Score: 98% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: WGA, Golden Globes, and BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscars, Two WGAs, and Three Independent Spirit Award
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Richard Linklater has earned two past Oscar nominations for his writing, but didn't win. Additionally, Boyhood is widely expected to be one of the big winners on Oscar night, if not the big winner. This does give him a chance to win here, but there are two other films that have a better chance. It's a long shot, but a long shot with a shot.

Conclusion: It's a coin-toss between Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel. I think the latter has a slim lead, but Birdman could get swept up in a wave giving it the win. When it comes to out Oscar contest, its categories like this that will determine the winner.


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Filed under: Awards Season, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Nightcrawler, Wes Anderson, Dan Futterman, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Richard Linklater, Armando Bo, Nicolas Giacobone, Dan Gilroy, E. Max Frye, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr.