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2013 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Adapted Screenplay

February 21st, 2013

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 Adapted Screenplay. This is a race that is not as close as many thought it would be, and it is not the two early front-runners running away with the Oscar.

(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 Adapted Screenplay

Lucy Alibar and Behn Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tomatometer Score: 86% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: None
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writers' Previous Major Nominations: First Feature-Length Screenplay
Writers' Previous Major Wins: First Feature-Length Screenplay
Notes: This script has no major nominations, and obviously no major wins, while it is the first screenplay for the writing team. It was also a limited release that was likely not seen by a lot of voters. That all adds up to a long shot.

Tony Kushner for Lincoln
Tomatometer Score: 89% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes and WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar and One Golden Globe
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: At the beginning of Awards Season, I thought this script would be the favorite for the Oscar. However, things haven't played out that way. Granted, it did earn the two big nominations, but it lost out each time. It still has a shot, but it is not the favorite.

David Magee for Life of Pi
Tomatometer Score: 88% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writer's Previous Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar and One Golden Globe
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: I'm a little surprised this script earned a nomination. It did earn great reviews, but there were films out there than earned better reviews. Also, a lot of critics who liked the film said it was a better technical achievement than it was a storytelling achievement. It is unlikely to turn this nomination into a win.

David O. Russell for The Silver Linings Playbook
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe, WGA, and Independent Spirit Award
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar and One WGA
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: I think David O. Russell will win an Oscar and I was hoping it would be for this film. However, that's unlikely. It has earned amazing reviews, but it is the wrong genre for Awards Season, so it has that strike against it. Also, it hasn't been able to turn any of its previous nominations into wins, at least not yet. (It could win the Independent Spirit Award.)

Chris Terrio for Argo
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: WGA
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: None
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Argo has gone from an afterthought during Awards Season to the main player. It has all of the momentum and most of the buzz. It didn't win the Golden Globe, but the film that did, Django Unchained, wasn't nominated in this category, so it doesn't have to worry about the competition. It should be an easy win.

Conclusion: At the beginning of Awards Season, I thought Tony Kushner would win for Lincoln. However, Argo has been winning just about everything, including a WGA win for Chris Terrio. This makes him the favorite to win the Oscar.


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Filed under: Awards Season, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Beasts of the Southern Wild, David O. Russell, Behn Zeitlin, Tony Kushner, David Magee, Chris Terrio, Lucy Alibar