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2016 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Original Screenplay

February 22nd, 2017

Manchester by the Sea

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 Screenwriting Categories, starting with Best Original Screenplay. At one time, La La Land looked to be the favorite, but that no longer seems to be the case.

(Note: All previous awards listed are only for writing and not other categories. However, they are for both original, adapted, and combined writing categories, depending on the award in question. Previous awards and nominations are not for theatrical and not TV programs, on the other hand. )

Best Original Screenplay

Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe, BAFTA, and WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globes
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, One BAFTA, One WGA, and One Independent Spirit Award
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Not too long ago, this film was seen as the likely winner, but that no longer seems to be the case. There was always a chance of a backlash, especially after tying the record for most Oscar nominations at 14. Since Damien Chazelle is also up for Best Director, I think vote-splitting will occur and the voters will give his award to someone else.

Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster
Tomatometer Score: 89% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: None
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: None
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Arguably the biggest surprise nominee on this list and arguably the biggest underdog to win.

Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe, BAFTA, Independent Spirit Awards, and WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: BAFTA (One Pending)
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscars, One Golden Globe, One BAFTA, Two WGAs, and One Independent Spirit Award
Writer's Previous Major Wins: One WGA
Notes: With a win from the BAFTAs and a draw at the WGAs (The winner, Moonlight, was ruled to be an adapted screenplay, even though the play it is based on wasn’t ever produced.) it appears Kenneth Lonergan has become the favorite to win here, although La La Land could still win in a wave.

Mike Mills for 20th Century Women
Tomatometer Score: 89% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: One Independent Spirit Award
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: This film has underperformed during Awards Season. Not a lot of people thought it would be a major player during Awards Season, but many thought it would do better than this. It hasn’t picked up any major awards so far and it will likely end Oscar night in the same situation.

Taylor Sheridan for Hell or High Water
Tomatometer Score: 98% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe, BAFTA, Independent Spirit Award, and WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: One WGA
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: This film has done amazingly well earning major Awards Season nominations. It hasn’t done well turning those nominations into awards. I fear Oscar night will simply be more of the same.

Conclusion: Kenneth Lonergan will likely win for Manchester by the Sea, unless Damien Chazelle gets carried by a La La Land wave.


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Filed under: Awards Season, Manchester by the Sea, La La Land, Hell or High Water, 20th Century Women, The Lobster, Moonlight, Damien Chazelle, Mike Mills, Yorgos Lanthimos, Kenneth Lonergan, Taylor Sheridan