Best Screenplay Predictions

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Current Predictions (09-30-11):
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumulo, Bridesmaids
Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Diablo Cody, Young Adult

With all the heavy hitters in the Adapted Category, this one has the makings of a very compelling year for smaller films. Often, Original Screenplay has been a landing pad for compelling films that are otherwise ignored by the academy – Pulp Fiction, Magnolia, Lost In Translation come to mind. Lately, films in the Original category have garnered more praise up top and been strong contenders for other major awards. Two years ago, Aviator briefly revived Hollywood’s belief that an original story could bring Box Office returns while the same year The Hurt Locker reconfirmed how an original little film can sweep up the mass of critical acclaim.

The year, The Artist has the benefit of being the only Original Screenplay looking to get serious attention in the Best Picture category and beyond. A silent picture about silent pictures that keeps our attention without diving headlong into pastiche has to be well-written. I see no reason to assume The Artist won’t get a nomination here. I’m equally convinced that Allen will get nominated for Midnight in Paris. Woody has been nominated 14 times for Original Screenplay. Seeing as I don’t think Midnight in Paris will get as much attention as others, it’s a virtual-lock to get something of an honorary nod here. It may even win.

The rest of the field will likely bring on the compelling indies. Marthy Marcy May Marlene will turn a ton of heads. Word at Sundance was that it’s a challenging picture that excites the thinkers without alienating the entertainment folk. As a performer/writer’s movie, I have to assume this will be the indie film with most buzz come awards season. Bridesmaids and Young Adult are too early to call. I think the staying power of Bridesmaids and universal appeal of its raunchy but comfortable subject matter will propel it to a nomination here and there. Young Adult has the benefit of being written by an Academy Award winner. Her re-teaming with Jason Reitman (whose yet to make a bad movie) will bring her back to good graces.

Good Bets:
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Still In Play:
Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumulo, Bridesmaids
Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene
50/50, Will Reiser
Like Crazy, Drake Doremus & Ben York Jones
Dustin Lance Black, J. Edgar
Diablo Cody, Young Adult
Abi Morgan & Michael Hirst, Iron Lady
Mike Mills, Beginners
Scott Z. Burns, Contagion

Wishful Thinking:
Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter
Thomas McCarthy + Joe Tibani, Win Win
Abi Morgan + Steve McQueen, Shame
Terrance Malick, Tree of Life

Distant Possibilities:
John Logan, Gore Verbinksi, + James Ward Byrkit, Rango

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Current Predictions (09-30-11):
Bridget O’Connor + Peter Strong, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Tate Taylor, The Help
Eric Roth, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Aaron Sorkin + Steven Zaillian, Moneyball
Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, + Jim Rash, The Descendants

This year’s crop of Adapted Screenplays will be fit with big name films vying for all the major awards. I’m confident that at least three or four of the nominees here will pop up in the Best Picture race as well.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is being called a lock by some and too slow or obtuse by others. One has to assume that with its British spy elements and a creepy regal Gary Oldman in the lead, this one will get a nomination easy. Tomas Alfredson has a way of letting writing seep out onto the film, only subtly interfering with visual flares. The writing in his movies is handled respectfully and by default highlighted. No reason to think this won’t be a writer’s movie through and through.

The Academy loves Eric Roth and the Academy loves Stephen Daldry. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has to completely misfire on all the significant insights from the book to be shut out from this category. I have a feeling that won’t happen. Similarly, The Help has its borderline saccharine, powerful revisionist history on its side. The film pleased crowds in an unexpected way. Many will see the strong writing as the main reason that a troupe of unknown actors were able to shine. The Help might be as close to a lock as Extremely Loud.

The Descendants and Moneyball aren’t as locked in as people think, though Payne and Sorkin are Academy darlings. I feel the subject matter might be too abstractly handled to be considered good “writing.” Thoughtful direction, yes. But well-written, eh. That’s the reasoning I see both being potentially upset. That said, each film will be a significant achievement with big support from the masses. I can’t think of a valid reason at least one won’t get in.

Hugo is the dark horse here (and in every other category). The book moves in short bursts of very simple writing and aw-inspiring pictorials. Nothing screams “easy adaptation.” If the film is a success, I suspect it will garner a ton of praise for its script. The difficulty of the adaptation might be too much to pass up for some.

Good Bets:
Bridget O’Connor + Peter Strong, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
George Clooney + Grant Henslov, Ides of March
Eric Roth, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Aaron Sorkin + Steven Zaillian, Moneyball
Tate Taylor, The Help
Richard Curtis + Lee Hall, War Horse
Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, + Jim Rash, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo

Still In Play:
John Banville + Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

Wishful Thinking:
Christopher Hampton, A Dangerous Method
Rory Kinnear + Lynne Ramsay, We Need to Tall About Kevin

Distant Possibilities:
Adrian Hodges, My Week with Marilyn
Roman Polanski + Yasmina Reza, Carnage
Cameron Crowe + Aline Brosh McKenna, We Bought a Zoo
Steven Zaillian, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s