By Matt Neglia
With the tech awards officially out of the way, we now turn our eyes to the above the line categories. This year's screenplay categories feel like a done deal in one category while the other is practically a coin flip.
Click below to see my in-depth analysis.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay are:
We have more information than most to work with here in helping us to determine what will happen in this category. Let's look to the Critics Choice Award, Golden Globe awards for Best Screenplay, the WGA, USC Scripter and BAFTA for Best Adapted and how they all matched with the Oscar.
It's pretty incredible when you take a look at the stats for screenplay and you see how many different avenues there are to predict the winner. The wild card all season long has been "Moonlight." Nominated for Original Screenplay at the Critics Choice, BAFTA and even WGA (Where it won!), "Moonlight" has only had one opportunity to compete in an exclusively Adapted field and that was at the USC Scripter where it won. Here are the list of winners for the USC over the last 10 years.
2007: No Country For Old Men
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: Up In The Air
2010: The Social Network
2011: The Descendants
2013: 12 Years A Slave
2014: The Imitation Game
2015: The Big Short
With the exception of "Up In The Air" the USC Scripter has correctly helped us predict the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar winner over the last decade. And let's be honest, we all expected "Up In The Air" was going to win that year. Every stat said it should and it simply ended up being one of those surprise wins for "Precious" that one could not simply predict. "Arrival" seems like the most likely to upset "Moonlight" here as it won at the two award shows where it did not have to go directly up against "Moonlight," the Critics Choice & the WGA. A film that has won those two awards has never gone on to lose the Oscar which will make "Arrival" the first to do so. You can thank "Moonlight's" category placement at the Oscars in Adapted for that one. While no one will be upset to see Barry Jenkins take home an Oscar, it's a shame for all of the "Arrival" fans out there.
Oh, and regarding a surprise "Hidden Figures" win due to its recent surge in popularity or "Lion" trying to repeat its win at BAFTA...not going to happen in my opinion. "Hidden Figures" winning would be the previous scenario all over again and no BAFTA only winner for Adapted Screenplay has gone on to win the Oscar since "The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King" which was the Best Picture winner in a true sweep year. That is not "Lion."
PREDICTED WINNER: "Moonlight"
RUNNER UP: "Arrival"
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Here we go. One of the toughest awards of the evening are between two films. One heavily favored to win Best Picture. The other, a Best Picture nominee with a respected writer at the helm whose screenplay is arguably the most celebrated aspect of the movie.
The nominees this year for Best Original Screenplay are:
"20th Century Women"
"Hell Or High Water"
"La La Land"
"Manchester By The Sea"
With all due respect to the nominees, this is a two-horse race. "La La Land" has won the Critics Choice and the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. "Manchester By The Sea" has won the Critics Choice (Tying "La La Land") and won the BAFTA. Neither film won the WGA, failing to give us an idea of which way AMPAS will go. Let's dive in and see where all of this may end up...
"Django Unchained" is the only Oscar winner for Original Screenplay since the Critics Choice have been around that has won the Critics Choice, BAFTA and Golden Globe.
However, because Golden Globe is a combination of both Original & Adapted screenplays, here are the films which have won the Critics Choice & BAFTA and went on to win the Oscar:
2000: Almost Famous
2005: Crash (Won WGA)
2006: Little Miss Sunshine (Won WGA)
2007: Juno (Won WGA)
2010: The King's Speech
2015: Spotlight (Won WGA)
Unfortunately we have to take WGA out of it because both "La La Land" and "Manchester By The Sea" each lost there to "Moonlight" leaving only two times since the Critics Choice have been around that a film won there and the BAFTA and then went on to win the Oscar. BAFTA has predicted this category right 13 times in 33 years (39%). Those are "Manchester By The Sea's" chances.
"La La Land" however has different chances at its side. Here are the films that won the Critics Choice Award & Golden Globe for Screenplay but went on to lose BAFTA and still win the Oscar:
1997: Good Will Hunting
1998: Shakespeare In Love (Won WGA)
1999: American Beauty (Won WGA)
2011: Midnight In Paris (Won WGA)
2013: Her (Won WGA)
That's right. An equal number of times has the Critics Choice/Globe winner gone on to win the Oscar as the Critics Choice/BAFTA winner. The Golden Globe has gotten the Original Screenplay category right within this sample size of 1983-2015, 10 times (30%), which is slightly less than the BAFTA's 39% success rate.
Now, you may think this gives the edge to "Manchester By The Sea" by a slim chance but we have to remember that the Golden Globe celebrates both Original & Adapted scripts in their category. The Golden Globes also have a crazy stat which shows that no winner for for Golden Globe for Best Screenplay EVER went on to lose that award at the Oscars if it also won the Best Picture Oscar. That may be a circumstantial accident but there is no denying that Screenplay typically tends to go towards the Best Picture winner. However, working in "Manchester By The Sea's" favor is the fact that BAFTA has crossover with the Academy where the Critics Choice & Golden Globes do not. Also, no musical has won the Screenplay Oscar since "Gigi" did back in 1958. Even "West Side Story," which won 10 Oscars, only lost screenplay. So what do we do? Unfortunately, we must go with our gut here.
Most will argue that Original Screenplay is the only place to honor "Manchester By The Sea" as many have voiced that they will not be voting for Casey Affleck for Best Actor (That post is coming soon...) and many don't expect nor want to see "Manchester By The Sea," one of the most acclaimed and beloved films of the year, to walk away empty handed. Many also feel that a win here for Kenneth Lonergan, a well respected writer who has had to pay his dues in this business pretty hard (Never forget "Margaret"), would be well deserved and is objectively the better written screenplay compared to "La La Land." However, "La La Land" has universal love and a strong passion for it which will compel many voters to check it off down the line on their Oscar ballots. I honestly don't know what to do here. It would be pretty incredible is a split happened here and another film won such as "Hell Or High Water" but I must make a choice so, I'm going to go against my brain here and vote with my heart and my heart says Lonergan.
PREDICTED WINNER: "Manchester By The Sea"
RUNNER UP: "La La Land"
What are your thoughts on these two categories? Are you picking the same films to win the Screenplay Oscars? Let me know in the comments below.
You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture
Nomadland (17) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, KCFCC, NDFS, NSFC, OFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA, TIFF, VENICE
Promising Young Woman (5) - COFCA, KCFCC, MCFCA, SCA, SDFCS
First Cow (2) - FFCC, NYFCC
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Minari (2) - NCFCA, OFCC
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2) - DFCS, HFCS
Another Round - EFA
Da 5 Bloods - CIC
Small Axe - LAFCA
Chloé Zhao (24) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BFCC, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, KCFCC, LAFCA, MSFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC, OFCC, OFCS, PFCC, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Spike Lee (2) - CIC, HFCS
Regina King - BFCC
Darius Marder - SCA
Andrew Patterson - GOTHAM
Thomas Vinterberg - EFA
Frances McDormand (13) - AWFJ, BOFCA, CFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, OFCC, OFCS, SFBAFCC
Carey Mulligan (8) - COFCA, DFCS, HFCS, KCFCC, LAFCA, MCFCA, SCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
Viola Davis (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Sidney Flanigan (2) - BSFC, NYFCC
Paula Beer - EFA
Nicole Beharie - GOTHAM
Riz Ahmed (9) - COFCA, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, KCFCC, NDFS, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS
Chadwick Boseman (9) - AWFJ, BFCC, CFCA, CIC, DFCS, LAFCA, MSFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Delroy Lindo (8) - BOFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NSFC, NYFCC, OFCS, PFCC
Anthony Hopkins (2) - BSFC, FFCC
Mads Mikkelsen - EFA
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Youn Yuh-jung (14) - AWFJ, BFCC, BSFC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, KCFCC, LAFCA, MCFCA, NCFCA, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Maria Bakalaova (11) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC, OFCS
Ellen Burstyn - DFCS
Olivia Cooke - HFCS
Amanda Seyfried - PFCC
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Raci (13) - BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, NSFC, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Leslie Odom Jr. (6) - AWFJ, BFCC, HFCS, IFJA, KCFCC, OFCS
Sacha Baron Cohen (4) - DFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NDFS
Chadwick Boseman (3) - CIC, NYFCC, PFCC
Glynn Turman - LAFCA
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nomadland (10) - AWFJ, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, KCFCC, NCFCA, OFCC, OFCS
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (4) - BOFCA, BSFC, FFCC, StLFCA
First Cow (3) - DFCS, PFCC, SFBAFCC
The Father (2) - SCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - BFCC, CIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Promising Young Woman (10) - AWFJ, CIC, COFCA, HFCS, KCFCC, LAFCA, NDFS, OFCC, OFCS, StLFCA
Minari (5) - BFCC, FFCC, NCFCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC
Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always (5) - CFCA, GWNYFCA, IFJA, NSFC, NYFCC
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Another Round - EFA
The Forty-Year-Old-Version - GOTHAM
Fourteen - GOTHAM
Nomadland (16) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, OFCS, PFCC, SDFCS, StLFCA
Mank (3) - FFCC, OFCC, SCA
Small Axe (2) - LAFCA, NYFCC
Tenet (2) - BFCC, HFCS
First Cow - SFBAFCC
Hidden Away - EFA
The Vast Of Night - KCFCC
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Emma. (2) - CFCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - CIC, HFCS
Hidden Away - EFA
BEST FILM EDITING
Nomadland (7) - AWFJ, BOFCA, GWNYFCA, NDFS, OFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, COFCA, HFCS, MCFCA
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (2) - BSFC, CFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - MCFCA, SDFCS
The Father - LAFCA
Once More Unto The Breach - EFA
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
The Endless Trench - EFA
Mank - HFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - CIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Soul (14) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, LAFCA, NCFCA, OFCC, OFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Tenet (3) - IFJA, MCFCA, SCA
Mank (2) - HFCS, NDFS
Berlin Alexanderplatz - EFA
Minari - BSFC
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
One Night In Miami (5) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Over The Moon - NDFS
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Mank (9) - CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, LAFCA, MCFCA, NDFS, SDFCS, StLFCA
First Cow - SFBAFCC
The Personal History Of David Copperfield - EFA
Little Girl - EFA
Sound Of Metal - HFCS
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Tenet (6) - DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, NCFCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - CFCA, CIC
The Platform - EFA
Possessor - FFCC
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Soul (16) - AWFJ, BFCC, CCA, CIC, DFCS, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MSFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, OFCC, OFCS, PFCC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Wolfwalkers (8) - BOFCA, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, KCFCC, LAFCA, NYFCC, SDFCS
Josep - EFA
The Wolf House - BSFC
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Another Round (9) - AWFJ, CFCA, EFA, IFJA, KCFCC, MCFCA, NCFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Minari (4) - COFCA, DFCS, GWNYFCA, OFCS
Bacurau (2) - BOFCA, NYFCC
The Life Ahead (2) - HFCS, SDFCS
And Then We Danced - NDFS
A Sun - HFCS
Beanpole - LAFCA
Collective - NSFC
His House - CIC
Identifying Features - GOTHAM
Jumbo - PFCC
La Llorona - BSFC
Los Fuertes - FFCC
Martin Eden - OFCC
Night Of The Kings - BFCC
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Time (7) - BFCC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, NYFCC, PFCC, SDFCS
Dick Johnson Is Dead (6) - CCA, CFCA, COFCA, IFJA, NCFCA, OFCS
Collective (4) - BSFC, EFA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Boys State (3) - CIC, DFCS, OFCC
All In: The Fight For Democracy (2) - AWFJ, NDFS
The Painter And The Thief (2) - AWFJ, BOFCA
Beastie Boys Story - HFCS
Crip Camp - IDA
The Dissident - KCFCC
My Octopus Teacher - HFCS
The Social Dilemma - MCFCA
A Thousand Cuts - GOTHAM
You Don't Nomi - FFCC