Oscars 2017: Predicting The Screenplays

It’s that time of year again. Awards season is in full force, theaters are being inundated with wide release of Oscar hopefuls, and that means it’s time for this season’s Oscar prediction extravaganza at MFR.

We did pretty well last year with about a .600 batting average as we predicted screenplays, actors, directors, and films hoping for nominations. This year, more diversity is the modus operandi for the Academy (for obvious reasons), and thankfully there are some incredible and incredibly diverse films deserving of Oscar attention.

First up, let’s try and decipher who will get in the adapted and original screenplay categories…


It seems, from this distance, that Best Adapted Screenplay has four nominees just happy to be there, and one absolute shoe in for the gold. That absolute: Moonlight. Based on a story by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Barry Jenkins’ script balances masterful structure and truly emotional storytelling. It should be considered the frontrunner the rest of the way.

Filling out this category should be August Wilson’s screen adaptation of his award-winning play, the Denzel Washington-directed Fences. It has all the meat and potatoes of textured storytelling that fit in these screenplay categories every year. Eric Heisserer’s ind-bending screenplay for Arrival, based on the story from Ted Chiang, has the perfect balance of sci-fi and emotion to easily find itself here as well.

That leaves two spots for at least a dozen possible contenders. Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks’ work on Silence should fill a fourth spot – and don’t count it out as a dark horse winner in a ton of places – and depending on momentum, Luke Davies’ screenplay for Lion and Jeff Nichols’ adaptation of Loving could sneak in. Tom Ford has his fingers crossed for his work on Nocturnal Animals, but for me it’s Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan’s script for Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge that will take this fifth and final spot.

Predictions – Moonlight, Fences, Arrival, Silence, Hacksaw Ridge


There’s a ton of creativity floating out there for original screenplay, from musicals to quirky romances to gritty Texas noir. As for that aforementioned musical, well, there is no bigger certainty in Best Original Screenplay than Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. Kenneth Lonergan’s tragic but sometimes incredibly funny work on Manchester by The Sea should also get a nod.

Beyond these two, the field is wide open. Taylor Sheridan should, and hopefully will, get recognition for his timely crime drama screenplay Hell or High Water, and there are some hopefuls in Noah Oppenheim’s Jackie and Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos’s wild romantic gem, The Lobster.

But the final two slots will most likely wind up in the laps of Mike Mills, for his 20th Century Women script, and Marion Ade for Toni Erdmann. The academy loves to show small works of genius a bone in this category, and Toni Erdmann fits that bill.

Predictions – La La Land, Manchester by The Sea, Hell or High Water, 20th Century Women, Toni Erdmann

UP NEXT: Best Supporting Actress

Larry Taylor - Managing Editor
Larry Taylor - Managing Editor
Larry is the managing editor for Monkeys Fighting Robots. The Dalai Lama once told him when he dies he will receive total consciousness. So he's got that going for him... Which is nice.