Oscars 2018: Predicting the Screenplay Nominations

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Awards season is here, it’s upon us, inundating us with #takes and hopeful movies that will ascend and descend on the oddsmaker’s charts for the next few months. The Oscars 2018 are going to be a tricky thing in a number of ways, but let’s not worry about that yet. Let’s worry about who is going to be nominated in the screenwriting fields.

It is a rich field of wildly varying genres and films who could sneak into this year’s screenplay pool. Both original and adapted screenplay have newcomers and stalwarts, and this is always a great place to keep an eye out for fresh new voices in Hollywood (hey there, Jordan Peele). Here we go…

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

And speaking of Mr. Peele, his screenplay for GET OUT might be the closest thing to a shoe in. The late winter horror is still reverberating across the culture, and it should become commonplace when the nominations are announced. But Jordan Peele’s film probably won’t be the only genre entry this year, because Guillermo Del Toro’s horror/romance THE SHAPE OF WATER will likely join the party.

As for the rest of the field, expect the return of Paul Thomas Anderson. PHANTOM THREAD is getting all the cinephile geeks excited, and the swan song of Daniel Day-Lewis looks like a perfect candidate for a screenplay nomination. That leaves two spots for probably three or four possible nominees. Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjani’s screenplay for The Big Sick, their semi-autobiographical dramedy, has a great chance to sneak in, but it has these two in the way

Martin McDonagh’s work on THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI must be recognized. It is a rich, satisfying story with several plates in the air and a sharp ear for Midwest aggression. Filling out the slot will likely be a much-deserved nomination for Greta Gerwig’s LADY BIRD.

PREDICTIONS

Jordan Peele – Get Out

Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread

Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

This is a tricky year for adapted screenplay. There are three, maybe four locks, and a fish mash of films hopeful for the final slot. But they all have their own issues. The absolute lock of the group is James Ivory’s adaptation of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, followed closely by Dees Rees’ and Virgil Williams’ work on the great MUDBOUND.

Right behind these two frontrunners is Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s screenplay for THE DISASTER ARTIST. James Franco’s bizarro biopic will have incredible momentum moving into the season. Then there are a few screenplay favorites, Aaron Sorkin and Richard Linklater, whose films Molly’s Game and Last Flag Flying (which Linklater wrote with Darryl Ponicsan) are angling for a nomination. They may split votes, leaving room for Liz Hannah and Josh Singer’s work on THE POST.

In the final slot could be Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled, Brian Selznik for Wonderstruck, but I want to go out on a limb here and say a genre film will sneak in the backdoor: James Mangold, Scott Frank, and Michael Green for the way they transformed an entire character in LOGAN.

PREDICTIONS

James Ivory – Call Me By Your Name

Dee Rees and Virgil Williams – Mudbound

Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber – The Disaster Artist

Liz Hannah and Josh Singer – The Post

James Mangold, Scott Frank, and Michael Green – Logan