Saturday, March 3, 2012

85th Oscar Original Screenplay Updates (3/3/12)

Original screenplay is a difficult category to predict in advance, precisely because we know less about these stories than we do for the adapted versions. Nevertheless, we can look at hints based upon the prestige of the writers, as well as the directors, actors and studios that presumably sign up for the project because of the script.

This is also one of the categories where animated films sometimes break through, as do film festival favorites. As a result I have given Brave, The Surrogate and Beasts Of The Southern Wild a nod in this set of predictions.

1. Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained (Predicted Winner) (previous rank 1)
2. Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master (New)
3. Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi for Brave (previous ran 2)
4. Ben Lewin for The Surrogate (New)
5. Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts Of The Southern Wild (New)

6. Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom (previous rank 27)
7. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for Inside Llewyn Davis (New)
8. Richard Nelson for Hyde Park On Hudson (previous rank 4)
9. Woody Allen for Nero Fiddled (previous rank 5)
10. Martin McDonagh for Seven Psychopaths (New)
11. Paul Andrew Williams for Song For Marion (New)
12. Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron and Rodrigo Garcia for Gravity (previous rank 44)
13. James Ponsoldt and Susan Burke for Smashed (previous rank 21)
14. James Gray and Ric Menello for Lowlife (aka Untitled James Gray Project) (New)
15. Ava DuVernay for Middle Of Nowhere (previous rank 17)
16. Vanessa Taylor for Great Hope Springs (previous rank 7)
17. Nicolas Winding Refn for Only God Forgives (New)
18. Mark Boal for Kill Bin Laden (aka Untitled International Thriller) (New)
19. John Gatins for Flight (previous rank 37)
20. Gretchen Dyer for The Playroom (previous rank 12)
21. Jeff Stockwell for My Wild Life (New)
22. Sergio G. Sanchez for The Impossible (previous rank 19)
23. Derek Connolly for Safety Not Guaranteed (New)
24. Ken Carter and Annette Haywood-Carter for Savannah (previous rank 15)
25. Jason A. Micallef for Butter (New)

26. Randy Brown for Trouble With The Curve (New)
27. John Jopson for The Absinthe Drinkers (previous rank 16)
28. Terrence Malick for The Burial (aka Untitled Terrence Malick Project) (previous rank 33)
29. Ry Russo-Young and Lena Dunham for Nobody Walks (New)
30. Sacha Baron Cohen, Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer for The Dictator (previous rank 40)
31. Kar Wai Wong, Xu Haofeng and Jingzhi Zou for The Grandmasters (previous rank 6)
32. Jeremy Walters for Dali (previous rank 8)
33. Derek Cianfranc, Ben Coccio and Darius Marder for The Place Beyond The Pines (New)
34. Sarah Polley for Take This Waltz (previously listed in 84th Oscar race, rank 15)
35. Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal for The Words (New)
36. Rafael J. Noble and Sharon Zimmer for When We Were Pirates (previous rank 14)
37. Rian Jordan for Looper (previous rank 20)
38. Rob Reiner, Guy Thomas and Andrew Scheinman for The Magic Of Belle Isle (previous rank 32)
39. Emma Thompson for Effie (previous rank 47)
40. Barry Levinson, Leo Rossi and James Toback for Gotti: In The Shadow Of My Father (New)
41. Michelle Morgan for Imogene (New)
42. John Huddles for The Philosophers (New)
43. Brin Hill and Daniel Barnz for Won’t Back Down (previous rank 39)
44. Jeff Nichols for Mud (New)
45. Noah Baumbach for While We’re Young (previously listed as adapted, rank 28)
46. Wentworth Miller and Erin Cressida Wilson for Stoker (previous rank 31)
47. Robbie Pickering for Natural Selection (New)
48. Whit Stillman for Damsels In Distress (New)
49. Nicholas Jarecki for Arbitrage (New)
50. So Yong Kim for For Ellen (previous rank 50)

As always, check the Tracker Pages in the upper right hand corner of this blog for the most updated predictions in all categories!   
See Original Screenplay predictions for other years HERE.
Or check out the Adapted Screenplay predictions.
See predictions for other categories at the 85th Oscars HERE.
Switch to another year: 84th,  85th,  86th,  87th,  88th,  89th  


  1. I don't now about Brave, based on the trailer it has a lot of cheap and unfunny jokes.

    1. You could be right, but I'm hoping that they put the easiest jokes in the trailer. They have rewarded films like Findng Nemo here, which had some pretty easy one-liners too, so you never know.

  2. Hope you're right about Django and The Master, can't wait for those two!

    1. Thanks! I think they both have a pretty good chance here, especially since there is the split that allows for ten screenplays in the two categories

  3. Little sad that Nero Fiddled is not considered that much in the acting circles. Could be Best Screenplay, though.

    1. Good Point. I'm actually having a tough time deciding what to do with Nero Fiddled. The cast looks really great and Woody often goes through phases where he repeats after a nomination-- and especially a win-- and then goes through dry spells.

      But my hesitation is that it is being billed as "four vignettes", which can often result in a bit of confusion, and may make it harder for anyone to stand out.

      Luckily, this is a fairly early release, so we should know soon whether anyone stands out.

  4. May I suggest The Grey as a possible Original Screenplay contender?

  5. Thanks! I thought about putting it on here, just in case their re-release strategy works, but mostly I'd heard good things about Neeson. Makes total sense that the screenplay would be strong too.

    1. Whoops, I goofed. The Grey is actually adapted from a story called Ghost Walker, so it'd be Adapted Screenplay instead.

    2. Thanks for this. The adapted screenplay race seems a little more stacked to me with a ton of literary classics to contend with, as well as several big budget series playing out. I'll definitely check it out though next time I update that category.

  6. I am in awe of your list! Lots of interesting screenplays, many of these upcoming films I didn't know, and I'm eager to find out more about them, thanks!

    1. Thanks Chris! I try to watch the early casting notices and make note of them before the trailers and posters start coming out. Sometimes the original screenplays are particularly hard to judge though, since we aren't really sure what they'll be about!