2012 Oscar Predictions: Updating the Adapted and Original Screenplay Categories

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2012 Oscar screenplay predictions
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

This morning we saw the Writers Guild offer their nominations for the best screenplays of 2011 and while they help us primarily by what screenplays were not nominated more than those that were, considering so many Oscar contending screenplays were not eligible due to the fact the WGA only considers screenplays produced by WGA members under WGA guidelines. As a result, those omissions, especially in the adapted category, were quite notable.

Going into today I hadn’t updated my screenplay predictions since October for the Adapted category and early November for the Original category so some changes needed to and have been made, particularly in the Original Screenplay category.

I’ve added three new contenders to the Original category that weren’t previously among my predictions, those are the screenplays for Win Win, A Separation and Bridesmaids, the latter of which is attempting to make a case in several categories with Original Screenplay being its latest.

As far as predictions for the category are concerned, I still see Woody Allen’s script for Midnight in Paris leading the way, just ahead of Michel Hazanavicius’ script for The Artist, though the two are virtually in a dead heat.

Considering The Artist wasn’t eligible for a WGA nomination it doesn’t lose any ground for being omitted there. However, should Midnight in Paris end up winning with the WGA, over the last ten years, eight of the WGA winners have gone on to win the Oscar. Last year was one of the two times it didn’t happen when The King’s Speech won the Oscar and Inception won with the WGA.

I’ve also moved Will Reiser’s 50/50 script into the top ten along with two of my newcomers, Win Win and A Separation. I’m not entirely confident in these last two, A Separation especially feels like a dark horse with the screenplays for Bridesmaids, Beginners and Young Adult all on its tail, but for now I’m sticking with it.

Here, then, are my predictions for Best Original Screenplay at this moment and you can click here to check out my field of 13 contenders, see where they all rank and download several of the contending screenplays to read.

  1. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
  2. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)
  3. 50/50 (Will Reiser)
  4. Win Win (Thomas McCarthy)
  5. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)

Moving to the Adapted category, things are interesting for different reasons while I haven’t added any new contenders, three new films have made my top five as the WGA noms had a different kind of affect on this category.

This category was affected far more by this morning’s WGA noms than the Original category as screenplays for films such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Ides of March were all eligible and yet weren’t nominated. Telling?

My top pick in this category, however, remains the same. I see Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s adaptation Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel, The Descendants, going all the way. I don’t see anything that can stop it and with nominations from the BFCA and HFPA along with recognition from the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics and now a nomination from the WGA I think the writing is on the wall.

Next we come to what looks like a mortal lock for second place, Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin’s script for Moneyball followed by Tate Taylor’s adaptation for The Help, a film that just keeps chugging along and is still the one film that could throw the entire awards race into a frenzy should it do well at shows like the Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Then I have Zaillian getting a second nomination for his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo adaptation and I’m going with a tough one in fifth again with Hossein Amini’s script for Drive, a pick I’m essentially making based on a hunch that there just might not be as much love for Hugo‘s script as there is for the film itself. The other option for that slot was Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan’s script for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but that film seems to have been largely ignored all over the place and I don’t see the Oscars bucking the trend.

All said, here are my five current predictions for Best Adapted Screenplay and you can check out my full field of ten contenders, see where they all rank and download several of the contending screenplays to read right here.

  1. The Descendants (Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash)
  2. Moneyball (Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin)
  3. The Help (Tate Taylor)
  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Steve Zaillian)
  5. Drive (Hossein Amini)