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Awards Season 2021: Breaking Down the ‘Screenplays’

As part of the Oscar voting week, I will be breaking down the potential nominees in numerous categories, and giving my official predictions as of right now of what will make it into the line-up. For this post, I will be breaking down the two ‘Screenplay’ categories: Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay.

Original Screenplay

There are certainly a few films in the Original Screenplay category that feel like locks. For starters, both of the films that have had big wins in the category so far, Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman are both going head-to-head for the win, so these are definitely films you should be predicting.

The final absolute safe bet I would keep on your list right now is Mank written by David Fincher’s father Jack. Not only is the emotional connection strong with it, but it is a film about the proclaimed “greatest film of all time”. This is a script that the Academy is going to find irresistible.

Depending on how well these two films do on Oscar night, there is a strong chance that either one or both of them will flesh out the final line-up. Both Sound of Metal and Minari have been doing quite well at the award shows, but will the passion be there to award them in the Original Screenplay category? It is worth keeping your eye on them.

The Academy likes to have one fun and different film in their Original Screenplay line-up. Whether it is a smart whodunnit like Knives Out, or a cute rom-com in The Big Sick, keep your eyes out for the Academy to pick something fresh. Whilst Another Round and Soul are still in contention for the final slots, I’m taking a punt at Palm Springs – which got a WGA nomination for Original Screenplay.

My Current Nominations:
Mank
Minari
Palm Springs
Promising Young Woman
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Adapted Screenplay

The Adapted Screenplay category always has less contenders, and this is still the case here as this category is feeling really predictable. The Academy will most likely be staying safe with their choices here, so don’t feel the need to go bold and predict a First Cow or I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

Once again, there seems to be three real safe bets when it comes to this category. Nomadland, One Night in Miami, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom have all felt secure since they started their festival runs and they will easily steamroll their way to the Oscar nominations.

There are a few films that are falling in momentum over the past few weeks. Whilst The Father has been getting less nominations than we expected recently, it should get a huge boost from the BAFTA nominations soon and I still expect it to get a nomination here. On the other hand, I believe the chances for News of the World are now not looking strong.

Instead, keep your eyes on The Mauritanian. Not only did it surprise by grabbing two nominations at the Golden Globes, including a win for Jodie Foster, it might end up pulling some surprises at the BAFTA nominations as it is currently longlisted for seven awards. The London Critics Circle loved The Mauritanian, so that boost may just be the nudge it needs to get into the Oscar field.

My Current Predictions:
The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
The Mauritanian
Nomadland
One Night in Miami

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