2017 Oscar Predictions – Best Original Screenplay

UPDATED – FEBRUARY 23, 2017 – OSCAR NOMINEES – This is one of the hardest categories to predict.  For weeks I’ve fought against the notion that “La La Land” would win Original Screenplay.  Then BAFTA handed it to “Manchester by the Sea,” solidifying those thoughts.  At this last minute, against my better judgement, I’m going with the Academy to match the Golden Globe winner.

ENTER OUR OSCARS CONTEST via our CIRCUIT CENTER HERE!

AND THE NOMINEES ARE

  1. La La Land” – Damien Chazelle
  2. Manchester by the Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan
  3. Hell or High Water” – Taylor Sheridan
  4. 20th Century Women” – Mike Mills
  5. The Lobster” – Efthimis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos

THE NEXT MISSES

  • Captain Fantastic” – Matt Ross
  • Zootopia” – Byron Howard, Jared Bush, Rich Moore, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon, Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee
  • I, Daniel Blake” – Paul Laverty
  • Kubo and the Two Strings” – Marc Haimes, Shannon Tindle, Chris Butler
  • Toni Erdmann” – Maren Ade

OTHER TOP-TIER MISSES

ALSO MISSED

  • Moana” – Ron Clements, John Musker
  • Little Men” – Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias
  • The Birth of a Nation” – Jean McGianni Celestin, Nate Parker
  • American Honey” – Andrea Arnold
  • The Founder” – Robert D. Siegel
  • Cafe Society” – Woody Allen
  • Morris from America” – Chad Hartigan
  • Krisha” – Trey Edward Shults
  • Christine” – Craig Shilowich
  • Bleed for This” – Ben Younger, Pippa Blanco

OTHER MISSES

  • Midnight Special” – Jeff Nichols
  • Allied” – Steven Knight
  • Passengers” – Jon Spaiths
  • Miles Ahead” – Don Cheadle, Steven Baigelman, Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson
  • The Meddler” – Lorene Scafaria
  • Things to Come” – Mia Hansen-Love
  • The Comedian” – Lewis Friedman, Richard LaGravenese, Art Linson, Jeffrey Ross
  • Trolls” – Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger, Erica Rivinoja
  • Collateral Beauty” – Allan Loeb
  • Gold” – Stephen Gaghan, Patrick Massett, John Zinman

UNRANKED CONTENDERS IN PLAY

  • 13th” – Spencer Averik, Ava DuVernay
  • The Accountant” – Bill Dubuque
  • Aquarius” – Kleber Mendonca Filho
  • Born to be Blue” – Robert Burdreau
  • Desierto” – Jonás Cuarón, Mateo Garcia
  • Green Room” – Jeremy Saulnier
  • Mascots” – Christopher Guest
  • The Red Turtle” – Michael Dudok de Wit
  • Southside with You” – Richard Tanne
  • The Unknown Girl” – Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
  • The Witch” – Robert Eggers

*=could be deemed ADAPTED
**=could be pushed back to 2017

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  • Nicola Maddalena

    No Grand Budapest Hotel? I know that it hardly will make the cut, due to his early release, but I think it’s still worth a mention

    • Clayton Davis

      Read the commentary above the predictions. There’s a chance it goes Adapted. I’m putting in there when updated.

  • Connor

    Do you honestly think Jupiter Ascending has a better chance of getting nominated than Grand Budapest?

    • Clayton Davis

      Read the commentary above the predictions. There’s a chance it goes Adapted.

  • Calvin Philips

    This is going to be quite the category (also NB: The Imitation Game is going Adapted).

    • Clayton Davis

      I know. It was my mess up. I crossed my notes. It’s fixed. Thanks Calvin.

  • Ben Kelly

    What do you think the chances of Boyhood are?

    • Clayton Davis

      #7 in predictions. It was suppose to be there instead of “The Imitation Game” which is going Adapted me thinks.

  • Calvin Philips

    I can’t believe that you think Grace of Monaco is as low as #39, given how well comedies have done with the writers in recent years.

  • Thomas Manceau

    What about Interstellar instead of Mr Turner ? (Mr Turner’s only chance would be to get nominated in Best Motion Picture)

  • Luke McGowan

    La La Land needs to go up. I believe Loving is Adapted from a documentary.

  • Bryan L.

    I think Passengers will get a nom. It combines romance with science fiction, two genres that are hard to pull off together.

    • Alec Glass

      and two genres that the academy isn’t massively interested in … particularly scifi

  • Luke McGowan

    I tell you right now that Everybody Wants Some deserves to be there.

  • Brady Smith

    I have the feeling if the Lobster gets in for screenplay it’ll pick up some other noms too. Just seems like it’d be the type of movie to gain a late year (remember that movie?) push the way Grand Budapest hotel and to a lesser extant Ex Machina got. But I can’t be completely sure, I haven’t even seen it yet.

    • Alec Glass

      it’s an amazing movie but suuuper odd and probably just runs way too off the beaten path for academy sensibilities to be a big thing in the way grand budapest was or even Ex Machina was really, if we assume that it came close to some other noms as well. My guess is The Lobster has some decent odds to get in for screenplay but nothing else really, first of all because the screenplay is the best part of the movie, just wildly original and smart, with a ton of intereting things to say and an incredibly unique way its found to say them, and second of all because I think the writers’ branch is the only one which I think as a whole can really appreciate the weirdness of it

  • Luke McGowan

    1. La La Land
    2. The Birth of a Nation
    3. Manchester By the Sea
    4. Zootopia
    5. The Promise

    6. Cafe Society
    7. Loving
    8. The Lobster
    9. Gold
    10. Everybody Wants Some

  • Paesito “Martin Paez” Paez

    10 Cloverfield Lane?

    • Brady Smith

      I highly doubt it’ll be considered much in this category even though I liked the movie. But they have John Goodman ranked pretty high for a supporting actor possibility.

  • LU27

    What about Hell or High Water?

  • Ryancritic

    I’m confused. The Wikipedia page for Moonlight says that it was based on a book. Is it going to contend for original or adapted?

    • Luke McGowan

      The author of the short story is getting a “story by” credit, which means he and Jenkins will share the Oscar if it wins. The story wasn’t published, that’s the reason

  • Alec Glass

    You’ve really been backing off of Jackie lately, wherefore??

  • Steven R. Drake

    Why is the Edge of Seventeen getting no buzz? That was a pretty fantastic screenplay. Very sharp, witty, and quite fantastic dialogue.

  • PixarAnimator

    ” Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by J.K. Rowling

    • It’s an Adapted screenplay.

  • Tee

    1. La La Land
    2. Manchester by the Sea
    3. Hell or High Water
    4. Captain Fantastic
    5. Zootopia

    I think the Academy is just barely willing to branch out to the animated film for a nod. Inside Out managed last year, I see no reason why they wouldn’t embrace it over weirder films like The Lobster or 20th Century Women. I’m predicting La La Land purely based on Portman winning Actress and Moonlight taking Director and Picture, with this being the makeup nod.

  • Alfred

    Accurate list but you forgot the Irish “Sing street” (innovative music comedies play high in this category especially when this film achieved to be nominated in the golden globe film for comedy/musical) and the auteur’s Tod Solondz film “Wiener-dog”. This category most of the time has surprises (especially this year that this category is not so competitive for the heavy favorites).

  • Alfred

    Also, Morris from America can’t be nominated because it isn’t eligible at the Oscars (you can check the 336 eligible films’ list).

  • Bryce

    Hell or High Water
    La La Land
    Manchester by the Sea
    The Lobster
    Zootopia

    It will be between La La Land and Manchester by the Sea, and it cold go either way, so really, it is a 50/50, but I would have to go with La La Land.

  • Kian

    Captain Fantastic
    Hell or High Water
    La La Land
    The Lobster
    Manchester by the Sea

    This is easily between La La Land and Manchester by the Sea. I would love Manchester to win this one since I vehemently believe La La Land will win Best Picture and Director.

  • Alfred

    I believe, the 5 nominations will come out from these 20 films: Manchester by the sea, La La Land, Hell or High Water, 20th Century women, Birth of a nation (this film deserves -at least- a nomination don’t try to block it because of sex scandals etc. this is art, not gossip), Jackie, Captain Fantastic, Lobster, Zootopia, Toni Erdmann, American Honey, Collateral beauty, Everybody wants some, Florence Foster Jenkins, I Daniel Blake (I think the auteur Paul Laverty is gonna make it), Paterson (nominate at least here Jim Jarmusch for God shake!!!), Salesman (every year one or two foreign language films are strong in this category. This year it’s this one along with Toni Erdmann, don’t forget that Farhadi has been nominated in this category before and thus Academy admires his works) and three films that are missing but are witting comedies that always play high in this category: Edge of seventeen (in most of the prediction sites it’s in why is it missing here?), Sing Street (this gorgeous film has many possibilities to land here) and Wiener-Dog (if Academy wants to praise an overlooked auteur who is the king of witty independent cinema, Todd Solondz -I know it’s not one of his best but as always he is awesome-).

  • Alfred

    My final prediction nominees: “Manchester by the sea”, “La La Land”, “Lobster” and two very big shots, because I believe in miracles: “Sing street” (this Irish film achieved a Golden Globe film nomination and thus can play high in other categories such as this, because in film category it will be difficult, whereas here they love witty musical/comedies) and “Wiener-dog” (I think Academy will want to praise the king of witty comedies/sarcastic dramas Todd Solondz, whom overlooked so many times in the past and whereas his film is not that strong it still deserves it). “Hell or High Water” although front-runner it may be left out (as a screenplay it’s overrated).

  • DaKardii

    My prediction so far (will update when BAFTA nominations are announced)

    -La La Land
    -Manchester by the Sea
    -Hell or High Water
    -The Lobster

    The only reason it’s not locked up right now is because Barry Jenkins decided to have Moonlight be considered for Adapted instead of Original. That being said, the fifth one is going to be an absolute, unmitigated wild card, because no other original screenplay has been nominated for a BAFTA, Critic’s Choice, Golden Globe, or SAG yet. But that may change when the BAFTA nominees are announced.

  • La La Land’s win for best screenplay at the globes was so undeserved. Here’s how I think the Oscars will go:

    1. Manchester By The Sea
    2. Hell or High Water
    3. La La Land
    4. The Lobster
    5. Either Zootopia, Eye in the Sky, or Swiss Army Man (two of these are seriously underrated)

    • DaKardii

      I agree with your first four, but I don’t think any of your number 5s will be nominated. My number 5 is “I, Daniel Blake”.

      • To me, #5 is a wildcard. I can’t think of anything else eligible for this category that has been picking up enough buzz. Literally anything could go here.

  • DaKardii

    UPDATED AND FINAL PREDICTION, NOW THAT BAFTA NOMINATIONS ARE OUT

    Best Original Screenplay is locked up.

    -Hell or High Water
    -I, Daniel Blake
    -La La Land
    -The Lobster
    -Manchester by the Sea

    • Alec Glass

      I, Daniel Blake locked into a screenplay nod… really? Its only big nomination for screenplay was at the BAFTAS as a british film… a welcome surprise even with that granted and maybe it does get nominated but to call it locked up is getting ahead of ourselves I think…

      • DaKardii

        The only reason why I put that in is because only four other screenplays that can be classified as “original” have been nominated for a BAFTA, a SAG, a CC, or a GG. There have to be five nominees. Now, Moonlight was nominated for Original in one of those ceremonies. but has been declared ineligible as such for the Oscars. Had it been allowed to go Original, it would’ve taken “I, Daniel Blake’s” spot.

  • Pokermask

    Here are the films I predict for Best Original Screenplay at the moment:
    Damien Chazelle – La La Land
    Efthymis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos – The Lobster
    Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
    Matt Ross – Captain Fantastic
    Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

    Top choice: Damien Chazelle – La La Land

  • Tee

    1. Manchester by the Sea
    2. La La Land
    3. Hell or High Water
    4. Zootopia
    5. Captain Fantastic

  • Matthew Carr

    Here is my final predictions for Original Screenplay 2016:

    1. The Edge of Seventeen
    2. Hell or High Water
    3. La La Land
    4. Manchester by the Sea
    5. Zootopita

    • You misspelled “Zootopia”

      • Matthew Carr

        Ouch. My bad.

    • Adventurer

      Zootopia? You my friend is reaching.

  • Alfred

    Neruda has possibilities here and not in adapted where you put it (it’s original). Also, what about the film “Race”? Between the afro–american ones why is it so overlooked? Because it’s Canadian? I think it should be there in this big list.

  • Alfred

    After PGA, DGA and Bafta here are my predictions considering all the 336 eligible films and not only the front-runners (in order):
    1. “Manchester by the sea”
    2. “La La Land”
    3. “Lobster”
    4. “Sing street” (surprise underdog)
    5. “Wiener-Dog” (surprise underdog)
    *Still in big fight:
    6. “Hell or High Water”
    7. “Birth of a nation” (surprise underdog)
    8. “I, Daniel Blake” (surprise underdog)
    9. “Paterson” (surprise underdog)
    10. “20th Century women”
    11. “Captain Fantastic”
    12. “Zootopia”
    13. “Jackie”
    14. “Toni Erdmann”
    15. “Florence Foster Jenkins”
    16. “A salesman” (surprise underdog. Farhadi has been in this category before and again with a foreign language film)
    17. “American Honey” (surprise underdog)
    18. “Everybody wants some” (surprise underdog)
    19. “Edge of seventeen” (surprise underdog)
    20. “Neruda” (surprise underdog. Although it failed to place in top 9 shorlist of foreign language films between 85, here is a different game, with 336 different films with very few of the 85 foreign language list in common)
    21. “Collateral beauty” (surprise underdog)
    22. “Race” (surprise underdog)

  • Mangesh Gaikwad

    # Original Screenplay ::
    1.Manchester by the Sea

    2.Hell or High Water
    3.The Lobster
    4.La La Land
    5.Jackie /Zootopia /20th Century Women /Sing Street/ I, Daniel Blake.

  • Tee

    1. Manchester by the Sea
    2. La La Land
    3. Zootopia
    4. Hell or High Water
    5. Captain Fantastic

  • Alfred

    I don’t know how else to write it! You update the list but you keep on putting few ineligible films. Morris from America isn’t in the 336 eligible films. If you want your list to be accurate check out the 336 eligible films at the Oscars.

    • Alex German

      Oh my gosh! We get that they have included a few ineligible films…. Please relax! They work hard on the site and don’t need 15 comments from you saying the same thing. What is the point of pestering them like this? They clearly don’t care enough to change it

      • Alfred

        And obviously you care enough to share your toxicity. If a site wants to be accurate must firstly check the eligible films because if something is ineligible it should’t have been in the top 40 possibilities (obviously). Indeed, they don’t care to change it but you care a lot. Congratulations, you can make your own site.

  • 22cinema11

    My predictions:

    1. Manchester by the Sea
    2. La La Land
    3. Hell Or High Water
    4. Jackie
    5. Captain Fantastic

    Maybe “The Lobster” could get spot #4 or #5, but it didn’t get much attention over the last few weeks, especially at the major awards (maybe due to its early release date), except from Colin Farrell getting nominated at the Globes. I don’t think there will be another animated screenplay nominee this year after “Inside Out” making the cut in 2016. (Although “Zootopia” is great and looks pretty solid for a win in Animated Feature.) But there’s plenty of room for surprises here because the Original Screenplay category is not that crowded this year. I think “Captain Fantastic” could be the surprise #5 – it’s getting quite some buzz now with the SAG Ensemble nod, a huge campaign and the SAG, Golden Globe and BAFTA nod for Viggo Mortensen, and it received praise for its writing.

  • Stop readingMyOpinionSucks

    Zootopia is a real longshot for 2 reasons, the first being that there are alot of good contenders this year. The second is that the academy just doesn’t seem to like animated movies. It like them saying “Animation has a catagory and that’s where we wanna keep it”. Animation often branches out to song and score but these have less movies all together and animation has had music in it ever since the beginning. Zootopia getting nominated would kick ass because it is good for animation as a whole and I like it. I never thought it had a chance until I started to see it on many lists so who knows?

  • Alfred

    Like every year, this award is an open game (for nominations) and gives (pleasant) surprises. Indeed, 8 of your top 10 are the front-runners (La La Land, Manchester by the sea, Hell or High Water, Lobster, 20th Century Women, Captain Fantastic, Zootopia -if it’s gonna be an anime, it’s gonna be this- and I, Daniel Blake -you are the only one spotting it so high and you are right. A film achieving 4 Bafta nominations, film, directing, original screenplay and supporting actress, it means it has high possibilities. Most of Bafta top 5 film snitch to the Oscars and if this film doesn’t succeed in the other categories, this category seems more possible. Also Ken Loach was overlooked shockingly many times so they may want to correct this omission, even through Laverty-). Along with these 8, I would add 3 underdogs (it’s the appropriate category for upsets): Birth of a nation (one of the very few films about slavery that reflects blacks gaining class consciousness and not accepting patiently the tortures. In my opinion this was the main cause for recurring the sex scandal -many conservatives called this film terrorist- and starting the boycott. This film is about the real life story of Nat Turner and Nate Parker did a great job in all three aspects -direction, screenplay and acting-. DGA nominated him for first timer director so he still remains a dark horse and because in direction they won’t nominate another first timer, in acting -although he was awesome, the best advantage of the film- they want others to praise, it seems more likely to get a nomination here. Also, after the all so white previous Oscars, they want to restore this last year’s injustice. This year all 5 black films are great -Moonlight, Fences, Birth of a nation, Loving and Hidden Figures- and it seems all of them will get at least one nomination. At last, Roman Polanski took the Oscar although he was forbidden to enter the States, so they may forget the whole scandal as well. They judge art, they aren’t court), Paterson (they may want to correct the unfairness of overlooking the king of independent American cinema Jim Jarmusch so many times. If this film won’t place in film, directing or actor -tough categories- seems more likely here) and Sing Street (it achieved the golden globe film comedy/musical nomination putting out so many and thus it has possibilities not only for film -big dark horse- but mainly here. This category loves music comedies and maybe it’s gonna be an Irish award -along with Lobster-). These 11 films above are the real threat of the top 5 nominations of this category.

  • DaKardii

    I got four out of five right. I’m SHOCKED “I, Daniel Blake” got snubbed in favor of 20th Century Women. IDB was actually nominated for at least one of the other major awards (BAFTA, CC, GG, and SAG). 20th Century Women was not.

    • Reece

      It wasn’t eligible for any awards, I don’t think..

  • Stop readingMyOpinionSucks

    Aww cmon Zootopia was snubbed.

    • AyeAye

      Not even.

      • Calvin Damon

        Lol yes it was. Do you see it in the lineup?

        • AyeAye

          And that proves what? There were more screenplays above Zootopia in the running.

          • Calvin Damon

            Maybe it’s not one of the 5 best original screenplays of the year, but it’s definitely better than 20th Century Women’s. That movie was a piece of crap and the screenplay was the primary reason. Annette Bening was actually quite good. I would’ve been fine with them nominating her. The real snubs in original screenplay are The Nice Guys and The Edge of Seventeen

            • AyeAye

              How is that relevant to what I said though? I said Zootopia was not snubbed, I didn’t say 21st Century Woman deserved the nomination. I liked the movie, but there were better screenplays than it for e.g I, Daniel Blake which IMO was the real snub here. Zootopia would’ve been snubbed if it had performed well in this category throughout the award season, but it did not. So it wasn’t snubbed as it was not in the running.

  • DaKardii

    MY PREDICTION FOR BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY WINNER

    Right now, the favorite is Manchester by the Sea, though I see La La Land and Hell or High Water as potential spoilers. The Lobster and 20th Century Women have slim chances.

  • Adventurer

    BAFTA gave Manchester an edge. Now WGA has to follow-up, then it’s a lock.

  • Derrick

    Anyone but La La Land! Manchester By The Sea looks set to win!

  • life is a state of mind

    Manchester by the Sea deserves it. Blah Blah Land’s writing could win if the snowball is rolling fast enough down hill, but I hope not – it sucked.

    • Adventurer

      *Blah Blah Bland. Better name. 🙂

  • Derrick

    UPDATE: Moonlight just won WGA Original Screenplay! Since it’s nominated for Adapted Screenplay which will win at the Oscars because eventhough ARRIVAL won WGA Adapted Screenplay, it won’t win the Oscars, who’s gonna win Original Screenplay between La La Land and Manchester By The Sea?

    Oscar’s is getting interesting NOW……………………

    • AyeAye

      When Moonlight was nominated in Adapted, MBtS took all screenplay awards over La La Land except for Globes. The latter is not taking this.

    • Siddhant Pandey

      I don’t understand- Both Moonlight and Arrival were adapted from some other form of work…Then why was Moonlight nominated in “Original” Screenplay? Can someone explain it to me? And you think that Manchester by the Sea will win?

      • Derrick

        MOONLIGHT is eligible for WGA but NOT eligible for to be nominated in Original Screenplay at the Oscars. I don’t understand that either!
        I’ve seen MBTS and I was WOW’d with the movie, LOVE the town setting but anything other than La La Land I will be happy!

        • Siddhant Pandey

          I am actually in an Oscar winner bet with my friend. So, I was just wondering. I have been going around the internet, trying to get information about all the different awards which have the best winner-picking-rate, and looking at the trends on the internet to figure out which movie will win. So, Arrival and Moonlight winning WGAs, and then being nominated in the same category at the Oscars complicate things for me 😛

          • Derrick

            It does complicate things here but I think MOONLIGHT will take Adapted Screenplay

            • Siddhant Pandey

              I think so too. Any ideas about best actor, director, film or actress?

              • Derrick

                Lead Actor is still a toss up between Affleck and Washington so I’m not sure who will win here.
                Lead Actress will probably be Emma Stone since she won everything else but I’ve seen previews of La La Land and I’m NOT WOW’d by her performance so I’m hoping Natalie Portman will take this or even Isabelle Huppert since I’ve heard great things about her performance in Elle.
                Supporting Actor, people are saying it’s a toss up between Ali and Patel but I think/confident Ali will take this. Patel won BAFTA and I think it will be his ONLY win………..He’s British and BAFTA do have a way to recognize their kind PLUS he was pretty good in ‘Lion’
                Supporting Actress…………….VIOLA DAVIS and ONLY HER………………
                Director will be Damien Chazelle UNLESS if Barry Jenkins pull in an upset.
                Film will probably be La La Land but I as I’ve said before and will continue to say it again, MOONLIGHT will probably pull an upset win for Film and RIGHTFULLY SO

                • Siddhant Pandey

                  Seems fair to me. Thanks man. For Visual Effects, I HOPE that Doctor Strange wins. I mean, Jungle Book has great VFX and everything, but stuff like that has been seen before, while Doctor Strange was just crazy, and unlike anything I had ever seen before

                  • Derrick

                    It seems JUNGLE BOOK looks a favorite to win that!

  • Calvin Damon

    I’ll take Globe+Critic’s Choice over BAFTA+Critic’s Choice, especially since Globe combines original and adapted into one. This one is nail-bitingly close though

    • Adventurer

      WGA gave it to Moonlight as well though even though the three was nominated for the same category. It lowers La La Land’s chances, and since BAFTA shares AMPAS voters, it gives it higher chances than La La Land.

  • Pablo

    I do hope La La Land loses this one. It’s a good screenplay but not a great one. Hell or High Water or Manchester by the Sea have much superior screenplays, the dialogue in both and the lack of it in some parts is just amazing.