For the third straight year, the Adapted Screenplay race looks to be very top heavy with the presumed Oscar contenders, at least looking this far out. This doesn’t count the films that could either get pushed back or fail to live up to the expectations. “Me & Earl & the Dying Girl” received a great launching start from Sundance and could land newcomer Jesse Andrews in the conversation for screenplay. My eye is on “Carol,” written by Phyllis Nagy and directed by Todd Haynes. This could propel the both of them into the big leagues.
Nick Hornby has a nomination under his belt for “An Education” and likely just missed out for “Wild” last year. “Brooklyn” looks to be his best chance yet. Aaron Sorkin is the master of words and I’m sure many will credit any positives of “Steve Jobs” to his script. Cary Fukunaga will have the Netflix hurdle but it could be the start of a new, innovative method of Oscar campaigning.
Drew Goddard breathed new life into the horror genre with “The Cabin in the Woods” but has a more serious venture ahead of him with Ridley Scott’s “The Martian.” Scott Cooper and uncredited writer Mark Mallouk took on “Black Mass,” which could go the route of “The Departed.”
People who have read “Room” by Emma Donaghue say that the material is very juicy. With Donaghue herself adapting the book for the screen, could she do what Gillian Flynn failed to do last year with “Gone Girl?”
Shakespeare has a rough time with the Oscars nowadays so I wouldn’t hold my breath for “MacBeth” by Jacob Koskoff and Todd Louiso or “Cymbeline” by Michael Almereyda but crazier things have happened. Billy Ray was probably the #2 behind “12 Years a Slave” for “Captain Phillips” in 2012. His English remake of “The Secret in their Eyes,” which he writes and directs, could surprise many.
Peter Landesman hopes to bounce back from “Parkland” with “Concussion” about the NFL-concussion controversy while David Nicholls looks to the remake of “Far from the Madding Crowd” for his recognition.
Many believe that Oliver Stone has one more masterpiece left in him. Co-writing “Snowden” with Keiran Fitzgerald offers up an opportunity for such a quest. Alejandro G. Inarritu just won with three other writers for “Birdman” (the second time in history that more than 3 writers took home an Original Screenplay award). Teamed up with Mark L. Smith on “The Revenant” may have him be one of the first (if not THE first) writer to win back-to-back screenplay Oscars in two different categories.
Finally, there are the fanboy films that the internet community will start yelling for, even though they likely have little chance. The next James Bond film offers up belief to some that “Skyfall” narrowingly missed out in the top categories. If “Spectre” outdoes “Skyfall” then we could have a contender in the fray. “Star Wars” is a powerful franchise and who knows if “The Force Awakens” has any awards clout to stand by. “The Avengers” made some historic money and the next film “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” will have the butts in the seats. Will it have the belief from the critics? Honestly, these aren’t in the realm of radar at the moment but I’m always open to an historic citation from the Academy.
For the Original Screenplay contenders, things look a bit different.
The writers branch has been very inventive the past decade or so. Films like “Birdman,” “Her,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” have found their way in very competitive races and have stood the test of time. This year, we have a great mix of veterans (Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen) with some overdue scribes (James Vanderbilt, Richard Linklater, David O. Russell), and some seemingly newer faces despite being around for a while (Amy Schumer, Chris Sparling, Bryan Sipe).
“The Sea of Trees” looks like a film that will have lots of words to chew on with Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe delivering with director Gus Van Sant in tow. If I’m going big with “The Good Dinosaur” in Best Picture, then the screenplay would likely follow suit. Supposedly Woody Allen’s “ON” year, “Irrational Man” sounds like something new and conventional for the veteran writer/director. The SXSW reviews for “Trainwreck” and Amy Schumer‘s script were way up there but I’m holding my breath for anything like that joining the conversation.
Cameron Crowe is back with “Aloha” but judging by the trailer (something we’re supposed to never do), it doesn’t look like the “return-to-form” we were all expecting. Angelina Jolie‘s “By the Sea” is said to be something “very surprising” coming from sources who have read the script. Maybe she can find some room for recognition. Diablo Cody is back and partnered with Jonathan Demme for “Ricki and the Flash” with Meryl Streep providing her delivery. That should keep eyes on her script during the summer.
GO AND CHECK OUT OTHER CATEGORIES:
PICTURE | DIRECTOR | LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | FOREIGN LANGUAGE | LIVE ACTION SHORT | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT