05 February 2012

Oscar Zone Vol III, Part 3: Best Screenwriting Chances

Hello once again folks to our weekly countdown to the upcoming 2012 Oscar Ceremony, Hollywood's annual self-congratulatory look at how awesome and important they are. Today we are taking a closer look at the best screenplay nominations, both original and adapted. This can be a tough category but I think this year is relatively clear cut...maybe.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Margin Call (2011): J.C. Chandor
This is a nice nomination  here but without a whole lot of buzz or anything else going for it, a win seems very unlikely, despite the competent writing. I'm not sure much else is known about this movie at all to give it more than an Mormon's chance in Baghdad to win.
Chances of Winning: 1/5

A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi
Oh the foreign film. Why won't this win Best Screenplay? Because it's written in fucking Persian, that's why. This flick is gobbling up plenty of critical awards though, and is currently sitting on a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Still, regardless of how brilliant the writing is, I don't think it will translate here, and foreign films winning this category are exceedingly rare.
Chances of Winning: 2/5

Bridesmaids (2011): Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
It's awesome and interesting that this flick got a nomination here and the waves that Bridesmaids has made critically, commercially, and socially are astounding. That said, even though the screenwriting category can be flexible in giving its awards out to cutting-edge comedies, The Artist is a more classic Academy-pleasing comedy in this category and Bridesmaids' nomination here is more of a novelty.
Chances of Winning: 3/5
The Artist (2011): Michel Hazanavicius
I said earlier that I thought this would win, but now it is looking for more like Woody will take home the Statue. Still, The Artist is shaping up to be the golden boy of the Awards and it could easily pull a mild upset and remain in control, taking this writing award as well. We'll see.
Chances of Winning: 4/5

Midnight in Paris (2011): Woody Allen
Woody hasn't really been a huge factor at the Academy Awards for a while despite turning out plenty of forgettable films. Midnight in Paris has been one of his best both critically and commercially in years and although it's not getting a strong buzz elsewhere, it has been applauded for its sharp writing. It has the perfect kind of notoriety to slide in here and grab a screenwriting award and not all that much else. It seems likely although The Artist is still poised to swoop in and do some damage.
Chances of Winning: 5/5

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Ides of March (2011): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
This film was largely ignored by the Academy, as if they have some grudge against annointing Ryan Gosling America's Dreamboat like the rest of us have. Odd, considering how in touch with Middle America the Academy is. Anyway, the Academy has ignored this kind of Clooney-based political thriller for years and it will continue to do so on February 26th.
Chances of Winning: 1/5

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011): Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan
May I simply copy and paste my opinion on the Academy's opinion on political thrillers? This film hasn't really caught the eye of the Academy although it received plenty of nominations it's not really heading in a winning direction in any of them. It has been a popular crowd favourite (by those into it) but can't get over the Academy hump. Chances are remote.
Chances of Winning: 2/5

Hugo (2011): John Logan
This is quite the reactionary year for the Academy. They poured oodles of love onto Hugo and The Artist, two throwback movies that seem to attempt to order a return to the earliest days of filmmaking, catering to a prestige and history that isn't really there anymore beyond a hollow facsimile. Still, these are exactly the reasons why Hugo has a shot in many of its categories, although its screenplay may be the weakest of its ridiculous 11 nominations.
Chances of Winning: 3/5

Moneyball (2011): Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin
Aaron Sorkin deserves to win this for the exact reason that he deserved his win for The Social Network (2010). He has the ability to render a complex technical topic both identifiable and engaging with sharp, crisp dialogue, which Brad Pitt makes love to almost as well as Jesse Eisenberg. The only major obstacle in his way is the fact that yes, Mr. Sorkin, we already gave you a statue for this last year. You've done the same thing, less brilliantly. Move on, bud.
Chances of Winning: 4/5

The Descendants (2011): Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
The idea of Community's Jim Rash as an Oscar Winner is very close to reality. The Descendants is the only film that's offering a serious challenge to The Artist right now and as The King's Speech (2010) and The Social Network split their respective Writing Categories last year, these parallel flicks may very well do the same, or if The Artist loses to Midnight in Paris, The Descendants should at least come up with this in a fairly weaker category.
Chances of Winning: 5/5

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