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2014 Oscar Predictions: Screenplays Original and Adapted

before-midnight-best-screenplay


Click on over to my 2014 Oscar Predictions page to see everything I’m forecasting in the major categories.

I’ve focused my 2014 Oscar predictions, until now, on Best Picture, Best Director, and the four acting categories. Today, I begin to unravel some of the secondary categories, starting with 2014 Best Adapted Screenplay and 2014 Best Original Screenplay predictions.

These categories can be places where otherwise unrecognized films get their due (see Moonrise Kingdom, The Ides of March), and when it comes to the win, Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay can either give the Best Picture winner a nice boost (see Argo) or become a consolation prize to a Best Picture also-ran (see Django Unchained).

This year, for a change, the two categories seem to be about equal in terms of quality and number of legitimate contenders. We’ll start with Adapted where a Best Picture frontrunner (12 Years a Slave) lords over a bunch of question marks and seemingly minor Oscar players. The category will continue to take shape as films like Foxcatcher, The Monuments Men, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty have their world premieres. Until then, we’ve got films like Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Labor Day, and Philomena to ponder.

The wild card in all this is Before Midnight. What seemed like a possible multiple nominee six months ago has turned into a one-trick Oscar pony. It’s Best Adapted Screenplay or bust for Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy (the latter is a fringe Best Actress candidate at best), but as crazy as it sounds, I think it can win the only award it will be up for on Oscar night. No one has a bad word to say about the film, and a screenplay award would be an absolutely fitting way to acknowledge the entire brilliant trilogy.

In Best Original Screenplay, we’re working with a few more established contenders. Inside Llewyn Davis, Blue Jasmine, and Nebraska all seem like very solid guesses at this stage in the game with the Coen Brothers earning my vote as the likeliest of the three to take the trophy home. That said, my money is with David O. Russell’s American Hustle, which should (alongside Gravity) lead the way with the most nominations. My final guess slot, for now, goes to Rush, but it could easily slide off in favor of Saving Mr. Banks, Mud, The Place Beyond the Pines, Prisoners, or a number of other contenders. For now, I won’t fret much about which five get in; I’ll simply be grateful that the category seems competitive for a change.

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