The Best Original Screenplay Oscar Race: Who Will Be Nominated?

With Oscar nominations right around the corner, CinemaBlend is taking a look at which films and performances are likely to be in contention for nominations. Let’s look at a the Original Screenplay race.

Locked In

Kenneth Branagh is hot off of a Golden Globe win for Belfast, which is likely to be a massive awards player across the board. He’ll easily be nominated here, and if he scores Director and Picture nominations for his film, he’ll have 8 nominations to his name without a win. That’s a compelling case to finally give the filmmaker and actor his first Oscar, but Paul Thomas Anderson will likely have even more nominations without a win. Should the filmmaker score Director, Producer, and Screenplay nominations for the critically acclaimed Licorice Pizza, that will put him at a whopping 11 nominations total. It’s very likely that the winner will be one of these two.

Adam McKay is very likely to land another nomination for Don’t Look Up as well. The Academy has embraced both of McKay’s previous exercises in political outrage, and the film is a massive hit on Netflix. Mixed critic reviews likely won’t hurt this one, given the amount of buzz behind it.

Likely Bets

Recently, the Academy has heavily embraced scripts penned by their directors in this category. King Richard is the only film in contention without that factor, which could hurt it if voters are looking to nominate writers they are familiar with. Still, there’s plenty of wit and humor in the script, and it’s a likely Best Picture nominee, which makes it a safe bet.

Aaron Sorkin is back in contention with Being the Ricardos. While it’s hardly his most acclaimed film, having Kidman, Bardem, and Simmons in contention for acting nominations will help the film maintain a high profile. However, Sorkin surprisingly missed a nomination for Steve Jobs in 2016, which makes me skeptical the Academy will nominate him if his film is left out of the Best Picture lineup. 

Dark Horses

If the Academy picks an alternate option to one of the aforementioned two, it might be either C’mon C’mon or Mass. Both are independent films with excellent dialogue and a deep focus on character building over plot. Unfortunately, these deserving scripts have not gained much traction outside of critics nominations. Working in C’mon C’mon’s favor is that Mike Mills scored a surprise nomination for 20th Century Women back in 2017. Mass is a first time script from actor turned filmmaker Fran Kranz. Working in its favor is that critics have nominated and awarded the script heavily, but it has been struggling for visibility with industry voters. A nomination for either film could be a way to throw some of 2021’s hidden gems a bone, since they may see no other nominations.

Michael Sarnoski’s acclaimed debut Pig has also received a fair amount of nominations from critics, as did Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch. Both films aren’t too likely to make the lineup, as they aren’t strong enough contenders in Best Picture. Other outside shots might include Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World, Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter, Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero, and Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers

Check back here at CinemaBlend for more category breakdowns.