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While they have never really been considered favorites in the Best Picture race, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game both saw their odds at winning the big prize rise in a big way this past weekend. That's because both titles were big winners at the Writers Guild Awards, which were held on Saturday evening.
So what did The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game win at the ceremony over the weekend that made their chances suddenly surge? The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was written by Wes Anderson from a story by Hugo Guinness and Wes Anderson, picked up the Best Original Screenplay accolade. Meanwhile The Imitation Game, which was written by Graham Moore, who used Andrew Hodges’ book Alan Turing: The Enigma as source material, collected the Best Adapted Screenplay prize.
The Writers Guild Awards have a history of being held in high esteem partially because they are the last major ceremony before the Oscars. For the uninformed, the 87th Academy Awards will be held this coming Sunday, where they will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game have both been earning a great deal of praise and awards over the last few months, but these wins are among the most significant that each title has earned.
But does the success of The Imitation Game and The Grand Budapest Hotel mean that either of them could actually topple the likes of American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Theory of Everything or Whiplash for the Best Picture Academy Award? It’s hard to tell, but both beat out many of those titles on their way to their big wins at the WGAs. The Grand Budapest Hotel went up against Boyhood (written by Richard Linklater), Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman), Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy) and Whiplash (Damien Chazelle), and while all of those are acclaimed 2014 films, the fact that Wes Anderson’s script was able to beat Boyhood is a huge bonus - suggesting that The Grand Budapest Hotel could be closer than we expected to Oscar glory. However it should also be remembered that Birdman, which was written by Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo, wasn't nominated.
Meanwhile, The Imitation Game claimed the Best Adapted screenplay award over American Sniper (Jason Hall), Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), Guardians Of The Galaxy (James Gunn and Nicole Perlman), and Wild (Nick Hornby), only one of which is in the Best Picture Oscar category. Still, with the amount of buzz surrounding American Sniper since its wide release in January, it's hard not to see this as a significant victory.
While these wins for The Imitation Game and The Grand Budapest Hotel are huge, though, it's still questionable whether they have what it takes to beat out frontrunners Boyhood and Birdman at the Academy Awards later this week (it’s still a very tight race, but I personally think Boyhood is just in front of Inarritu’s flick). That being said, both The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game have now suddenly become the firm favorites for the Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars, respectively, and we’ll find out on Sunday if they can live up to this expectation.