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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The State of the Race - Our Screenplays

In part three of our discussion on how things might shape up on Oscar nomination morning, we're brought to this - the Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay categories. Several new faces will be nominated alongside a handful of Academy veterans, each deserving of their place. But only two will take home the above naked gold man. 

So. Let's get down to brass tacks. Or, gold tacks, if you will.

Best Original Screenplay

Black Swan - Andres Heinz and Mark Heyman
The Fighter - Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson
Inception - Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right - Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Bloomberg
The King's Speech - David Seidler 

I can't really see anything else making a splash here except these five films. It's possible that Easy A by Bert V Royal could sneak in, but I only see that happening if Emma Stone gets a surprise push in Best Actress. But, I don't see that happening, either. Clint Eastwood's Hereafter has been out of the race for months, and Sofia Coppola's Somewhere is pretty much dead and flopping around on the deck. The only other surprise nominee I could think of would be Mike Leigh's Another Year, but that, like Easy A, depends on whether of not Leslie Manville gets a push in either Supporting Actress or Actress. And, again, it doesn't seem likely. So, I think we have our nominees.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Here's where thinks get a little tricky for me. Ben Affleck's The Town has to be included somewhere other than Supporting Actor, right? It just... seems highly unlikely that the film will go almost completely unrewarded. So, given that it could sneak into Best Picture, it has a strong shot here. Really, even if it doesn't sneak in, it could still very well be nominated. Let's take a look - 

127 Hours - Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network - Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 - Michael Arndt 
The Town - Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, and Aaron Stockard
True Grit - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

With the possible inclusion of Rabbit Hole right there on The Town's tail, this is one of the most interesting races for me. Affleck has all but redeemed himself in Hollywood's eyes since his reinvention during Hollywoodland. Gone Baby Gone didn't get a hell of a lot of attention, but it was lauded. The Town, however, is being hailed as his early magnum opus, and has been all over the awards circuit. Could this be both a nod for the film, an apology for snubbing Gone Baby Gone, AND a "welcome back" to Affleck the Oscar winning writer? God, I hope so. 

Rabbit Hole, on the other hand, could very well be a threat. Its indie cred. and small success in the awards circuit could push it through 'til the end, but I think The Town has more going for it.

INTENSE EDIT - In the multiple edits it took to get the entry up, The Social Network somehow found its way out of the picture. I honestly don't know how. Investigations are being made, and the people responsible have been sacked. Obviously, it's going to win.

We'll see. 

Let me know what you think! Share your thoughts!

Next up, a dissection of the Animated Feature category and what it really means.