Oscars 2015 Category Breakdown: Best Original Screenplay
Every year before the Oscars I break down each of the 24 categories. I do this to familiarize everyone with the category, how it works, what its history is, how it usually turns out, and also as a precursor to my picks article, allowing me to get most of the heavy lifting out of the way beforehand.
How these work is — I go over each category’s history, give you all the previous winners and nominees, then list the current year’s nominees. And then I’ll go over how each of the guilds (if there is a corresponding guild) have went, and how that corresponds to the Oscars (some guilds mean a lot to how a category will play out. Others mean nothing). It’s basically everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision when you make your picks on Oscar night. And then I also rank the nominees at the end in terms of where I see them in terms of their likelihood to win.
Today is Best Original Screenplay, a category I’m pretty pleased with, overall.
|Year||Best Original Screenplay Winners||Other Nominees|
|1940||The Great McGinty||Angels over Broadway
Dr. Erlich’s Magic Bullet
The Great Dictator
|1941||Citizen Kane||The Devil and Miss Jones
Tall, Dark and Handsome
Tom, Dick and Harry
|1942||Woman of the Year||One of Our Aircraft Is Missing
Road to Morocco
The War Against Mrs. Hadley
|1943||Princess O’Rourke||Air Force
In Which We Serve
The North Star
So Proudly We Hail!
|1944||Wilson||Hail the Conquering Hero
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
Two Girls and a Sailor
Wing and a Prayer
Music for Millions
What Next, Corporal Hargrove?
|1946||The Seventh Veil||The Blue Dahlia
Children of Paradise
Road to Utopia
|1947||The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer||Body and Soul
A Double Life
|1948||No Award Given.||No category.|
|1949||Battleground||Jolson Sings Again
Passport to Pimlico
The Quiet One
|1950||Sunset Boulevard||Adam’s Rib
No Way Out
|1951||An American in Paris||Ace in the Hole
David and Bathsheba
Go for Broke!
|1952||The Lavender Hill Mob||The Atomic City
The Sound Barrier
Pat and Mike
|1953||Titanic||The Band Wagon
The Desert Rats
The Naked Spur
Take the High Ground!
|1954||On the Waterfront||The Barefoot Contessa
The Glenn Miller Story
Knock on Wood
|1955||Interrupted Melody||The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell
It’s Always Fair Weather
Mr. Hulot’s Holiday
The Seven Little Foys
|1956||The Red Balloon||The Bold and the Brave
|1957||Designing Woman||Funny Face
Man of a Thousand Faces
The Tin Star
|1958||The Defiant Ones||The Goddess
|1959||Pillow Talk||The 400 Blows
North by Northwest
|1960||The Apartment||The Angry Silence
The Facts of Life
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Never on Sunday
|1961||Splendor in the Grass||Ballad of a Soldier
La Dolce Vita
General della Rovere
Lover Come Back
|1962||Divorce, Italian Style||Freud
Last Year at Marienbad
That Touch of Mink
Through a Glass Darkly
|1963||How the West Was Won||8 ½
The Four Days of Naples
Love with the Proper Stranger
|1964||Father Goose||A Hard Day’s Night
One Potato, Two Potato
That Man from Rio
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
|1966||A Man and a Woman||Blowup
The Fortune Cookie
The Naked Prey
|1967||Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner||Bonnie and Clyde
Divorce American Style
La Guerre Est Finie
Two for the Road
|1968||The Producers||2001: A Space Odyssey
The Battle of Algiers
|1969||Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid||Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
The Wild Bunch
|1970||Patton||Five Easy Pieces
My Night at Maud’s
|1971||The Hospital||Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Summer of ‘42
Sunday Bloody Sunday
|1972||The Candidate||The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Lady Sings the Blues
Murmur of the Heart
|1973||The Sting||American Graffiti
Cries and Whispers
Save the Tiger
A Touch of Class
|1974||Chinatown||Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Day for Night
Harry and Tonto
|1975||Dog Day Afternoon||Amarcord
And Now My Love
Lies My Father Told Me
|1977||Annie Hall||The Goodbye Girl
The Late Show
The Turning Point
|1978||Coming Home||Autumn Sonata
The Deer Hunter
An Unmarried Woman
|1979||Breaking Away||All That Jazz
…And Justice for All
The China Syndrome
|1980||Melvin and Howard||Brubaker
Mon oncle d’Amerique
|1981||Chariots of Fire||Absence of Malice
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
An Officer and a Gentleman
|1983||Tender Mercies||The Big Chill
Fanny and Alexander
|1984||Places in the Heart||Beverly Hills Cop
Broadway Danny Rose
|1985||Witness||Back to the Future
The Official Story
The Purple Rose of Cairo
|1986||Hannah and Her Sisters||Crocodile Dundee
My Beautiful Laundrette
|1987||Moonstruck||Au revoir, les enfants
Hope and Glory
A Fish Called Wanda
Running on Empty
|1989||Dead Poets Society||Crimes and Misdemeanors
Do the Right Thing
Sex, Lies and Videotape
When Harry Met Sally…
|1991||Thelma & Louise||Boyz N the Hood
The Fisher King
|1992||The Crying Game||Husbands and Wives
In the Line of Fire
Sleepless in Seattle
|1994||Pulp Fiction||Bullets Over Broadway
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Three Colors: Red
|1995||The Usual Suspects||Braveheart
Secrets & Lies
|1997||Good Will Hunting||As Good as It Gets
The Full Monty
|1998||Shakespeare in Love||Bulworth
Life is Beautiful
Saving Private Ryan
The Truman Show
|1999||American Beauty||Being John Malkovich
The Sixth Sense
|2000||Almost Famous||Billy Elliot
You Can Count on Me
The Royal Tenenbaums
|2002||Talk to Her||Far from Heaven
Gangs of New York
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Y tu mama también
|2003||Lost in Translation||The Barbarian Invasions
Dirty Pretty Things
|2004||Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind||The Aviator
|2005||Crash||Good Night, and Good Luck
The Squid and the Whale
|2006||Little Miss Sunshine||Babel
Letters from Iwo Jima
|2007||Juno||Lars and the Real Girl
|2009||The Hurt Locker||Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
|2010||The King’s Speech||Another Year
The Kids Are All Right
|2011||Midnight in Paris||The Artist
Zero Dark Thirty
Dallas Buyers Club
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The thing with the Screenplay awards… the WGA can only help you so much. Sure, they’re helpful, but you have to take into account ineligibles, plus the Oscars leaning toward Best Picture movies. But still, we’ll go over some stuff anyway:
- 2014: Birdman was ineligible for the WGA and won the Oscar. The Grand Budapest Hotel won the WGA.
- 2013: The WGA and Oscar category were the same and Her won both.
- 2012: Django was ineligible for the WGA and won the Oscar. Zero Dark Thirty won the WGA.
- 2011: Midnight in Paris won both, and the category only had two nominees the same.
- 2010: Inception won the WGA, but The King’s Speech won the Oscar. The King’s Speech was ineligible for WGA.
- 2009: The Hurt Locker won both, and the category was only two the same.
- 2008: Milk won both and that was the only similarity between the two categories.
- 2007: Juno won both and the category was 4/5 the same.
- 2006: Little Miss Sunshine won both and the category matched 3/5.
- 2005: Crash won both and the category matched 3/5.
- 2004: Eternal Sunshine won both and the category matched 3/5.
- 2003: Lost in Translation won both and the category matched 3/5.
- 2002: Two different winners, the category matched 3/5. The two winners weren’t nominated on either category.
- 2001: Gosford Park won both and the category matched 3/5.
- 2000: Almost Famous won the Oscar and You Can Count on Me won the WGA, and the category matched 4/5.
So, okay, the WGA, when the winner is eligible, does match up a lot of the time.
Not that we need the help this year, because just looking at this category, you know what’s going to win.
Best Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies
Straight Outta Compton
The only major snub is Quentin. And that’s not even all that shocking to me.
5. Inside Out — Pixar has never won this category, and it won’t start now. They’ll show it the respect of nominating it, but I don’t think anyone will respect an animated film enough in an open vote to actually give it a writing Oscar. Until something changes, you almost always have to consider Pixar a #5 in the Screenplay categories.
4. Ex Machina — The film was great, and people loved it, but this is one of those “nomination is the reward’ situations. It’ll never happen. The nomination was the hard part. Just seeing it nominated is enough for most people. They’ll vote elsewhere over this. It’ll get a few votes, but not enough to take down the other three.
3. Bridge of Spies — The Coens helped write this. So that’ll get votes. Plus it’s a film that older voters will respond to. So that’ll get it a few votes. Spielberg. It’s a fair contender. But not a frontrunner. Because the other two will clearly beat this out in the end.
2. Straight Outta Compton — Because of the controversy. People will vote for this because of that. They will. And because of that, it’ll get the second most amount of votes. And if it wins, that’ll shock me and shock everyone else. But it’s not the frontrunner now matter how much you think that might happen.
1. Spotlight — It won WGA and BFCA, and it’ll probably win BAFTA tomorrow. It’s the frontrunner, and I would personally be shocked if this lost. If this loses Screenplay, then there’s no way it can win Best Picture. No way they’d let that happen. Either way, this is the frontrunner, and I’d put my money on this to win the Oscar.
– – – – – – – – –
All right. We’ve hit the home stretch. Only big categories left now. Tomorrow is Best Supporting Actress, which