2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Original Screenplay

Today is Best Original Screenplay, a category I wanted to wait on the BAFTAs to go over, just in case they decided to go against how the tide in this one was already going.

In the end, we’ve got a pretty straightforward one, and it’s pretty clear which choice is gonna win and who’s gonna win if that one doesn’t. You really couldn’t ask for better help than that.

So here’s what this one looks like:

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah


Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

There were pretty much only six choices for this category. The other was Mank, which I guess they left off because they knew the credited writer was dead and that other people clearly did work on it. Either way, you knew Judas and the Black Messiah was the most likely alternative, so the only real surprise was them leaving Mank off. But the category was gonna be strong no matter what they went with, so in the end we were gonna get a good one regardless. And also, from the star, we knew who the two contenders here, so it was really just gonna be a matter of how the precursors went.

5. Sound of Metal — They clearly really like the film, but this was never gonna be a contender for Screenplay. The nomination is the reward here, and without any precursors it’s hard to consider this any higher than a fourth choice.

4. Judas and the Black Messiah — No precursor wins and the same number of nominations as Sound of Metal, so they’re basically in the same boat. I put this fourth just because I feel more people will have liked this script over Sound of Metal’s. Don’t think it really matters in the end, since we pretty much know what’s winning here.

3. Minari — I’m keeping this third just because it’s got the Director nomination, but it’s hard to see them taking this. You’d know if they were going all in on this movie and it had a shot here. They’e clearly not. So while this’ll get some votes, you can’t consider it any higher than a third choice.

2. The Trial of the Chicago 7 — It’s got the Globe win and it’s Aaron Sorkin. It’s clearly the second choice and was always gonna be a top two choice. Without the precursors being more even, I can’t really consider him a win contender, though. But of the other four scripts in this category, this is for sure the main competition.

1. Promising Young Woman — WGA, BAFTA, BFCA. Fennell’s only loss is the Globes, which… kind of easy to forgive. That just happened to be to someone in this category. Either way, her precursors dictate that she’s the favorite to take this. You still always worry about Sorkin taking it, but that’s an issue for a ballot, not here. Here, she’s for sure the #1 and you have to create the argument for why she won’t win rather than will win.

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