Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6410
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:59 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:2) it left the film with no below-the-line nods, and I believe no film since the 30s has won best picture with that deficiency


I was going to save this stat for the inevitable Best Picture thread, but since I did a check, in the modern era, only Annie Hall and Ordinary People won Best Picture without any below-the-line nominations. (And even when you consider the earlier era, the only other films that did are It Happened One Night, Grand Hotel, and The Broadway Melody.) So that's not a lot of precedent for Get Out/Lady Bird; of course, Three Billboards (missing Director) and Dunkirk (missing Screenplay) have their own major precedent issues as well.


You're right; I got my stats mixed up. The one that goes back to the 30s --

...OK; I'll save it for an actual best picture thread.

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4175
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:08 pm

Mister Tee wrote:2) it left the film with no below-the-line nods, and I believe no film since the 30s has won best picture with that deficiency


I was going to save this stat for the inevitable Best Picture thread, but since I did a check, in the modern era, only Annie Hall and Ordinary People won Best Picture without any below-the-line nominations. (And even when you consider the earlier era, the only other films that did are It Happened One Night, Grand Hotel, and The Broadway Melody.) So that's not a lot of precedent for Get Out/Lady Bird; of course, Three Billboards (missing Director) and Dunkirk (missing Screenplay) have their own major precedent issues as well.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6410
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:43 pm

As others are saying, this category is one of the most interesting on its own AND as perhaps a major signpost along the way to the best picture win.

I should be annoyed that The Big Sick is here instead of Phantom Thread, but the latter got so much more than it could have that it's hard to be bitter, and it's nice for the happy couple to have got something for its summertime hit. (Especially considering that there are some recent years the film might have won this category outright.)

It is extremely weird that the PGA/DGA winner -- and best director sure-shot -- seems to be universally thought to be running 4th here. Not, I guess, as weird as such a film not even being nominated (see: Gravity), but a sign that there's some loosening of what had for decades been universal Academy criteria.

But we don't yet have evidence that these criteria have loosened to the point that no old rules apply. And the key rules we're still dealing with are that, to win best picture, you pretty much need a screenplay or directing win. In extremely rare cases, acting + tech wins can pull you through -- in modern times, Gladiator and Chicago pulled off this unusual feat -- but I don't think any of our remaining three contenders have much hope of that (Get Out and Lady Bird because they have no tech nominations, Three Billboards because it has a couple but doesn't seem a threat to win any). Which is to say: if something besides The Shape of Water is to win best picture, unless we're going to step into unprecedented territory, it would appear the film would need to win this category.

I'm sorry to say this, because I like the film, and would rank it at worst second, but I think Lady Bird's loss at WGA was effectively an elimination round. The films were competing for "who will survive to challenge Three Billboards?", and Peele came out the winner. The only possibility this isn't so is, if what I've suggested in a few other threads turns out true: that the Cheryl Boone Isaac diversity push has finally reached the point where Academy membership now differs enough from Guild sampling that Oscar results no longer reflect these straw-poll outcomes in the way to which we've become accustomed. This is something devoutly to be wished -- it would make the Oscars an independent business once again, after a decade or more of enslavement to the damned precursors -- but, until we've seen evidence of it, it's not something you'd bet rent money on.

So, for me, it pretty much comes down to Get Out and Three Billboards, with the winner likely to be the stronger best picture challenger to Shape of Water. I truly don't know how to choose; I think many voters would like to honor both. Get Out is exactly the kind of zippy, fresh concept that the writers have often gone for as a consolation prizes (i.e., since it wasn't getting best picture) -- Eternal Sunshine, Midnight in Paris, her. And, speaking of films that would have won in other recent years...I'd say Get Out would have been an easy winner many times in the past decade-plus.

But Three Billboards is, I think, seen as a bigger effort overall -- evidenced by its nominations haul, and its multiple best film wins at Globes, SAG and BAFTA. And let's not just diminish Martin McDonagh as someone who only won prizes because he was a local boy. This is one of the world's major playwrights, whose previous nomination for In Bruges marked him as an Academy comer even as he was working his way up the directorial ladder. This is a guy who'd be as OBVIOUS a choice for screenplay in most of those years as Get Out. That he's not seen that way is partly a product of the times -- when the call is for minority and gender representation, an aging white guy winning seems a bit backward, however hip that white guy is -- and partly due to his film being divisive (which is somewhat related to those racial/gender issues, but also partly because he works in a style that isn't journalistic/realistic, which has left some audiences alienated). But I think he's going to have lots of support, and could win both this and best picture.

One thing we're maybe going to find out: which omission counts more, directing or editing? McDonagh's being left off the directing list got a lot of attention, with good reason, but Get Out's failure to secure an editing nod seems pretty important as well, because 1) Since 1980, we've actually seen more films without directing nods win best picture without director (two) than editing (one); 2) it left the film with no below-the-line nods, and I believe no film since the 30s has won best picture with that deficiency; and (3) editing seemed like the kind of category it could WIN, so missing there is no minor event. Which is to say that, for all of Get Out's clear strengths, it has a few chinks in its armor, which could be crucial in what appears to be a very close contest.

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7352
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Postby Sabin » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:19 pm

The Original BJ wrote
I guess you never know with the preferential ballot, but I do think it would be very difficult for any of the top three contenders to lose this category, and still end up the Best Picture winner.

I was thinking about this point today. It would make NO sense for 'Get Out' to win Best Original Screenplay but 'Three Billboards...' wins Best Picture, right?

But it could really happen. In fact, it's somewhat likely. 'Three Billboards...' could just appeal to base of actors more than it does to the writing branch. Or conversely, 'Lady Bird' or 'Get Out' could end up winning Best Picture because they're just overall more beloved, but McDonagh prevails for screenplay due to his an additional writing nomination.

This is easily the most interesting screenplay race of my life because there's a precedent for Gerwig, Peele, and McDonagh winning and we have no frame of reference to speak of. The WGA can't be trusted because 'Three Billboards...' wasn't eligible and the BAFTAs can't be trusted because of course they were going to honor McDonagh.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4175
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:43 pm

This seems like a category that could be a major bellwether for Best Picture -- perhaps in that those prizes could go hand in hand, but also simply for the fact that it could reveal major strengths/weaknesses for a number of these movies' chances at the final envelope.

The Big Sick, of course, is just happy to be here -- it scored a nomination over not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Best Picture nominees with original scripts (most of which might have easily qualified in another year), without getting a Best Picture nomination itself. I'm glad Kumail and Emily seem to be having such a great time this season, because their win chances seem subterranean.

Given how strong a Best Picture candidate The Shape of Water seems to be -- and that's the only honest way to characterize a PGA/DGA winner -- it seems a little weird that it seems to be such a non-contender here. But I think even many of those who might vote it Picture/Director will pick something more script-central in this category. If it does manage to prevail here, wouldn't it seem like Best Pic is in the bag?

Like everyone, I assume the remaining three films are in a battle to the death for this prize. Losing the WGA obviously wasn't GREAT for Lady Bird, but it's easy to imagine a scenario where a different group of voters (and a different set of competitors) could easily swing this prize to Gerwig. She's obviously not winning Director, and it seems increasingly unlikely that either actress will prevail, so this category could be the spot to honor a much-liked film, and its female filmmaker in a year where that would make a powerful statement.

Get Out's case for winning is virtually identical to Lady Bird's. It, too, is a film that doesn't have THAT many places to pick up a prize, as Actor and Director seem completely out of the question. So if you want to honor an exciting new filmmaking voice, who also happens to be a member of a group woefully underrepresented behind the camera, this is the category to do it. And I think what others have said -- that Get Out most fits the "clever concept" rubric that has often decided this category -- has a lot of merit.

Three Billboards has now won the Globe and BAFTA (in both this category AND Best Picture). If it had been eligible for WGA, and had won there, would we even think this category was a race? If it had been eligible for WGA and LOST, would we think this race was even tighter? It's hard to know. But based on the evidence we have, I still think its chances here are very strong, particularly given that it won't have to face a preferential ballot like in Best Picture (where I do think it could run into trouble from detractors who place it low on their ballots). And I don't at all agree with the take that McDonagh's Director omission suggests doom for this category -- Argo was up against an entire slate of Picture/Director nominees, and still managed to win its Screenplay prize. (Her also topped two Picture/Director candidates in this category.) Still, I could see voters being content with giving prizes to McDormand and Rockwell as a way to amply honor this film, and spread the wealth by honoring another movie in this category.

I guess you never know with the preferential ballot, but I do think it would be very difficult for any of the top three contenders to lose this category, and still end up the Best Picture winner.

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7352
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Postby Sabin » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:02 am

That's right. I think I was thinking of Best Director.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5179
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Postby anonymous1980 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:21 pm

Sabin wrote:The last time I can remember a Big Idea film losing when it had a significant chance (which excuses 'Ex Machina') was 'Inception' and before that 'Memento.' Neither film was up for Best Picture and both were part of a remarkable losing streak for Nolan.


Inception was up for Best Picture (but Nolan was left out of Director).

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7352
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Postby Sabin » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:26 pm

GoldDerby has 'Lady Bird' is at 33.84%, 'Three Billboards...' at 31.97%, and 'Get Out' at 28.76%. I think these odds don't reflect the WGA win but who cares? Florida wasn't this close.

If ever this category were to tie, this year would be the most appropriate and the least surprising. I want to see the vote totals of this category more than any other.

I'll cosign all of anonymous' points. But it's worth noting that McDonagh's absence creates a murkiness over the race that we can't really know. Barry Jenkins won the WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay last year, and Damien Chazelle's surprise screenplay win led many like me to assume he would take the Oscar from Lonergan (whose film picked up five nominations but didn't seem beloved). I was wrong. And 'Three Billboards...' seems to be a more beloved film overall, despite its lack of a directing award. Had Lonergan faced a lineup like this, I think he might fall out of the final five himself.

How many WGA voters would have chosen McDonagh had he been a nominee and would that be enough to push him or another film over the top? Let me put it this way: had 'Lady Bird' won, I would still think that 'Get Out' had a chance. I suspect that the bloc that pushed 'Get Out' to victory wouldn't have it as their second choice. Additionally, it's hard to attribute McDonagh's inevitable BAFTA win to anything but nepotism, especially when 'In Bruges' defeated 'Milk' in 2008. But it's nepotism with considerable crossover.

The reason I stick with 'Get Out' is that it fits the bill of so many films that historically take this prize. It's The Concept Film. Like 'Her,' 'Birdman,' and 'Midnight in Paris' (of recent years), it's the movie with the biggest idea. The last time I can remember a Big Idea film losing when it had a significant chance (which excuses 'Ex Machina') was 'Inception' and before that 'Memento.' Neither film was up for Best Picture and both were part of a remarkable losing streak for Nolan.

But 'Get Out' is something else as well. It's the Conversation Film. It's so timely and has capitalized on something in the zeitgeist like 'Thelma & Louise' did. 'Do the Right Thing' did as well, but its failure to launch into the Picture/Director realm is clearly a case of an older Academy. As we learned last year, they ain't giving Oscars to 'Driving Miss Daisy' anymore.

So, I predict 'Get Out.' I just think it can make the best case to voters who might not necessarily pick it for Picture or Director to earn its vote here.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5179
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Categories One-by-One: Original Screenplay

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:00 pm

The nominees are:

The Big Sick by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
Get Out by Jordan Peele
Lady Bird by Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh

Since the WGA handed out their awards tonight, I thought it was a good time to post about another contentious category.

First off, I think we can safely eliminate The Big Sick. Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani should be happy with their nomination and their invitation to the party. The Shape of Water is a strong Best Picture nominee with 13 nominations and BFCA and PGA wins but I think even IF they sweep, Screenplay will not be one of those categories since it's more thought of as a directing achievement rather than a writing one.

The remaining three however could find themselves in the winner's envelope. Greta Gerwig is one of only five women to be nominated for Best Director and two of those women took home Original Screenplay Oscars as consolation prizes. Lady Bird has a lot of fans and there could be a push for Gerwig to take home SOMETHING but her loss at the WGA tonight makes it seem less likely by the day. Martin McDonagh's omission at the Best Director category is a sign of weakness for Three Billboards. However, this might inspire its fans to push harder for him to take home a prize with a writing award. McDonagh was ineligible at the WGA and in that race, Jordan Peele just won tonight. Like Gerwig and McDonagh, Get Out and Peele has a lot of fans and admirers who will push for Peele to take home an Oscar. But how strong is he? McDonagh won the Screenplay Globe but Peele wasn't nominated there. Peele won WGA but McDonagh was ineligible. The only "big" race Peele won over McDonagh is the BFCA. McDonagh could easily win the BAFTA since he's a hometown boy and Three Billboards seems stronger there overall.

Right now, I say Get Out by a hair, assuming McDonagh wins the Original Screenplay BAFTA. Peele by a more comfortable margin if he manages to beat McDonagh there. But if anyone else wins BAFTA, the opening of the envelope could be another nailbiter.


Return to “90th Nominations and Winners”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests