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2019 Oscar Predictions: ADAPTED and ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (December)

Both of the screenplay categories broke from Best Picture last year when Call Me By Your Name and Get Out, the overwhelming critical favorites, bested The Shape of Water to win their respective Adapted and Original categories. Even since the expansion of the Best Picture category in 2009, the connection between BP and its screenplay has been strong. Winners like Spotlight, Moonlight and Birdman won just 2, 3 and 4 Oscars but screenplay was a part of that tally for each of them. Will this year see that bond hold or will we see another split?

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announces their nominations on January 7, 2019 but with so many ineligible screenplays it doesn’t usually help us with predictions here. It does show us potential outliers and upsets sometimes, but rarely.

Adapted Screenplay has a clear top 3 in BlacKkKlansman, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and If Beale Street Could Talk. Each have won their share of critics’ prizes but none so overwhelming that it makes it easy to peg. CYEFM has a slight edge on the other two yet it’s the least likely to earn a Best Picture nomination of the three. Beale Street comes from Barry Jenkins, who just won this category two years ago. Spike Lee, as a co-writer on BlacKkKlansman, has a chance to win his first competitive Oscar. At the moment, BlacKkKlansman is a stronger player overall, despite missing a Golden Globe screenplay nomination, and it moves back up to the #1 spot where it was nearly all of last Spring and Summer.

Leave No Trace finds a spot in the top 5, which feels risky. The film from Debra Granik, which is my #2 of 2018, is finding a bit of footing with critics’ lists and this might be the path to her first Oscar nomination.

Here are my 2019 Oscar Predictions in Adapted Screenplay for December 21, 2018.

Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – chart debut/return

1. BlacKkKlansman (BFCA)
2. If Beale Street Could Talk (BFCA, GG)
3. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (BFCA, Spirit)
4. Black Panther (BFCA)
5. Leave No Trace

6. A Star Is Born (BFCA)
7. First Man (BFCA)
8. Boy Erased
9. Beautiful Boy
10. Crazy Rich Asians

OTHER CONTENDERS

Colette (Spirit)
Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Queen of Scots
Widows

Original Screenplay is juicy this year. Two major Oscar contenders in The Favourite and ROMA, a possible first-ever nomination for Paul Schrader with First Reformed, a first screenplay from Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade), who’s earned the most Debut Director critics’ wins and two divisive films that could either way in Vice and Green Book.

At the moment, The Favourite has 8 critics’ wins to First Reformed‘s seven and just like Adapted Screenplay, there is no clear, well, favorite. The Favourite has the dialogue that the Academy will go for while Schrader’s 40+ year career that includes Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, make him a hard to pass up for an overdue nomination and possible win.

Eighth Grade has done a great job this critics’ season and finds a place in the top this month.

Vice and Green Book, both potential Best Picture nominees, have found themselves as the two most divisive contenders of the season. For Green Book, the double backlash of the film’s point of view and Doc Shirley’s family condemnation of the film could find it outside by the writer’s branch. For Vice, despite coming from Oscar winner Adam McKay (The Big Short), the film’s reviews have been as wide on the spectrum as possible with The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy naming it ‘the best film of the year‘ to yours truly calling it ‘the worst film of the year.’ That won’t win you an Oscar; it might even hamper your chance at a nomination.

Here are my 2019 Oscar predictions in Original Screenplay for December 21, 2018.

Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – chart debut/return

1. The Favourite (BFCA, GG)
2. First Reformed (BFCA, Spirit)
3. ROMA (BFCA, GG)
4. Vice (BFCA, GG)
5. Eighth Grade (BFCA)

6. Green Book (BFCA, GG)
7. Sorry to Bother You (Spirit)
8. Private Life (Spirit)
9. A Quiet Place (BFCA)
10. Destroyer

OTHER CONTENDERS

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Capharnaüm
Cold War
Blindspotting

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2019 Oscar Predictions: PRODUCTION DESIGN and COSTUME DESIGN (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: SOUND EDITING and SOUND MIXING (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: ANIMATED FEATURE, DOCUMENTARY FEATURE and FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM (December)

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About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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