Like Adapted Screenplay, things are verrry quiet on the Original Screenplay front. So quiet I haven’t made any changes. That’s odd, right? It’s a pretty competitive category (unlike adapted, where once you get past that top five the bottom kinda drops out) but the titles already in frontrunner status have largely only solidified their placement now that the fall festivals have all but wrapped up.
Netflix’s Mank still feels far out in front. The streamer’s other top contender, The Trial of the Chicago 7, is the kind of talky courtroom drama this category is made for. Disney/Pixar’s Soul will easily become the first animated film to be nominated here since 2015’s Inside Out. A24’s sublime immigrant drama Minari will speak to new, formally disenfranchised voters. Never Rarely Sometimes Always, from Focus Features, is probably the only question mark here. Will its super early release hurt it in this extended season?
I don’t think we’re going to have a year without a female screenwriter represented here but we’ll also have Rahda Blank (The Forty-Year Old Version), Kitty Green (The Assistant), Julia Hart (I’m Your Woman), Miranda July (Kajillionaire), Academy Award winners Sofia Coppola (On the Rocks) and Callie Khouri (Respect, with Tracey Scott Wilson), Kata Wéber (Pieces of a Woman) and maybe the best other chance here, Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman). But, there isn’t just ‘one’ slot available open for a female writer here, there are five. Voters would do well to remember that.
Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Original Screenplay for October.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – new entry this month
1. Mank (Netflix)
2. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
3. Soul (Pixar)
Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers
4. Minari (A24)
Lee Isaac Chung
5. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
Other Contenders (alphabetical)
The Assistant (Bleecker Street)
Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
The Forty-Year-Old Version (Netflix)
I’m Your Woman (Amazon Studios)
Julia Hart, Jordan Horowitz
Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)
Will Berson and Shaka King (screenplay), Keith Lucas and Kenny Lucas (story by)
Kajillionaire (Focus Features)
Miss Juneteenth (Vertical Entertainment)
Channing Godfrey Peoples
On the Rocks (A24/Apple TV+)
Palm Springs (Hulu/Neon)
Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)
Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
Tracey Scott Wilson (screenplay and story by), Callie Khouri (story by)
Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
Abraham Marder, Darius Marder (screenplay), Derek Cianfrance (story by)