FINAL 2023 Oscar Predictions: ADAPTED SCREENPLAY and ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The screenplay categories at the Oscars often exist in two worlds; you’re either aligned with the Best Picture winner or be a screenplay that’s either undeniable or what it feels like it could be the #2 in Best Picture. Or some version of that. 2016’s Manchester by the Sea over La La Land or 2017’s Get Out over Best Picture winner The Shape of Water in Original Screenplay or 2009’s Precious over precursor champ Up in the Air in Adapted Screenplay.
This year is a fight in both categories between two screenplays. Sarah Polley’s Women Talking has been an early frontrunner here but the film faltered so much on the way to Oscar nominations and ultimately just wound up with Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. But it has held strong with screenplay wins from WGA, USC and Critics’ Choice and securing that SAG cast nomination has kept it at the top. But the late-breaking success of All Quiet on the Western Front has posed a serious threat, here and in other categories. It won BAFTA (where Women Talking was not nominated) but not at WGA (ineligible) and the last five Adapted Screenplay winners at BAFTA went on to win the Oscar. But a non-English language film has never won the Oscar here. Doesn’t mean it can’t or that one never will. Timing is always important and its trajectory has been a stellar one, but the first and only place the two films have gone head to head this season is here, now, at the Oscars. Both are exciting and expansive adaptations of their source material and great examples of this category. It’ll be a nail-biter that night.
Most of this season, before precursors really kicked in, The Fabelmans and The Banshees of Inisherin felt like prime Original Screenplay winners. Banshees kicked off Venice with a screenplay win. The Fabelmans came into TIFF a few weeks later and went out with the People’s Choice Award, an award which has consistently ensured at least one above the line Oscar for previous winners over the last decade. But neither knew of the juggernaut that Everything Everywhere All At Once was going to become. As the race is now between Banshees and EEAAO, we could be seeing Martin McDonagh losing here like he did with Three Billboards to the cooler movie, the cooler screenplay.
There are always precedents to consider, but how much weight we give them is also balanced with what the current climate of this year brings. Braveheart (1995) is the only film to win Best Picture, Director, and WGA, then lose the Oscar for screenplay (original, to The Usual Suspects). The English Patient is the only film to win Best Picture, Director, and multiple screenplay precursors (BAFTA, CCA), then lose the Oscar for screenplay (adapted, to Sling Blade in quite an upset), the very next year.
Here are my final 2023 Oscar winner predictions for Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay.
|1. Women Talking (UAR/Orion) – CCA, GG, USC, WGA|
Screenplay by Sarah Polley
|2. All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) – BAFTA|
Screenplay by Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell
|3. Living (Sony Pictures Classics) – BAFTA, CCA, USC|
Written by Kazuo Ishiguro
|4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix) – CCA, WGA|
Written by Rian Johnson
|5. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures) – WGA|
Screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks
|1. Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24) – BAFTA, CCA, GG, WGA|
Written by Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
|2. The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures) – BAFTA, CCA, GG|
Written by Martin McDonagh
|3. TÁR (Focus Features) – BAFTA, CCA, GG, WGA|
Written by Todd Field
|4. The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures) – BAFTA, CCA, GG, WGA|
Written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner
|5. Triangle of Sadness (NEON) – BAFTA|
Written by Ruben Östlund