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Here are our 2017 Oscars predictions for the Adapted and Original Screenplays… by John Sullivan

The Oscars buzz is growing… are you ready? Me too! Got your invitation to the ceremony? No, me neither… It’s OK, though, we can still have a bit of fun predicting who will take home one of those little golden men. Best Picture seems obvious, though. And we can probably guess Best Actors. Screenplays? Hey, that’s our thing! So, place your bets for this Sunday, here’s my predictions for which scripts will end up winning…

In the Original Screenplay category we have 20TH CENTURY WOMAN, HELL OR HIGH WATER, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, and THE LOBSTER. This seems to be a competition between two films, taking nothing away from the other three, though. LA LA LAND and MANCHESTER BY THE SEA are the runaway favorites here.

MANCHESTER is a script that defies convention and proves that we are ready to accept scripts and films that don’t adhere to conventional storytelling tropes. The flashbacks to Lee Chandler’s (Casey Affleck’s) past can be confusing, but that is partly the point. This is a man struggling to live in the present because of his past. The film shows the authentic-looking life of a man at the bottom of the barrel – Lee is at rock bottom, and he doesn’t try, or seem to want to, get up. There is no uplifting Hollywood story arc at play here, it’s much more honest – even if that alienates many mainstream cinemagoers. It is Lee’s “failure” that audiences can empathize with – he feels real, this story feels more authentic. The critical acclaim shows that a lot of movie commentators have been crying out for a film that deals with real issues in a real way and doesn’t fall into the usual uplifting, all-wrapped-up story structures. Our Director of World Wide Development Ian Kennedy suspects this is a “movie critics’ movie” more than a “movie audiences’ movie”. Which may give it the edge with the Academy…

MANCHESTER’S main competition is LA LA LAND. A wonderful film that will no doubt clean up at the awards in Cinematography, Original Score and even Best Director. Original Screenplay seems one too far, though. The plot is considered the weakest part of LA LA, but it is far from weak. The story of Mia and Seb is a conventional romance, apart from deviating from predictable “happily ever after” endings. It is a story the film tells beautifully, though. What the script does do well is show the choreography in the big dance numbers, particularly towards the start of the script. This is something taken for granted in scripts – showing actors how they should act. You can also never underestimate how much Hollywood loves films about Hollywood.

Original Screenplay Prediction: MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. The winner of the BAFTAs seems a strong choice, but don’t be surprised if LA LA takes it…

Adapted Screenplay is a much tougher pick. The 5 nominees are ARRIVAL, FENCES, HIDDEN FIGURES, LION, and MOONLIGHT. The BAFTAs opted for LION, but those award exist to recognize British films and actors in particular (Dev Patel won Best Supporting Actor, quite unexpectedly). Despite its clever reliance on a 5-year old protagonist, It’s less likely that LION will win here. My favorite, ARRIVAL, is based on a short-story by Ted Chiang. The script nicely enhances and expands on the novella. The film plays with the notion of language nicely and uses time travel (if it can be called that) uniquely. It’s confusing, yet intricate and generally an enjoyable film to watch.

Adapted Screenplay Prediction: ARRIVAL. A tough decision, but my money is on this mystery sci-fi.

We’re looking forward to seeing how these 2017 Oscars predictions pan out this Sunday. We can help make your script the next Oscar-nominated script. Enter our Spring 2017 Screenwriting Competition and be in the chance of winning guaranteed pitching to the top of the film industry. CLICK HERE to enter before 14th May.


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