Best Original Screenplay has become another of the highly competitive categories in this year’s Oscar race. What makes this category difficult to predict, as it has been in numerous categories this year, is the precursor awards being split yet again. Added to the uncertainty is the five nominees are fan and critic favorites, three of them being heavily in competition with each other in this category. Dan Gilroy’s script for Nightcrawler has been unfairly overlooked due to the film’s numerous Oscar snubs, which has served as an indication that it lacks the popularity to gain a win. This is unfortunate considering that Nightcrawler was a film that hinged upon its cold and socially-isolated script, and without that script, Jake Gyllenhaal wouldn’t have been able to deliver perhaps his best performance since Brokeback Mountain. The other wild card in this category is E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman’s script for Foxcatcher, which provided a slow progression of tension throughout the film, while giving the various characters enough space to become fully developed. Most notable about their script is their portrayal of John Du Pont and writing him as an eccentric, multi-faceted character, instead of blatantly writing him as mentally unstable. Instead, their writing shows a slow descent into insanity that only a team of talented writers could achieve without sacrificing their creative integrity.
Taking away these two wild-card nominees, this leads into the three-way-race: Boyhood versus Birdman versus The Grand Budapest Hotel. If the Oscars decides to make this year’s ceremony a Boyhood sweep, it could easily take this win. However, there are two factors that make this win not seem likely: The first being that Boyhood has won none of the precursor awards, indicating this script may not be as strong in this respective category than many may think. This may be because of the second factor; that the script is disjointed and relied upon real-life events to occur in order to continue the storyline around the said event. To that capacity, the Academy has to decide whether a continually evolving, working script still has the same clout as a script that is finished upon the beginning of filming. The other possibility is if the Oscars do a Birdman sweep, which allow for it to grab the Original Screenplay win. In this possibility, Birdman is the most worthy of the nominees due to its writers essentially formulating a stage script that integrated film tropes into its plot structure. Its ability to weave together themes of legacy and mortality with commentary on ego, critics and actors is scriptwriting unlike anything that the Oscars have seen in a long time. With Birdman’s screenplay winning at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice awards, it places the film as a probable winner with the Oscars. Yet the Oscars have proven to have a tremendous love for Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which may sneak in a win around Birdman. Anderson’s script has won the BAFTA , and more recently, the WGA award for original screenplay. The WGA win typically would put The Grand Budapest Hotel in the number one slot to win at the Oscars, but considering Birdman wasn’t nominated for a WGA (Birdman was deemed illegible due to it not being made under the guild’s basic agreement), this isn’t a guaranteed win for the film. However, what may help The Grand Budapest Hotel’s Oscar chances is the general love for the film and its highly original screenplay. Therefore, it is possible the screenplay will win not because it is the best script of the year, but will be awarded for its originality and as an effort to finally award Wes Anderson, and his unique film repertoire, an Oscar win.
Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood, Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel; Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Could Win: Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo or Boyhood, Richard Linklater
Should Win: Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo