As we’ve done in years past, we’re celebrating the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards with a series of 2021 Oscar Predictions that may help you win your Oscar pool. In this entry, we’re writing about who should win and who will win in the writing categories…
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Academy seems determined to award Sacha Baron Cohen this year. He could take the Best Supporting Actor award for The Trial of the Chicago 7, but if they rightfully deny him there, could they pat his back with a win here? Nah. The nominations alone are a validation. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s appearance amongst the rest is deserving. The film is a devilish and irresistible delight that cuts into America in all the right places, during the right time in the right year.
Nomadland radiates with an Oscar sheen. While its script springs from Jessica Bruder’s book, Chloé Zhao radically transformed the concept, keeping the allure of non-fiction while embracing an impactful, yet truthful fiction. The writer/director bent its concept to work for her and Frances McDormand, crafting a narrative as painfully relevant to the current social and political landscape as – yes – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
If anyone should steal Zhao’s award from her, it should be Florian Zeller for his exceptional adaptation of his own stage play. The Father maintains its powerful tunneling into a deteriorating mind while updating its stagebound locations with the most profoundly cinematic methods. Kemp Powers’ One Night in Miami faced similar challenges and succeeded in a few key scenes, but one could still imagine its narrative as a play, whereas The Father seems permanently altered to be told exclusively as a film. (Brad Gullickson)
Who Should Win: Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, The Father
Who Will Win: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Best Original Screenplay
The Best Original Screenplay category is a bloody cage match. It’s hard to pick a favorite, as all are enjoyable in some form or another. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is the most traditional Oscar contestant, and it’s hard to imagine the Academy resisting its big, showy courtroom appeal. Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue rips as usual and provides certain actors a platform to peacock strut. At the same time, there are historical elements that seem sorely lacking. Bobby Seale’s story is woefully underserved and scars the script tremendously.
If the Academy can resist the Sorkin catnip, Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman demands recognition. The film propels rapidly through a series of tones, a balancing act that is utterly dizzying to observe. Fennell pulls you through multiple genres, offering a good time until she delivers a catastrophic climax that I’m still grappling with after multiple viewings. Promising Young Woman’s screenplay leaves its mark, where Trial of the Chicago 7 is admirable and stogy with expected beats but feels disposable. (Brad Gullickson)
Who Should Win: Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
Who Will Win: Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7
To read our breakdowns and analysis of every one of this year’s categories, follow the links below: