2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay

Best Original Screenplay is certainly the stronger of the two writing categories.

Three are essentially guarantees. Both Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Jordan Peele’s Get Out are nearly universally beloved, and both films work precisely because of their strong scripts. They’re both WGA nominees too.

The third looks to be Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. The backlash against the film may be an issue, but it likely won’t affect nominations, especially in this category. And him missing from the WGA nominations isn’t an issue because he wasn’t eligible.

The fourth looks to be Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. We think it’s the fourth, and not higher, because the film has received some backlash, specifically pointing out weaknesses in its writing. But the writing also is the highlight of nearly everyone else’s experience, and making dark comedy work comes down to writing.

Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani’s The Big Sick has been lauded for reinvigorating the romantic comedy in unimaginable ways. The film is one of the most widely beloved of the entire year, and will only compete in one other category, meaning that a nomination here could be in order, especially after that WGA nomination.

The Shape of Water seems like the way to go. The film is elegant, a PGA winner and a WGA nominee.

But we’re going to give that fifth spot to I, Tonya. The film has gained an overwhelming amount of momentum over the past month and screenplay is one of its strongest categories.

But there are still some other contenders. The Shape of Water certainly shouldn’t be counted out, despite us not predicting it, so look for it to swap with either The Big Sick or I, Tonya.

Steven Spielberg’s The Post could easily propel writers Liz Hannah and Josh Singer to a nomination. The film is not subtle, which could be an issue, but if any film were to be on the nose, it would be one about freedom of the press. And with everything around it, and the fact that Josh Singer, who won this award two years ago for co-writing Spotlight, is a co-writer here, this script seems very easy to nominate.

Paul Thomas Anderson has a good shot for Phantom Thread. Even if his films have not been nominated for Best Picture too often, and even though he’s only been nominated for Best Director once, Anderson has an easier time in the screenplay category — his initially divisive Inherent Vice even got an Adapted nod. And since Phantom Thread is far better received than that film, a nomination here wouldn’t be shocking.

Finally, The Florida Project has been overlooked in many categories. It’s subtly strong and could sneak up on us here, though.

The 5
Jordan Peele — Get Out
Greta Gerwig — Lady Bird
Martin McDonagh — Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani — The Big Sick
Steven Rogers — I, Tonya

Could contend
Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor — The Shape of Water
Liz Hannah, Josh Singer — 
The Post

Paul Thomas Anderson — Phantom Thread
Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch — The Florida Project


Featured image via A24.

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