Oscar Handicap 2013: The Screenplays

Our annual Oscar Handicap series continues with a look at the writing categories.

(For explanations as to how our scoring system works, make sure to read our first article in the series, Best Picture of the Year, linked at the bottom of this article.)

As a writer myself, I admire the hard work and dedication it takes to create a story that can crawl above the din of the seemingly millions of screenplays floating about. While many will say coming up with an original story is the tougher job, I believe it is the adaptation that is trickier. You have to find the balance between what to keep and what to cut, pleasing the author (if they are still alive) and/or the fans of the work. Everything really does begin with the written word. This is where it all begins, and any director who says a screenplay is just a blueprint is just an egotistical jackhole who needs to go back to making music videos and Planters commercials.

Best Original Screenplay

The Breakdowns

1) Best Original Screenplays have won for a film with at least one acting nomination 32 of the past 34 ceremonies (94.12%). Advantage: Amour, Django Unchained, Flight, Zero Dark Thirty

2) A film also nominated for Best Director has won for Best Original Screenplay 28 of 34 (82.35%). Advantage: Amour

3) A film also nominated for Best Picture has won here 28 of 34 (82.35%). Advantage: Amour, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty

4) A BAFTA nominee for Best Screenplay hsa won 28 of 34 (82.35%). Advantage: Amour, Django Unchained, Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty

5) As long as you’re not the one who wrote the lowest grossing nominee at the time of the announcements, you’ve won 28 of 34 (82.35%). Advantage: Django Unchained, Flight, Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty

6) Films written by first-time nominees have won 27 of 34 (79.41%). Advantage: Amour, Flight, Moonrise Kingdom (Coppola)

7) Nominees for the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay have won here 25 of 34 (73.53%). Advantage: Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty

8) Screenplays with only one credited writer have won 25 of 34 (73.53%). Advantage: Amour, Django Unchained, Flight, Zero Dark Thirty

9) Dramas have won Best Original Screenplay 24 of 34 (70.59%). Advantage: Amour, Django Unchained, Flight, Zero Dark Thirty

10) Original Screenplays set mainly in the United States have won 24 of 34 (70.59%). Advantage: Django Unchained, Flight, Moonrise Kingdom

11) Best Original Screenplay winners have had stories based in the past twenty years 23 of 34 (67.65%). Advantage: Amour, Flight, Zero Dark Thirty

12) The winner of the WGA Award for Original Screenplay has gone on to win the Oscar 21 of 34 (61.76%). Advantage: Zero Dark Thirty

Bonus)If your screenplay is your film’s only chance of winning an award this evening, forget about it. Sorry, Wes Anderson. (0%)

By The Numbers

Boal’s the numbers front runner, but watch for a spoiler from older voters wanting to honor Haneke’s elegiac look at the end of a great love story

Michael Haneke, “Amour”: +1, +2, +3, +4, -5, +6, -7, +8, +9, -10, +11, -12 (253 of 408, 62.01%)

Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”: +1, -2, +3, +4, +5, -6, +7, +8, +9, +10, -11, -12 (251 of 408, 61.52%)

John Gatins, “Flight”: +1, -2, -3, -4, +5, +6, -7, +8, +9, +10, +11, -12 (223 of 408, 54.66%)

Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom”: -1, -2, -3, +4, +5, +6, -7, -8, -9, +10, -11, -12 (173 of 408, 42.40%)

Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”: +1, -2, +3, +4, +5, -6, +7, +8, +9, -10, +11, +12 (257 of 408, 62.99%)

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Breakdowns

1) Films with at least one acting nomination have won 31 of 34 times (91.18%). Advantage: Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook

2) As long as you’re not the lowest grossing nominee at the time of the nominations, you’ve won 31 of 34 (91.18%). Advantage: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook

3) Winners here have come from movies with a Best Director nomination 28 of 34 times (82.35%). Advantage: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook

4) Nominees for the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay have won here 27 of 34 (79.41%). Advantage: Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook

5) Screenplays with only one credited writer have won 26 of 34 (76.47%). Advantage: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook

6) The winner of the Writers Guild award in this category has also won here 26 of 34 (76.47%). Advantage: Argo

7) First-time Oscar nominees have won in this category 23 of 34 (67.65%). Advantage: Argo (Terrio), Beasts of the Southern Wild (Alibar and Zeitlin), Life of Pi (Magee)

8) Nominees which take place outside of the past twenty years have won 22 of 34 (64.71%). Advantage: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln

By The Numbers

The “Argo” momentum should bring Chris Terrio one more statue for the mantle

Chris Terrio, “Argo”: +1, +2, -3, +4, +5, +6, +7, +8 (192 of 272, 70.59%)

Lucy Alibar and Behn Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”: +1, -2, +3, -4, -5, -6, +7, -8 (120 of 272, 44.12%)

David Magee, “Life of Pi”: -1, +2, -3, -4, +5, -6, +7, +8 (126 of 272, 46.32%)

Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”: +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, -6, -7, +8 (184 of 272, 67.65%)

David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”: +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, -6, -7, -8 (174 of 272, 63.97%)

All articles in this series:

Best Picture of the Year
Best Director
Best Actor and Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature

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