Oscar Handicap 2018: The Screenplays

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

As a writer, 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 nothing more than an egotistical jackhole who needs to go back to making vapid music videos and GoDaddy commercials.

Best Original Screenplay

The Breakdowns

1) Best Original Screenplays have won for a film with at least one acting nomination 36 of the past 39 ceremonies (92.3%). Advantage: Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

2) As long as you’re not the one who wrote the lowest grossing nominee at the time of the announcements, you’ve won 34 of 39 (87.2%). Advantage: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

3) A film also nominated for Best Picture has won here 33 of 39 (84.6%). Advantage: Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

4) A BAFTA nominee for Best Screenplay has won 32 of 39 (82.1%). Advantage: Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

5) A film also nominated for Best Director has won for Best Original Screenplay 31 of 39 (79.5%). Advantage: Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water

6) Films written by first-time nominees have won 30 of 39 (76.9%). Advantage: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water (Vanessa Taylor)

7) Nominees for the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay have won here 30 of 39 (76.9%). Advantage: Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

8) Dramas have won Best Original Screenplay 30 of 39 (76.9%). Advantage: Get Out, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

9) Movies predominantly set in the United States have won 28 of 39 (71.8%) Advantage: all films nominated

10) Screenplays with only one credited writing nominee have won 28 of 39 (71.8%). Advantage: Get Out, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

11) Best Original Screenplay winners have had stories based in the past twenty years 27 of 39 (69.2%). Advantage: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

12) The winner of the WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay also wins here 24 of 39 times (61.5%). Advantage: Get Out

13) The winner of the Critics Choice Award for Best Original Screenplay also wins here 13 of the 22 years the Broadcast Film Critics Association has been handing out awards (59.1%). Advantage: Get Out

Bonus) If you are your film’s only chance of winning an award, fuggetaboutit! 0 for 24 in the years where there was an Original Screenplay nominee that fell in to this ignoble stat. Sorry, The Big Sick

By The Numbers

The meteoric cinematic rise of Jordan Peele should be capped this weekend with an Academy Award.

The Big Sick (Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani): -1, +2, -3, -4, -5, +6, -7, -8, +9, -10, +11, -12, -13 (196 of 553, 35.44%)
Get Out (Jordan Peele): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7, -8, +9, +10, +11, +12, +13 (355 of 553, 64.20%)
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, -7, +8, +9, +10, +11, -12, -13 (346 of 553, 62.57%)
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor): +1, -2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7, +8, +9, -10, -11, -12, -13 (302 of 553, 54.61%)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh): +1, +2, +3, +4, -5, -6, +7, +8, +9, -10, +11, -12, -13 (302 of 553, 54.61%)

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Breakdowns

1) Best Adapted Screenplay nominees also up for Best Picture has won here 37 of the past 39 ceremonies (94.9%). Advantage: Call Me By Your Name

2) Films with at least one acting nomination have won 36 of 39 times (92.3%). Advantage: Call Me By Your Name, Mudbound

3) As long as you’re not the lowest grossing nominee at the time of the nominations, you’ve won 34 of 39 (87.2%). Advantage: Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game

4) Nominees for the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay have won here 32 of 39 (82.1%). Advantage: Molly’s Game

5) A BAFTA nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay has won here 32 of 39 (82.1%). Advantage: Call Me By Your Name, Molly’s Game

6) Winners here have come from movies with a Best Director nomination 32 of 39 (82.1%). Advantage: none of these nominees

7) Screenplays with only one credited writing nominee have won 29 of 39 (74.4%). Advantage: Call Me By Your Name, Molly’s Game

8) Nominees of the Writers Guild award in this category has also won here 29 of 39 (74.4%). Advantage: All nominees in this category

9) A first-time Oscar nominee has won in this category 28 of 39 (71.8%). Advantage:

10) Nominees for the USC Scripter Award has won in this category 19 of the 30 years the preeminent university has been handing out their awards (63.3%). Advantage: All nominees in this category

11) Nominees which take place outside of the past twenty years have won 23 of 39 (59.0%). Advantage: Call Me By Your Name, Mudbound

If you are your film’s only chance of winning an award, fuggetaboutit! 0 for 24 in the years where there was an Adapted Screenplay nominee that fell in to this ignoble stat. Sorry, The Disaster Artist, Logan and Molly’s Game

By The Numbers

James Ivory (the second oldest Oscar nominee ever, eight days younger than current Best Documentary nominee Agnès Varda) was nominated for Best Director three times between 1985 and 1993, but will likely finally win his first Oscar for his first nominated screenplay.

Call Me by Your Name (James Ivory): +1, +2, +3, -4, +5, -6, +7, +8, -9, +10, +11 (257 of 455, 56.48%)
The Disaster Artist (Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber): -1, -2, +3, -4, -5, -6, -7, +8, +9, +10, -11 (162 of 455, 35.60%)
Logan (Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green): -1, -2, +3, -4, -5, -6, -7, +8, +9, +10, -11 (162 of 455, 35.60%)
Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin): -1, -2, +3, +4, +5, -6, +7, +8, -9, +10, -11 (219 of 455, 48.13%)
Mudbound (Virgil Williams and Dee Rees): -1, +2, -3, -4, -5, -6, -7, +8, +9, +10, +11 (164 of 455, 36.04%)

Thank you for taking the time to check us out.

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
Best Production Design
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Editing
Best Costume Design
Best Score
Best Sound Effects and Best Sound Mixing
Best Documentary Feature
Best Visual Effects

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