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Oscar Handicap 2014: The Screenplays

By EdwardHavens

March 1st, 2014

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

Oscar Handicap 2014: The Screenplays

(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, 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 Planters commercials.


Best Original Screenplay

The Breakdowns
1) Best Original Screenplays have won for a film with at least one acting nomination 33 of the past 35 ceremonies (94.29%). Advantage: American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska
2) A BAFTA nominee for Best Screenplay has won 29 of 35 (82.86%). Advantage: American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Nebraska
3) As long as you're not the one who wrote the lowest grossing nominee at the time of the announcements, you've won 29 of 35 (82.86%). Advantage: American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Her
4) A film also nominated for Best Picture has won here 29 of 35 (82.86%). Advantage: American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska
5) A film also nominated for Best Director has won for Best Original Screenplay 28 of 35 (82.35%). Advantage: American Hustle, Nebraska
6) Films written by first-time nominees have won 27 of 35 (77.14%). Advantage: American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska
7) Nominees for the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay have won here 26 of 35 (74.29%). Advantage: American Hustle, Her, Nebraska
8) Screenplays with only one credited writer have won 26 of 35 (74.29%). Advantage: Blue Jasmine, Her, Nebraska
9) Dramas have won Best Original Screenplay 25 of 35 (71.43%). Advantage: Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club
10) Best Original Screenplay winners have had stories based in the past twenty years 23 of 35 (65.71%). Advantage: Blue Jasmine, Nebraska
11) The winner of the WGA Award for Original Screenplay has gone on to win the Oscar 21 of 35 (60%). Advantage: Her

By The Numbers
Odds are, an Alexander Payne movie will win its third consecutive award for Best Screenplay, albeit for the first time in the Original category
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, "American Hustle": +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7, -8, -9, -10, -11 (246 of 385, 63.90%)
Woody Allen, "Blue Jasmine": +1, +2, +3, -4, -5, -6, -7, +8, +9, +10, -11 (209 of 385, 54.29%)
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack, "Dallas Buyers Club": +1, -2, +3, +4, -5, +6, -7, -8, +9, -10, -11 (200 of 385, 51.95%)
Spike Jonze, "Her": -1, -2, +3, +4, -5, -6, +7, +8, -9, -10, +11 (176 of 385, 45.71%)
Bob Nelson, "Nebraska": +1, +2, -3, +4, +5, +6, +7, +8, -9, +10, -11 (251 of 385, 65.19%)


Best Adapted Screenplay

The Breakdowns
1) Best Adapted Screenplay nominees also up for Best Picture has won here 33 of the past 35 ceremonies (94.29%). Advantage: Captain Phillips, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street
2) Films with at least one acting nomination have won 32 of 35 times (91.43%). Advantage: Captain Phillips, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street
3) As long as you're not the lowest grossing nominee at the time of the nominations, you've won 32 of 35 (91.43%). Advantage: Captain Phillips, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street
4) Winners here have come from movies with a Best Director nomination 28 of 34 times (82.35%). Advantage: 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street
5) Nominees for the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay have won here 28 of 35 (80%). Advantage: Philomena, 12 Years a Slave
6) A BAFTA nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay has won 28 of 35 (80%). Advantage: Captain Phillips, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street
7) Screenplays with only one credited writer have won 27 of 35 (77.14%). Advantage: Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street
8) The winner of the Writers Guild award in this category has also won here 27 of 35 (77.14%). Advantage: Captain Phillips
9) First-time Oscar nominees have won in this category 24 of 35 (68.57%). Advantage: Captain Phillips, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street
10) Nominees which take place outside of the past twenty years have won 23 of 35 (65.71%). Advantage: 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street
Bonus) If you are the only chance for your film winning an Oscar, fuggetaboutit! Sorry, Before Midnight

By The Numbers
Despite its Writers Guild win, the Somali hijacking drama will likely not prevail against the powerful retelling of a free man's bondage in to slavery
Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke, "Before Midnight": -1, -2, -3, -4, -5, -6, -7, -8, -9, -10 (68 of 350, 19.43%)
Billy Ray, "Captain Phillips": +1, +2, +3, -4, -5, +6, +7, +8, +9, -10 (229 of 350, 65.43%)
Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope, "Philomena": +1, +2, +3, -4, +5, +6, -7, -8, +9, -10 (242 of 350, 69.14%)
John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave": +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7, -8, +9, +10 (263 of 350, 75.14%)
Terence Winter, "The Wolf of Wall Street": +1, +2, +3, +4, -5, +6, +7, -8, +9, +10 (242 of 350, 69.14%)


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