Updated 2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay

Excerpt from John Ridley's screenplay for 12 Years a Slave
Excerpt from John Ridley's screenplay for 12 Years a Slave
Photo: Fox Searchlight

And now we reach the screenplays, two categories that have yet to really sort themselves out yet. If I had my picks I'd be propping up the likes of Spike Jonze's screenplay for Her, Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack Dallas Buyers Club and J.C. Chandor's All is Lost along with a selection of predicted nominees below such as Inside Llewyn Davis, Before Midnight and August: Osage County.

Of course, I don't nominate these things and my taste doesn't much matter. However, I'm still just spit-balling with these two categories so for now this is the best I can offer. Though if you're inclined to read a selection of more than 20 of the Oscar contending screenplays competing this year just click here and take your pick.

As for these two categories, I've detailed my opinion below along with links to browse my complete, ranked field of contenders plus a couple download links where applicable.

Also, be sure to stay up-to-date with my Awards Calendar as the Los Angeles Film Critics will hand out their awards this Sunday, December 8 and next week on December 11 and 12 we'll have the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations.

Adapted Screenplay

This is such a weird category to me, but that's probably only because so many of this year's top contenders come from original products as three of the Best Picture contenders are likely to find a nomination here while the likes of Before Midnight and August: Osage County round out the nominees. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope's Philomena screenplay definitely stands a chance, but at this time I don't see much of a race.

  1. John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) [Download the Screenplay]
  2. Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street)
  3. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight) [Download the Screenplay]
  4. Billy Ray (Captain Phillips)
  5. Tracy Letts (August: Osage County)

Find my complete, ranked list of 13 contenders right here.

Original Screenplay

The Original Screenplay category is decidedly more difficult than Adapted as the race is sure to sort itself out a little as more and more precursor awards sort of help form something of a guiding consensus, but for now it seems to me American Hustle is going to have a tough go of it as it certainly isn't the #1 screenplay out there. I think more and more love will be found for the Coens' Inside Llewyn Davis script and it just seems to me Nebraska is going to continue to rise.

The toughest one to edge out of the top five was Alfonso and Jonás Cuarón's Gravity screenplay, which I will likely move back into the top five in a couple weeks and, at the same time, move American Hustle out completely, but that win with the New York critics keeps Hustle hanging on... for now.

  1. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis)
  2. Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
  3. Sue Smith and Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks)
  4. Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)
  5. Eric Singer and David O. Russell (American Hustle)

Find my complete, ranked list of 20 contenders right here.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jack/ Jack Tyler

    1. American Hustle
    2. Her
    3. Nebraska
    4. Inside Llewyn Davis
    5. Blue Jasmine

    1. The Wolf of Wall Street
    2. 12 Years a Slave
    3. August: Osage County
    4. Before Midnight
    5. Captain Phillips

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    I feel like adapted is probably between 12 Years a Slave and August Osage County, while original is completely wide open. Gravity certainly doesn't deserve a nomination, but it's worth noting that Avatar didn't receive one and was still a major player.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    I think The Wolf of Wall Street might be the dark horse this season.

  • Justin Golding

    I feel like Gravity is going to be like Titanic and Avatar; it's going to have nine or ten nominations but no screenplay nom.

  • http://cineenuruguay.com/ Driver

    I don't want to sound dumb, cause I love the Before trilogy, but why is Before Midnight an adapted screenplay?

    • Zhash Johnson

      Before Midnight is "adapted" from Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Keep in mind that Before Sunset and Toy Story 3 were actually nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Sequels are not original ideas.

      • http://cineenuruguay.com/ Driver

        Makes sense. I guess there haven't a lot of sequels nominated for their screenplays, for me to realize what was going on. Thanks for the info.

  • PJ Edwards

    Gravity has no chance in screenplay. At all. Bookmark this comment.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

    The link at the bottom takes us back to this page, not the Original Screenplay rankings.

  • http://www.cinemaconfessions.com/ Gautam Anand

    Her is placed @ 9. What ??

    I feel it's among the strongest contender to win the prize, now that we know American Hustle won't be the player we all expected it to be. My guess is if her manages to score Best Picture nomination over Blue Jasmine and Inside Llewyn Davis [it's strongest competitors], it will win Best Original Screenplay. After, NBR win, and many more critics prizes coming its way, I think Her is destined to be nominated. And as I said, if it cracks Best Picture list it will win the category.

    Brad, I know why you are little hesitant even though you love the film. Because you feel it's too cool a film to play well among older Academy members. But don't forget the same Academy members awarded Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with Best Original Screenplay. That film was again a sci-fi romance. And even though we give too much stress into the fact that majority of Oscar voters are over 60, we conveniently forget that there are still 25-30% younger voters who can change the tide in favor of a film if they all get behind it.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/juanperezcarlos/ Carlos

    I do think Her holds a good chance at original. And if we give the Academy a little more credit, a Best Picture nod isn't an outrageous bet.