We’ve chatted about the acting categories already, so now let’s take a glance at the words those talented lads and ladies bring to life. Scripts! Screenplays!

When I did my guild write-up a few weeks back the WGA awards had not yet been announced, nor had the BAFTAs. So I before I get into my picks, let’s run some numbers on those particular accolades and see how well they’ve been working as predictors so far. 

WGA Awards

Best Original Screenplay

  • Since 2000 the WGA original screenplay has been correct at Oscar predictions 10/15 times.
  • Three of those five misses occurred in the last five years, with InceptionZero Dark Thirty, and The Grand Budapest Hotel winning over The Kings SpeechDjango Unchained, and Birdman
  • This year’s winner? Spotlight.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Since 2000 the WGA Adapted Screenplay award has correctly predicted the Oscar 11/15 times, so slightly better than the Original Category.
  • It has also been more accurate in recent years, mucking up only twice since 2005 with awards going to Up in the Air and Captain Phillips instead of Precious and 12 Years a Slave.
  • The Big Short won this years prize, which blows my mind because the writer (and director) is the same man who is probably better known for penning Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers. Love it.

BAFTA Awards

Best Original Screenplay

  • Since 2000 the BAFTAs have gone only 9/15 in picks.
  • Of those 6 misses, 3 have been within the last 4 years, with The ArtistAmerican Hustle, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, winning over Midnight in ParisHer, and Birdman.
  • Spotlight wins again at the BAFTAs, so maybe using them as a predictor this year isn’t a bad thing?

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Since 2000 the BAFTAs have lined up with the Oscars in this category only 6/15 times. Ouch!
  • In fact, they have chosen differently in 5 of the last 6 years. Should we even look at them to make our guesses?
  • Well… maybe. They picked The Big Short, which WGA also liked, so they might actually break their streak this year!

Alright, so now that is out of the way, what have we learned? Well… not much. Neither of those particular awards have been rock solid indicators for an Oscar pick in the past decade and a half. But this year? I’m actually feeling it.

So lets explore my picks –

Best Original Screenplay
Inside Out
Ex Machina
Straight Outta Compton
Bridge of Spies

This is a rough pick to make between SpotlightInside Out, and Ex Machina. While the other two nominees were good films, I don’t think the screenplays are strong enough to take on the weight of Spotlight or the sheer inventiveness of Inside Out or Ex Machina. I’m going to have to go with the WGA and BAFTA pick though. Spotlight is easily in my top 3 movies of the year, and the writing was straightforward, but incredibly powerful.

Will Win : Spotlight
Should Win : Spotlight
Possible Upset : Inside Out
Longest Shot : Bridge of Spies

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short
The Martian

The Martian was very nicely done, adaptation wise. They took a book about a man writing journals in space and made it just as funny and compelling. Brooklyn was a lovely film, but a long shot here. Carol was underwhelming, and though it’s getting some writers buzz elsewhere I just don’t see it. That leaves Room and The Big Short, and I’m going with Adam McKay  and his WGA and BAFTA wins here. He translated that book so well, and made a really compelling movie in the process. Sorry Room.

Will Win : The Big Short
Should Win : The Big Short
Possible Upset : Room
Longest Shot : Brooklyn