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by Peter Knegt
February 17, 2012 4:16 PM
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2012 Oscar Predictions: The Screenwriting Categories

Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris." Sony Pictures Classics.
The indieWIRE will provide regular updates of our predictions for the 84th Academy Award winners through February 26th, when the winners are announced.

There's actual suspense in both the screenwriting categories, with one pegging Woody Allen against likely best director Michel Hazanavicius, and the other finding the teams behind "The Descendants" and "Moneyball" fighting for the win. It could go either way in both regards, though Allen's script for "Midnight in Paris" and "The Descendants" team of Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne and Jim Rash are more favored. There's room for shockers in both regards though. The teams behind "Bridesmaids" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" could find sympathy votes for the Academy snubbing them in the best picture category in favor of undeserving fare like "War Horse" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (neither of which got screenplay nods).

Screenwriting predictions below. Check out all predictions in all the categories here.

Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees:
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
JC Chandor, Margin Call

Asghar Farhadi, A Separation
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumulo, Bridesmaids

The Predicted Winner: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
The Possible Spoiler: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Shoulda Been Here: Mike Mills, Beginners

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees:
George Clooney, Beau Willimon & Grant Heslov, The Ides of March
Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne & Jim Rash, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo
Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan, Tinker, Tailor Soldier Spy
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian & Stan Chervin, Moneyball

The Predicted Winner: Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne & Jim Rash, The Descendants
The Possible Spoiler: Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian & Stan Chervin, Moneyball
Shoulda Been Here: Pedro Almodovar, The Skin I Live In

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  • Paula | February 25, 2012 1:20 PMReply

    are you kidding that Beginners should have been there ? Watched it - very depressing a downer of a movie - would not recommend any aging person to watch it.... Acting was very good - but the story - seems more like a cathartic project for Mr Mills. I am so relieved it was not nominated.

  • Sarah | February 24, 2012 5:15 PMReply

    Kidding me? The Artist's screenplay?
    Interesting film and enjoyed it alot but couldn't watch it as a serious film...a little bit cheesy... when it finished I didn't think about it anymore, just finished! and didn't feel like watch it again. But I liked to watch "midnight in Paris" once more, really enjoyed it. After watching "A Separation" not only thought about it, I've already watched it three times.

  • Michael Davenport | February 26, 2012 6:33 PM

    when it comes to a silent movie, you'd be surprised how much writing is needed to make the movie! as for the artist, incredible movie!, it's one i'll watch more than 100 times this year, it's really refreshing to see a movie about the creation of 'talkies' and how it affected the silent movie business, maybe read a little about film history and watch it again with an open mind, you'll understand!

  • Chrille J | February 21, 2012 9:55 PMReply

    Next year,one film will probably get 3 noms;Best picture,costume design and sound-mixing...that´s how bizarre some of these noms are spread out. Well,if we ignore Maras purchase and Swintons snub and that feminism is getting rewarded through mediocracy...is that really what women want?

    The film has 6.9 to further make my point. You never saw Anchorman,Wedding crashers or 40-year old up for heavy Oscarnoms,equally well recieved,higher rating. Hmm,I wonder why...

    When men crap in sinks and throw up on eachother,it´s cliche,gross and immature.When ladies do it,it´s groundbreaking,bold and fresh...yes? The mere fact that it took so long for a film like Bridesmaids to come along is partly why its rewarded,hence the irony. If it´s not compensating or noms of guilt,I guess we can expect a new trend with noms for Tony Scotts cinematography,Mark Strongs Ridley Scott-villains or any other decent summerentertainment. Best ensemble?

    Didnt see fatty Galifianakis come close to a nom in the Hangover. Carells retarded weatherman in The anchorman was funnier then McCarthy....why single out her? Wiig was way better and with Albert Nobbs and The iron lady,its not like it was an abundance of for good leading female acting in great films. nThey have to reward it cause it can never be done the 1st time again....rediculous.

    The descendants is almost a given,with a slight chance for Tinker Tailor. Bafta,Online Film and San Francisco wins plus one dead co-writer gives it sympathy points.
    Allen is 99%,Bridemaids might spoil...The guard should´ve been there....AND Gleeson instead of Bechir.

  • Pedro | February 21, 2012 12:15 PMReply

    Midnight in Paris is by far the best Original Screenplay. I, however, don't agree that Moneyball or The Descendants are the best Adapted Screenplays. I loved The Ides of March

  • Kamran | February 12, 2012 2:19 PMReply

    All Iranians are waiting for the success of A Separation in the Oscar Award ceremony. It is the first time a film from the middle east stands at such a high position. The people are full of sense of praise and pride. The film success means much more to Iran than only a film award.

  • Matt | February 12, 2012 9:42 AMReply

    Margin Call should win for original...the descendants for adapted

  • Kamran | February 12, 2012 6:31 AMReply

    We all will see the selection of A Separation from Iran as the winner. This film really deserves the award.

  • Mehrdadiii | February 11, 2012 6:40 AMReply

    A Separation will surprise us all... am quite sure... ;)

  • Michael Davenport | February 10, 2012 10:42 AMReply

    I recently watched 'The Artist' and absolutely loved it! It's really refreshing to see a film go back to the roots of movie magic!

  • Patrick | January 31, 2012 11:38 AMReply

    these are the wrong nominees, these are original screenplay nominees.

  • Patrick | January 31, 2012 11:46 AM

    oops nvmd.

  • majid | January 30, 2012 4:55 AMReply

    As i told you before the nominations have been announced my first three predict was correct so my last prediction changes to:
    1.A SEPARATION 2.artist 3.midnight in paris 4. bridesmaids 5. margin call

  • joe | January 28, 2012 4:20 AMReply

    midnight in Paris

  • James H. | January 27, 2012 3:14 PMReply

    A separation!

  • s.m.s.h | January 27, 2012 7:36 AMReply

    a separation for sure

  • Mahyar Brad | January 26, 2012 5:44 PMReply

    My predict is:1.midnight in paris. 2. 50/50. 3.separation. 4.tree of life. 5.a bout eli(Asghar Farhadi)

  • Patrick | January 23, 2012 12:20 PMReply

    Glad to see a bit of love for Farhadi and "A Separation". As much as I enjoyed "The Artist", frm which I left grinning from ear to ear, the plot of the film is pretty straight-forward and predictable. It's the performance and production of the film that makes it a delight.

    Not so with "A Separation". The film unfolds with new facets to the story that shift how you think about the characters and their choices. Your sense of right and wrong is challenged along the way and you opinion of who is right moves throughout the story and even after you leave the theater. Brilliant film.

  • MAJID | January 22, 2012 6:13 AMReply

    my predict is 1.A SEPARATION 2.artist 3.midnight in paris 4.50/50 5. bridesmaids

  • imwatchinu | January 21, 2012 9:03 AMReply

    The Help, The Descendants and War Horse, for Best Adapted
    Best Original: Midnight in Paris, Beginners and Young Adult

  • David Eddington | January 19, 2012 1:42 AMReply

    Why doesn't Water for Elephants even get mentioned as a possibility for Best Adapted Screenplay? Surely it's the best cicus movie since The Greatest Show on Earth, and I though it was well adapted from a terrific novel.

  • Rick in MI | January 18, 2012 10:36 AMReply

    The Dececendants VS The Help? A good fight!

  • Rick in MI | January 18, 2012 10:34 AMReply

    Simple choice -- Woody Allen in a cake walk! "Midnight in Paris" was the most original film of the year, and one of my favorite 3 films of the year also. SEE IT if you haven't done so!!!

  • ali | January 17, 2012 6:20 AMReply

    just separation... golden globe winner ...golden and silver bear winner.. best original screenplay L.A FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION AND ....

  • Tina | January 21, 2012 7:40 AM

    We really hope for that to win ;) That's a huge honor for Iranians

  • Evan | January 16, 2012 5:13 PMReply

    Tate Taylor, ugh!!! He made his "friend" Nate Berkus (Oprah's style guy) one of the producers. But we all get it, they both play for the "same team".

  • Ike | January 16, 2012 1:26 PMReply

    It's too bad that "The Beaver" with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster wasn't more liked. It was the best movie of 2011, and had a fantastic script crafted perfectly to show the excellent contrasts between two of the characters (I won't give anything away, but I definitely recommend seeing it)

  • mayne | January 16, 2012 12:47 PMReply

    Since the Globes don't split the category, it's hard to say what a win means. But I'm beginning to think, Woody for Best Original, Payne for Adapted, and The Artist will still go on to win Best Picture. It'll be unconventional, but I'd bet on it.

  • Martin | January 12, 2012 6:02 AMReply

    "The Descendants", 100%
    "Moneyball", 100%
    "Hugo", 95%
    "The Help", 75%
    "War Horse", 60%

    "The Artist", 100%
    "Midnight in Paris", 100%
    "Young Adult", 80%
    "Margin Call", 60%
    "Bridesmaids", 55%


  • Help | January 11, 2012 6:58 PMReply

    Very surprised to see Tate Taylor for The Help up there on adapted. Really thought the script in that movie underwhelmed and the superb acting really made that movie. Drive should enter that category instead of The Help.

  • HP's Kloves Overlooked... Again! | January 11, 2012 6:52 PMReply

    Unbelievable that after adapting 5 Harry Potter novels for the screen that Steve Kloves has never been nominated. Talk about an epic undertaking!! I'm not sure who's driving this wagon but the HP empire has generated sooooo much for the film industry over the past 10+ years, not to mention the admiration of tons of fans, that the small gesture of a nomination would be in order. Shame on you all... WGA, HFPA, and more than likely the Academy.

  • Michael Davenport | February 10, 2012 9:43 PM

    to NOW I"M TALKING TO EVERYONE WRITING ABOUT HARRY POTTER! thank you! and I agree with you! Woody Allen is a good director and screenwriter however he never goes to the award shows.lol I think the Artist was the best Original and The Help was the best adaption! but thats just me! for the record Harry Potter is the worst thing to happen to this world!

  • Guy writing underneath | January 23, 2012 8:29 PM

    the *best* Harry Potter ever.


    Look, the Oscars aren't a beauty contest. Just because critics say it was the Harry Potter ever, that just means all other ones SUCKED! And just because more people paid to watch that film more than almost every other film, it doesn't mean people liked it. JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE MILLIONS OF FANS, IT DOESN"T MAKE THE FILM GOOD! For goodness sakes! I thought the only good ones were the Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and the new one. As for "HP'S KLOVES OVERLOOKED... AGAIN!", I can write five f***ing scripts. They won't be good, but neither is this guy's. Personally, for being a Woody Allen fan I hate to say this, but I hope A Separation wins. I have seen less than 10 foreign films (living in China, it's not surprising most were Chinese), but A Separation was one of the best films I have seen, FULL STOP!

  • TGWTDT is pretty low | January 11, 2012 7:30 AMReply

    It could get one. Maybe at 6

  • mike | January 10, 2012 9:53 PMReply

    Emilio Estevez' THE WAY screenplay content was insightful, inspiring, and humorous.
    Hope it is nominated.

  • Adriana | January 10, 2012 4:02 AMReply

    Young Adult! BFCA and WGA... it should be closer to the top 5.

  • joe | January 8, 2012 5:27 AMReply

    I agree with top 5 and the best 1. Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris2. Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist but National Society of Film Critics choice silly and ridiculous.they did main object.did they see win win ,Martha Marcy May Marlene,50/50,Bridesmaids?stupid award .

  • Edward Copeland | January 7, 2012 5:07 PMReply

    With the exception of praise for Melissa McCarthy, the awards love for Bridesmaids is ridiculous. I didn't even like The Tree of Life and now I'm starting to feel sorry for Terrence Malick since his film keeps getting snubbed in favor of this giant turd. The art directors guild nomination was a joke. Any writing nominations are worse. That overlong, crappy script by Wiig and Mumulo makes Tina Fey look like Moliere. Perhaps we were all too hard on Nia Vardalos (Was that her name?) when she got nominated for My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It sucked too but not nearly as badly as Bridesmaids. What kind of bribery budget do they have for their awards campaign?

  • Paula | February 25, 2012 1:24 PM

    Absolutely right !!!!! on Bridesmaids and Tree of Life - can't believe Matt Damon agreed to do it - you are right on with your comments

  • ddd225 | January 7, 2012 3:14 PMReply

    I havnt seen the Artist, but how is a movie with very little dialouge possibly a screenplay cobtender?

  • LALA | January 23, 2012 8:34 PM

    It's actually an award mixed with best dialogue and best story. The award used to be two: Best Story and Best Script. However, they made them into one and people now get confused. When posting comments, also think about the story.

  • Mike | January 5, 2012 6:29 PMReply

    of the one's in this list that i've seen i would say hands down, Tate Taylor should win this! The Help was an incredible adaption!

  • Alvy Singer | January 4, 2012 9:21 PMReply

    Overall, I like the Writers Guild Awards better. Whether or not one wins is not affected by other categories, and, at least in recent years, they pick the better script. Up in the Air should have beat Precious without question. Same with American Splendor; it lost to The Lord of the Rings because the Academy felt like they needed to honor the series, which apparently a lot of people think Harry Potter deserves this year. The King's Speech did not deserve all that it won last year. I would have given the writing Oscar to The Kids Are All Right.

  • flawed | January 7, 2012 10:07 PM

    I agree with your general take on screenwriting.
    The oscars automatically give it to that year's best picture winner because apparently the voters can't bother with giving it too much thought.
    It's nice when people can recognize when the primary reason a movie is good is because of the screenplay. Juno and Little Miss Sunshine are examples. The Kids are Alright is too.
    Since the Oscars are divided into 2 categories, only half the nominees stand a chance of being awarded because the eventual best picture winner is a shoo-in.

  • lucy | January 4, 2012 9:19 PMReply

    My favorite adaptations, The girl with the dragon tatoo , Drive and The help. Steve Zillian was brilliant, he made Stieg Larsson's prose into a very compelling movie, he made larsson overattention to coffee and sandwiches dissapear into pure brilliance. If Drive don't get at least 3 oscar nods I won't trust the academy again.

  • Bridesmaids at number 3? FUCK | January 4, 2012 9:12 PMReply

    I don't see why Bridesmaids could get oscar nominations. I haven't seen it, but still

  • Steph | January 22, 2012 9:49 PM

    I think 50/50 should be at the TOP of Original screenplay. Writing a film about a time in your life that could have gone either way is a pretty smart idea. Midnight Is Paris? Oroginal... I liked it... but Woody hasnt even shown up to these awards shows yet so...

  • Mike | January 5, 2012 6:31 PM

    Just because a movie was stupid doesn't mean the writers should be punished for it, granted Bridesmaids was the stupidest movie I've ever seen next to Nacho Lebray, however writing comedy is a hard business! The writer deserves 3rd at the most!

  • the mayne | January 4, 2012 8:55 PMReply

    You guys seem to forget that Borat was nominated in a writing category, albeit for Best Adapted. That being said, Bridesmaids does have a shot. I don't think that Young Adult or Beginners have a chance at spoiling. The Academy has been pretty favorable to Jason Reitman films in the past few years, even giving a nod for directing Juno, and the fact that he likely has no chance this year does not breath life to Diablo Cody's script. No film, save for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Talk to Her, in the past ten years has won Best Original without also being nominated for Best Picture. Talk to Her also won Best Foreign Language. The fact that anyone would doubt Woody's nomination is almost preposterous--he has the most nominations ever in this category. This all being said, it seems that Midnight in Paris and The Artist have the best chances at winning this category, the latter probably doing so. I would have to say this was a bad year for original screenplays all together, I mean Win Win was an okay movie, but some of the writing was pretty bad. The Adapted Screenplay is going to be tough to predict, but exciting to see who wins. I'm not sure Tinker has a chance, but if either of the top two predicted here, it will be a second win for both Sorkin and Zaillian, as well as Payne. I wish there were a site where William Goldman predicts the Oscars. He is amazing. He called Gladiator winning Best Picture before it even came out, as well as On Golden Pond.

  • unkie469 | January 7, 2012 12:15 AM

    On Golden Pond did not win the Oscar for best picture, Chariots of Fire did.

  • Nat | January 4, 2012 8:44 PMReply

    Bridesmaids should be getting nominated for Razzies not Oscars... It was an AWFUL film.

  • Trent | January 3, 2012 2:56 PMReply

    the movie Bridemaids was really good. I also predicted that i would get nominated on my list. add me on facebook. trentledford@ymail.com and follow @trent_ledford to get my oscars update and also other good movies update

  • MNBK | January 3, 2012 10:27 AMReply

    The Artist
    Midnight in Paris
    A Separation
    The Tree of Life

  • Saba | January 2, 2012 6:50 PMReply

    My vote would go for A Separation, the script was really really great!
    Can't believe that Woody Allen's is put 1st.

  • ali | January 17, 2012 6:11 AM

    i have the same idea.... after winning golden globe i am sure separation would be nominated at least two times. first best foreign film , second best original screenplay... and we all know its place in imdb website ... its now 94th... second place in movies that produced in 2011!!!!!!!!
    i dont know how midnight in paris is first in this list...????!!!!!

  • MVT | January 2, 2012 6:19 PMReply

    if the world was a fair place - and it isn't - A Separation would get nominated not only for best foreign language film, but for best actor/actress and screenplay. Seriously the film of 2011.

  • ali | January 17, 2012 6:14 AM

    i have the same idea i dont how such a movies like bridesmaid , artist,... are in these lists

  • jean | January 1, 2012 7:04 PMReply

    Yes yes yes to Harry Potter, everyone knows the story, the film and the cast deserve this award! HP all the way!

  • Lala | January 23, 2012 8:41 PM

    Cats: No. Film: NO! Screenplay: Not the best but it wouldn't preposterous to nominate it. I think the only thing they should be winning is Art Direction and a few technical categories.

  • Catca | December 30, 2011 10:10 PMReply

    Why is Steve McQueen's screenplay for "Shame" even a long shot? The positive reviews for the movie have centered around terrific acting performances from Fassbender and Mulligan. The reviews, even positive ones, all cite problems with the screenplay. Put simply, it's not a well regarded screenplay.

  • Edward Copeland | December 30, 2011 3:30 PMReply

    I thought Tree of Life was the usual goofy, gooey Malick mess, but I'd much rather see it end up as an original screenplay nominee than the crappy Bridesmaids.

  • Michael | December 30, 2011 4:13 AMReply

    Gosh.I can't believe "Midnight in Paris" is likely to be nominated.It shouldn't even be in the darkest horses.I insist in "We need to talk about Kevin".

  • AKASH | December 29, 2011 6:31 PMReply

    Steve Kloves, it's not an easy job that he's managed to accomplish.

  • A. O. Zeta | December 29, 2011 6:06 PMReply

    Midnight in Paris at the top? Seriously???

  • amir | December 27, 2011 4:29 PMReply

    Asghar farhadi should be nominated for his masterpiece.

  • ali | January 17, 2012 6:16 AM

    yesssssssssssss.... i hope to see two oscars in his hands that memorable day.....

  • Bacon is good for your soul | December 27, 2011 3:57 PMReply

    50/50 is a true story and Bridesmaids will not get nominated

  • JD | December 20, 2011 1:12 PMReply

    No way! Margin Call is the breakthrough film of the year, It will get nominated on the screenplay category. Take shelter has a much better chance than War Horse. In adapted, The help is a shoo in. It's the precious of this year.

  • A. O. Zeta | December 16, 2011 9:55 AMReply

    I can't understand why Midnight in Paris is leading this list. If you guys will be able to see a movie from the Philippines released in 2004 entitled Moments of Love, you might consider moving Midnight in Paris to a lower rank.

  • A. O. Zeta | December 16, 2011 9:56 AM

    I think The Help should rank better for Adapted Screenplay.