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February 16, 2013 4:22 PM
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2013 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay

"Django Unchained." TWC
Indiewire will provide regular updates of our predictions for the 85th Academy Awards through February 24th, when the winners are announced.

There was a time when Mark Boal seemed like a fairly sure thing in this category (hell, there was a time when Paul Thomas Anderson seemed like a sure thing in this category). But with "Zero Dark Thirty" slipping in Oscar buzz (and Anderson not even nominated for "The Master"), Boal is running third behind Michael Haneke ("Amour") and Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained"). It's going to be a showdown between those two. Though Tarantino won back in 1995 for "Pulp Fiction," it seems reasonable to give the man #2 this time around (they seemingly almost did in 2010, but instead gave it to Boal). But then there's Haneke, who has never won but has three different opportunities to this year (here, best director and best foreign language film -- though the latter techically goes to the country of Austria). So will voters assume he's winning for foreign language film and vote for Tarantino? Or maybe Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola will draw sympathy that the Academy screwed over "Moonrise Kingdom" everywhere else and pull off a shocker?

Nominees and predictions below. Check out all predictions in all the categories here, and this list of all the Oscar-nominated films available ON DEMAND right now.

The nominees:
"Amour" Written by Michael Haneke
"Django Unchained" Written by Quentin Tarantino
"Flight" Written by John Gatins
"Moonrise Kingdom" Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
"Zero Dark Thirty" Written by Mark Boal

Will win: "Django Unchained"
Could win: "Amour"
Should win: Anything but "Flight" would make me happy.

Check out all predictions in all the categories here.

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65 Comments

  • monkeypox6 | April 15, 2013 8:10 PMReply

    How I think it should have been:

    1. Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained"*(Runner-up)
    2. Rian Johnson, "Looper"
    3. Paul Thomas Anderson, "The Master"
    4. Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, "Moonrise Kingdom"
    5. Mark Boal, "Zero Dark Thirty"*(WINNER)

  • BOO | February 14, 2013 5:25 PMReply

    Zero Dark Thirty has pretty good chances. It should not be ruled out.

  • Cinema | February 24, 2013 12:02 PM

    I don't know, considering how little love the academy is showing ZDT. It would be a surprise.

  • Whut Whut | February 8, 2013 1:52 AMReply

    Poor Flight :(

  • JD | February 2, 2013 11:18 AMReply

    I think that Zero Dark Thirty will win, but it is very close.

  • Camilo Caballero | January 31, 2013 11:11 PMReply

    The script for ZDT was nothing special. The characters weren't fully developed, had its good share of cheesy lines and was too propagandist. I really think Tarantino deserves this, though Haneke did an amazing job as well. Any of those two to win and I'd be happy.

  • Oscar Specialist | January 31, 2013 5:39 PMReply

    I Predict .... Zero Dark Thirty Will Win Under This Category ......

  • Bruce | January 29, 2013 1:04 AMReply

    I'll go for Mark Boal. Zero Dark Thirty must at least win something.

  • Mano | January 15, 2013 8:02 PMReply

    The best original screenplay award 2013 will be given to either Quentine Tarantino for Django or to Mark Boal for Zero Dark City.

  • Ross | January 14, 2013 3:43 PMReply

    How in the name of **** did Looper not even get nominated in this? it was by far the most original and interesting script this year.

  • ahh | January 11, 2013 9:18 AMReply

    OH! I see what's going to end, like ten years ago, everybody saying the gangs of new york will win best original screenplay, and suddenly Almodovar takes it in. I see this coming to Haneke

  • ANGRY | January 10, 2013 7:28 PMReply

    This award is pretty meaningless. The Master deserved it. Anderson's film got snubbed. How can you commend the actor's and not the person who created the characters? Django is highly overrated and I think its controversy allows for fairly egregious misreadings. If it were a play, or a novel, I'd love to see Harold Bloom tear it apart. There's also something to be said for the favoritism that causes Woody Allen's aversion to these awards. Moonrise Kingdom is not the best of Wes Anderson, Django is not the best of Quentin.

  • BOO | January 10, 2013 6:08 PMReply

    Zero Dark Thirty may not have gotten Director, but neither did Tarantino, so I don't see why you would think Tarantino would win this award. I predict Zero Dark Thirty.

  • Rael | January 10, 2013 4:34 AMReply

    I'm for Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, and Looper...My spoilers are Flight, Amour, Ted, Seven Psychopaths, This is 40, and Hyde Park on Hudson.

    Hope Looper wins...atleast to give scifi action a boost.

  • Martin | January 8, 2013 10:23 AMReply

    Check my predictions on the screenplays at http://www.mondoglam.com/2013/01/predicciones-al-oscar-2013-dos-dias_8.html

  • Will | January 7, 2013 7:11 PMReply

    Did anybody tell this website that Django Unchained, Les Miserables, and Amour were disqualified?

  • wraith808 | February 19, 2013 11:40 AM

    No, they were not disqualified from Academy contention, just WGA contention.

    http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/2012/12/writers-guild-disqualifies-django-unchained-les-miserables-and-others-awards

  • Rael | January 10, 2013 4:24 AM

    why?

  • Megan | January 7, 2013 12:18 PMReply

    I still think Mark Boal needs to give his BOS Oscar for that mediocre thing he wrote to Tarantino for Basterds-that was a complete tragedy to rob QT of his best screenplay to date. I'd love to see Tarantino snag one this year for Django, but I'm not holding my breath. A nom will make me happy enough.

  • James K | January 6, 2013 4:12 PMReply

    Good category this year. Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained are most likely in. I really like Amour's chances too. Now this is where it gets difficult. I don't see Moonrise Kingdom going anywhere, but if it does, it'll be in this category. Looper's chances are getting higher and higher, so I'll put it in there for good measure. The last spot, God, I have no idea. The Master may be too polarizing, Flight's too formulaic, and read above about Moonrise Kingdom. I'll go for a totally out of the blue prediction and go either Seven Psychopaths or The Cabin in the Woods.

  • Jeremy | January 4, 2013 2:28 AMReply

    After reading "The Master" WTF did PTA do, I've read homework back when I was in kindergarten that had less spelling mistakes... AND I WAS IN KINDERGARTEN TWICE!!! If PTA spent more time on the script it probably could have likely won Best Screenplay-- if not Best Picture but I guess some writers become lazy and believe that they can do whatever the fuck they want which pissess me off. Django Unchained was an original idea and seeing as basically everything fell apart with this movie and how Tarintino somehow filled in the blanks with a strong script following what he already had... it's no wonder he's the master of Genre. Besides "Seven Psychopaths" I have yet to see any of the films in contention but I would much rather watch Tarintino win a second Oscar rather then Boal who seems like a one trick pony overworking the same relative material. Django Unchained deserves to win, of course I have writen better screenplay then this but it still deserves to win.

  • Film Fan | December 29, 2012 9:56 PMReply

    The writing in Django was stellar. I am sure Zero Dark Thirty will take this, and even though I love Bigelow she already stole an original screenplay oscar from Taratino back in 2009 and it would be a shame for it to happen again. Plus Django is much more original than Dark Thirty.

  • JenniferWest | December 29, 2012 9:35 PMReply

    Django Unchained

  • andrew | December 28, 2012 8:47 AMReply

    kathryn bigelow is so overrated...the hurt locker was a decent film but for the love of christ, it wasn't a masterpiece...she was decorated for her screenplay for the hurt locker but to me it just sounded like normal meathead jargon...if Tarantino loses to her for original screenplay then i will stop watching the oscars

  • Omer Bhartov | January 7, 2013 7:32 PM

    Tarantino used to suck as a writer of stories. The excessive, indulging, snappy and cool dialogue was very good surface treatment to hide the emptiness and mediocrity just below; however, Django Unchained genuinely has a good plot, has a lot less of the nonsense-talking, foot-fetish rubbish and definitely deserves a nomination at least. The characters are clever, but more importantly their cleverness actually serves a purpose and influences events around them, in contrast with Hans Landa's wit in Basterds, which really amounted to no brilliant detective work whatsoever. If Django wins it will be well deserved. Tarantino really got it right this time, thought the final quarter of the film somewhat disappointed me as it was not what I would have liked to see. Samuel Jackson's character actually deserves some kind of literary reward on it's own. Whether Django wins or not might depend on what is valued most by the Judges: the quality of the writing or the originality of the concept. Django Unchained might not have been completely original as there have been a chain of Django films in the past - this film is a homage to them and is based on a concept already penned by someone else. However, in terms of the quality of the writing there are only a few other films in the same league. I agree about Kathryn Bigelow and the Hurt Locker though.

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  • anonymous | December 10, 2012 9:35 PMReply

    Why is The Master the lock when the script is the worst part.

  • jean vigo | December 10, 2012 8:33 PMReply

    Django Unchained straddles the territory between original and "borrowed" pastiche and motifs from several other films. Great fun it is for sure.

  • Ignatius J Reilly | December 5, 2012 12:15 PMReply

    I don't even think Zero Dark Thirty should be nominated. How has the point of film, according to Bigelow and Boal, become to take current events and turn them around into a movie. The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty will be forgotten in the years to come. Give it to a piece of art.

  • Ignatius j reilly | December 6, 2012 6:19 PM

    Way to use your own subjectivity in an attempt to combat mine...

  • BOO | December 5, 2012 7:54 PM

    The Hurt Locker will not be forgotten at all since it's amazing and everyone loves it. I guess you didn't like it and you are now against Zero Dark Thirty.

  • serpico | December 3, 2012 3:17 PMReply

    I mean, I love "The Master", but for screenplay? Everyone is picking that. But why? I personally love "novel" screenplays like The Master, where it doesn't follow the rules and conventions of tradional scripts. Yet, it's not traditional. If I handed that script into my teacher he'd throw it out. Is the Academy okay with non-traditional scripts like that?

  • BATMAN | December 10, 2012 8:08 PM

    "The Hurt Locker will not be forgotten at all since it's amazing and everyone loves it."

    Hah, good one!

  • BOO | November 26, 2012 12:38 PMReply

    I was really hoping PTA would win but now that Zero Dark Thirty is looking good he might not.

  • Thomas | November 24, 2012 5:06 PMReply

    I'd really love to see "Safety Not Guaranteed," get a mention somewhere.

  • spassky | December 11, 2012 11:18 AM

    "Safety Not Guaranteed" feels very mainstream indie quirk sensibility. That along with the forced character exposition, meaningless tangents, and lethal levels of cheesy montage -- especially with all the truly wonderful original screenplays in contention-- I'm thinking not many would agree with you.

    (But, FWIW, I really did enjoy the film, just don't think it deserves any superlative recognition)

  • Tom | December 9, 2012 1:03 PM

    Yes! Absolutely. I don't understand how there isn't more of a buzz around it? Wonderful film, very original. Then again the Oscars tend to go with the obvious mainstream options

  • XXXX | November 14, 2012 7:22 PMReply

    Wow, you added Whit Stillman and also Sarah Polley. That's pretty cool.

  • Isa | October 2, 2012 11:03 PMReply

    Whit Stillman for Damsels in Distress should get a nomination.

  • xxxx | October 14, 2012 3:10 PM

    While I agree that he should, I agree with IndieWire that it's unlikely.

  • Em | October 2, 2012 3:12 PMReply

    Seven Psychopaths! I saw it last night at the premiere. Martin McDonagh deserves to be recognized for this film, and if it can't be for best picture or director, then for his screenplay...between that and the performances, I was entertained throughout the entire film. Very funny and clever.

  • mass | October 2, 2012 10:40 AMReply

    My guess, it's going to Moonrise Kingdom. Promised Land and Amour have a good shot at it too. As much as I love PTA, I'm not sure The Master was the best screenplay.

  • Ignatius J Reilly | September 26, 2012 11:12 AMReply

    I'm sure The Master will get a nom, but in my opinion (and many others), the writing was probably the weakest part of the movie. I think you could probably bump one of the top five out, and put in Looper. This is not a particularly good year for "original" movies, though it was much the same last year.

  • spassky | December 11, 2012 11:21 AM

    "I guarentee I could have written a better screenplay in a week"

    And the entire internet rolled its eyes and moved along.

  • Lizzie | November 28, 2012 1:35 AM

    Can I ask why you think the screenplay is the weakest part of The Master?

  • BOO | October 2, 2012 2:55 PM

    How is it the best movie of the year if the screenplay sucks? The movie has a beginning middle and end. Why should it be conventional anyway?

  • Jeremy | September 29, 2012 6:55 PM

    The Master was my favorite film this year but the script, besides the obvious charecter development wasn't good. PTA needs to learn how to write a basic story which has a begiing, a middle and an end because I guarentee I could have written a better screenplay in a week, probably the time it took him to write it but the script wasn't good but thats not to say The Master wasn't an amazing movie because it was, primarly because of the acting but this year, Original Script wise I would have to say Django Unchained and Looper were the most original films, I don't feel like seeing Tarintino win because the script was no Pulp Fiction and if he won again you won't hear the end of it. This Rian Johnson, I think the Acadamy should pay him some attention because giving someone like this an Oscar Win could spark a new writer like Tarintino and PTA who could become a legend of his own work.

  • heydoo | September 22, 2012 7:13 PMReply

    I guess the Oscars hate Peter Jackson, even though he is responsible for some of the best movies of the modern era

  • spassky | December 11, 2012 11:24 AM

    "The Hobbit is based on the book written by J.R Tolken, idiot."

    Actually, "The Hobbit" is a book written by J.R.R. Tolkien, idiot.

  • BATMAN | December 10, 2012 8:11 PM

    You could've written a better script in a week? Ohohohohoho.

  • BOO | October 2, 2012 2:56 PM

    But you know this list doesn't actually mean anything, right? He could get a nomination for all we know. The movie hasn't been seen yet. So him not being here doesn't mean the academy hates him this year. Again, if they hated him he wouldn't have gotten 3 oscars and a bunch of other nominations.

  • Jeremy | September 29, 2012 6:48 PM

    Best ORIGINAL screenplay, not best ADAPTED screenplay, the difference being these predictions are all based on original ideas. The Hobbit is based on the book written by J.R Tolken, idiot. He likely will be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay but he won't win because just like The Lord Of The Rings sega this isn't the first film in the series. It will likely win Oscars for art direction, etc... but it won't win any of the big awards, this year. Not to say that the sega won't down the road, it all depends on the year.

  • Charlie | September 26, 2012 4:08 PM

    to not include Peter Jackson is absurd

  • heydoo | September 26, 2012 4:03 PM

    Then why isn't he listed here Mr. Namecaller????

  • BOO | September 25, 2012 5:42 PM

    He won 3 oscars you dumbass

  • BROOKS | September 20, 2012 6:23 PMReply

    The Cabin in the Woods too much of a stretch?

  • Film Fan | December 10, 2012 8:58 PM

    It has too much going against it, but in a perfect world it would be here. That script was so very original and well written.

  • ee | August 13, 2012 12:52 PMReply

    Whit Stillman anyone?

  • Mitch | August 6, 2012 2:04 AMReply

    Moonrise Kingdom should have this... I've only read 10 of these though.

  • Jack | July 18, 2012 3:16 PMReply

    ORIGINAL:
    1. The Master
    2. Hyde Park on Hudson-ALT: "Sessions" if considered adapted
    3. Moonrise Kingdom
    4. Amour
    5. Django Unchained

  • Leo Lo. | November 19, 2012 2:52 PM

    What about Rian Jhonson's Looper?! I mean that was one GREAT original story! Sure the directing was a bit slow at parts but the story was GREAT!

  • les grossman | July 9, 2012 11:56 PMReply

    definitely Quentin tarantino.i've read Django unchained script.if QT doesnt get oscar for this,Academy must b hypocrite abt shame of US slave period