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Newcomers May Get in the Way of a Best Original Screenplay Oscar Win For a Perennial Nominee

As is often the case, the Best Original Screenplay Oscar will most likely go to a long overdue filmmaker or the hip new kid(s) on the block.

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Photo by Jonathan Hession. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

This article contains IndieWire’s past Best Original Screenplay predictions for the 2023 Oscars. We regularly update our predictions throughout awards season, and republish previous versions (like this one) for readers to track changes in how the Oscar race has changed. For the latest update on the frontrunners for the 95th Academy Awards, see our 2023 Oscars predictions hub.

We keep updating these predictions through the awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2023 Oscar picks. Final voting is March 2 through 7, 2023.  The 95th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

See IndieWire’s previous Oscars Predictions for this category and more here.

The State of the Race

At this year’s Oscars, the Academy has plenty of opportunities to spread the wealth, as many of the 2023 nominees earned multiple nods that don’t necessarily need to translate to sweeps. In addition to the nominees for Best Original Screenplay matching those in Best Director, four out of five of the filmmakers listed also produced their projects, and therefore also earned a Best Picture nod.

In theory, this could lead to voters giving the Best Original Screenplay win to “Triangle of Sadness” scribe Ruben Östlund, who is technically the odd man out of the Best Picture race. The Swedish director does not fit the archetype of who voters tend to pick for Best Picture, at least not as well as the other nominees do. Simply put, the Best Original Screenplay win, more often than not, either goes to an auteur who has been long-in-waiting or the most exciting new kid(s) on the block. Östlund falls right in between; he’s someone the Academy has been aware of for a while, but has only just broken outside of the Best International Feature Film category.

A better fit? In terms of a filmmaker who has long been on the precipice of winning an Oscar for his feature screenwriting work, it’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” filmmaker Martin McDonagh, who already has a Best Live Action Short Oscar, but came back empty-handed after Best Original Screenplay nominations for “In Bruges” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Third time should be the charm for McDonagh, as his film is also a serious Best Picture contender, and his writing has always been more lauded than his directing.

But, there is still the possibility that voters could opt for who they consider a fresh discovery, à la Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) or Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”), and give Best Original Screenplay to Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (AKA Daniels) for their innovative sophomore effort “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The pair has a slight leg up on McDonagh in that they’re nominated for a WGA Award, while the Irish filmmaker was deemed ineligible. Should they actually win that guild award on March 5, Daniels would be able to appeal to a group of their Academy member peers one last time before final voting closes. Not for nothing, but they also did actually win this category at the Critics Choice Awards as well, against the same group of nominees (outside of Östlund).

Both “TÁR” writer-director Todd Field and “The Fabelmans” co-writer Tony Kushner are in a similar boat, with three Screenplay nominations and four Screenplay nods, respectively, while this is 76-year-old film icon Steven Spielberg’s first time ever being nominated for writing. As for their chances of winning, Field is a bit hindered by his lead Cate Blanchett seeming like such a lock for Best Actress, therefore allowing voters to use this category to make sure another film they love gets a win. Meanwhile, “The Fabelmans” is likely too far ahead in the Best Picture and Best Director races to really make headway here.

Nominees are listed below in order of likelihood they will win.

Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
Todd Field (“TÁR”)
Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”)
Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

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