Matt and Matt’s Oscar Countdown: Best Screenplay

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By Matt Paolizzi and Matt Soderberg, Co-Sports Editor and Staff Reporter

As we begin our countdown to the Oscars, which air this Sunday, we start with likely the most underappreciated category: screenwriting. These men and women create the characters and the stories that come to life on screen. 2015 was a highly competitive year and some truly great screenplays did not even earn nominations. Here are the nominations and our predictions for both best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees
“The Big Short” – Adam Mckay, Charles Randolph
“Brooklyn” – Nick Hornby
“Carol” – Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian” – Drew Goddard
“Room”– Emma Donoghue

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Matt Soderberg

Should Win – Brooklyn”

The raw power of Room might earn author Emma Donoghue the victory in a normal year, but that’s certainly not the case. Drew Goddard’s great subtle humor in The Martian will be ignored, and Carol has just an outside shot. The best in the category is Brooklyn, an all-around incredible film that stems from a powerful romantic drama sprinkled with just enough humor written by Nick Hornby. The film overall will be overlooked among the big names, and it will likely end up the same story in this category

Will Win – “The Big Short”

Adam McKay and Charles Randolph will take home their trophy for their biting, somber, and at the same time hilarious story of the 2008 financial crisis, from a variety of perspectives. It might not be Brooklyn, but it’s hard to make an argument against.

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Matt Paolizzi

Should Win – “The Big Short”

The other half of the screenplay awards looks to be a tad more competitive than its Spotlight dominated brother. While The Big Short certainly is the frontrunner, any of the other four could easily see themselves getting some gold. The Martian has pop appeal and if it gets ran out of the rest of the categories, I could see the sci-fi hit winning. The trio of Carol, Room, and Brooklyn, each powerful pieces full of strong actresses, may all start revving their engines after the bloodbath that is Best Actress and Supporting Actress. But that’s for another day and from my perspective, The Big Short has this locked down with its BAFTA and WGA momentum, not to mention a late box office push.

Will Win – “The Big Short”

 

 

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Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees
“Bridge Of Spies” – Matt Charman, Coen Brothers
“Ex Machina” – Alex Garland
“Inside Out” – Pete Doctor, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Ronnie del Carmin
“Spotlight” – Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
“Straight Outta Compton” – Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus

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Matt Soderberg

Should Win – “Spotlight”

This category is loaded, and it’s appreciably diverse. It holds the best animated movie since Miyazaki retired (Inside Out) as well as the most underrated movie of the year (the haunting Ex Machina). Straight Outta Compton didn’t come together as a film, but its story and dialogue are present and authentic. And above all, the Coen Brothers are here. Even their spy story can’t hold a candle to Spotlight. Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer created a masterpiece, and they should be recognized for doing so.

Will Win – “Spotlight”

I don’t see the Academy messing this one up. Anyone who sees spotlight is blown away by how powerful its dialogue can be – exactly what this category should be honoring. The movie will unfortunately be shut out in the bigger categories, so expect it to get the nod here.

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Matt Paolizzi

Should Win – “Spotlight”

This is one of the few “tossup” categories of the night. Spotlight has won in this category (or whatever is closest) in most of the major awards, excluding the Golden Globes. The Academy probably has this envelope already filled out for the super writing duo of Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer. McCarthy already has a nomination in this category from his work in Up back in 2009. Singer makes a major comeback with this film; his last screenplay was 2013’s disappointing The Fifth Estate. He brings back some of the magic from his days as a writer for The West Wing that earned him a WGA nomination in 2006. While I’d love to see the underrated Ex Machina or Straight Outta Compton get some love, it just isn’t going to happen.

Will Win – “Spotlight”

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