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Oscars Predictions: Best Original Screenplay – Globes Go for Sorkin, Solidifying Frontrunner Status in Screenplay

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7,
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars from Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. Following Academy Awards history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar predictions are updated regularly with the current year's contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. Eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to revision date.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE COLLECTIVE

DRAFT>>>PRE SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON

2021 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

UPDATED: Mar. 4, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Sorkin may be the most nominated screenwriter at the Golden Globes, with eight of his nine feature scripts garnering nominations, with the exception of “Malice” (1993)., but Oscars is something different. While he feels definitively safe for a nomination, this is very much a race where anyone can turn it around at any moment (i.e., “Jojo Rabbit” at BAFTA last year). “Promising Young Woman” can pull this off with a WGA win while “Minari” can take SAG ensemble, and move things in its direction. “Sound of Metal” could be a late breaker and who knows what “Judas and the Black Messiah” has up its sleeve.

WATCH RECOMMENDATIONS BEFORE VOTING: “Miss Juneteenth” (Vertical Entertainment), “On the Rocks” (A24/Apple TV Plus), “Farewell Amor” (IFC Films), “Another Round” (Samuel Goldwyn Films), “The Forty-Year-Old Version” (Netflix), “The Climb” (Sony Pictures Classics), “The Assistant” (Bleecker Street), “Supernova” (Bleecker Street), “Happiest Season” (Hulu), “Onward” (Pixar), “Palmer” (Apple TV Plus)

PRECURSORS LEADER:
Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) – Emerald Fennell
Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021)
2021 Awards Season Calendar


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Carey Mulligan stars as “Cassandra” in director Emerald Fennell’s PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Courtesy of Focus Features
Courtesy of Focus Features

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

  1. "The Trial of the Chicago 7" (Netflix)
    Aaron Sorkin
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    OSCAR HISTORY:
    (2017) - "Molly's Game" - best adapted screenplay
    (2011) - "Moneyball" - best adapted screenplay
    (2010) - "The Social Network" - best adapted screenplay - WINNER


    DIRECTOR: Aaron Sorkin
    SYNOPSIS: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
    STARRING: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong


  2. "Promising Young Woman" (Focus Features)
    Emerald Fennell
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Emerald Fennell
    SYNOPSIS: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who cross her path.
    STARRING: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Molly Shannon, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Max Greenfield, Alison Brie, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Connie Britton, Chris Lowell, Adam Brody, Sam Richardson


  3. "Minari" (A24)
    Lee Isaac Chung
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated 

    DIRECTOR: Lee Isaac Chung
    SYNOPSIS: A Korean family moves to Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s.
    STARRING: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan S. Kim, Yuh-jung Youn, Will Patton


  4. "Sound of Metal" (Amazon Studios)
    Abraham Marder, Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated 

    DIRECTOR: Darius Marder
    SYNOPSIS: A heavy-metal drummer's life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.
    STARRING: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Mathieu Almaric, Lauren Ridloff


  5. "Judas and the Black Messiah" (Warner Bros)
    Will Berson, Shaka King, Keith Lucas, Kenneth Lucas
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated 

    DIRECTOR: Shaka King
    SYNOPSIS: The story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and his fateful betrayal by FBI informant William O'Neal.
    STARRING: Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Fishback, Jesse Plemons, Martin Sheen, Dominique Thorne, Algee Smith, Lil Rel Howery, Jermaine Fowler


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Pixar

NEXT IN LINE CONTENDERS:

  1. "Mank" (Netflix)
    Jack Fincher
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated 

    DIRECTOR: David Fincher
    SYNOPSIS: 1930s Hollywood is re-evaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane for Orson Welles.
    STARRING: Tom Burke, Lily Collins, Joseph Cross, Charles Dance, Monika Gossman, Ferdinand Kingsley, Jamie McShane, Tuppence Middleton, Toby Leonard Moore, Gary Oldman, Tom Pelphrey, Amanda Seyfried, Sam Troughton


  2. "Soul" (Pixar)
    Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers
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    OSCAR HISTORY:
    (2015) - "Inside Out" - best animated feature (WINNER) and best original screenplay
    (2009) - "Up" - best animated feature (WINNER) and best original screenplay
    (2008) - "WALL-E" - best original screenplay
    (2002) - "Mike's New Car" - best animated short
    (2001) - "Monster's Inc." - best animated feature
    (1995) - "Toy Story" - best original screenplay


    DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola
    SYNOPSIS: A young mother reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York.
    STARRING: Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, Marlon Wayans, Jessica Henwick, Jenny Slate


  3. "Palm Springs" (Hulu/Neon)
    Andy Siara
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated 

    DIRECTOR: Max Barbakow
    SYNOPSIS: When carefree Nyles and reluctant maid of honor Sarah have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated as they are unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other.
    STARRING: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons, Peter Gallagher, Meredith Hagner, Camila Mendes, Tyler Hoechlin


  4. "Never Rarely Sometimes Always" (Focus Features)
    Eliza Hittman
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Eliza Hittman
    SYNOPSIS: Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn and her cousin Skylar embark across state lines from rural Pennsylvania to New York City on a fraught journey of friendship, bravery and compassion.
    STARRING: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Théodore Pellerin


  5. "The Forty-Year-Old Version" (Netflix)
    Radha Blank
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Radha Blank
    SYNOPSIS: Radha is a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater in order to find her true voice.
    STARRING: Radha Blank, Peter Kim, Oswin Benjamin, Imani Lewis, Antonio Ortiz, Haskiri Velazquez, T.J. Atoms


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(from left) Claire Carlin (Maude Apatow) and Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) in “The King of Staten Island,” directed by Judd Apatow. Photo credit: Mary Cybulski / Ll

TOP-TIER AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. "Da 5 Bloods" (Netflix)
    Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
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    OSCAR HISTORY:
    (2018) - "BlacKkKlansman" - best adapted screenplay (Lee, Willmott), director and picture (Lee)
    (2016) - Honorary Award - WINNER
    (1997) - "4 Little Girls" - best documentary feature (Lee)
    (1989) - "Do the Right Thing" - best original screenplay (Lee)


    DIRECTOR: Spike Lee
    SYNOPSIS: Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.
    STARRING: Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Jonathan Majors, Chadwick Boseman, Isiah Witlock, Jr,, Norm Lewis


  2. "On the Rocks" (A24/Apple TV Plus)
    Sofia Coppola
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    OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations, 1 win
    (2003) - "Lost in Translation" - best picture, director, original screenplay (WINNER)


    DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola
    SYNOPSIS: A young mother reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York.
    STARRING: Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, Marlon Wayans, Jessica Henwick, Jenny Slate


  3. "Another Round" (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
    Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg
    SYNOPSIS: Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood.
    STARRING: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang


  4. "The King of Staten Island" (Universal Pictures)
    Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson, Dave Sirus
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Judd Apatow
    SYNOPSIS: Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.
    STARRING: Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Steve Buscemi, Bel Powley


  5. "The Assistant" (Bleecker Street)
    Kitty Green
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Kitty Green
    SYNOPSIS: Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood.
    STARRING: Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Kristein Froseth, Clara Wong


  6. "Miss Juneteenth" (Vertical Entertainment)
    Channing Godfrey Peoples
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Channing Godfrey Peoples
    SYNOPSIS: A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the "Miss Juneteenth" pageant.
    STARRING: Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, Alexis Chikaeze, Lori Hayes


  7. "Ammonite" (Neon)
    Francis Lee
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Francis Lee
    SYNOPSIS: 1840s England, acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.
    STARRING: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Shaw, Gemma Jones, James McArdle


  8. "The Climb" (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Michael Angelo Covino
    SYNOPSIS: A look at the friendship between two guys that spans over many years.
    STARRING: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin, Gayle Rankin


  9. "Land" (Focus Features)
    Jesse Chatham, Erin Dignam
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Robin Wright
    SYNOPSIS: A bereaved woman seeks out a new life, off the grid in Wyoming.
    STARRING: Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Sarah Dawn Pledge


  10. "Saint Maud" (A24)
    Rose Glass
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Rose Glass
    SYNOPSIS: Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.
    STARRING: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Knight



† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in the lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The biggest Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. Woody Allen has the most wins in original screenplay with three and nominations at 16. Charles Brackett, Paddy Chayefsky, Quentin Tarantino and Billy Wilder have all won twice. Federico Fellini is the second most nominated writer with six nominations.


Academy Awards Predictions (All Categories)

2021 Golden Globes Predictions (Film)

2021 SAG Awards Predictions (Film)


About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). 17 branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The Oscars are scheduled for Sunday, April 25, 2021.

About the Golden Globes

The Golden Globes Awards, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is held annually with 93 members since 1944. The group recognizes excellence in film and television across drama and comedy or musical categories. Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” holds the record for the most awards won by a single film with seven. Milos Forman’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and Alan Parker’s “Midnight Express” are next in line with six each. Robert Altman’s “Nashville” has the record for most nominations received by a film with 11 while Colin Higgins’ “Foul Play,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III” and Mike Nichols’ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” share the record for receiving the most nominations and not winning a single award at seven.

  • The Golden Globes are scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021.

About the SAG Awards

The Screen Actors Guild Awards, hosted by SAG-AFTRA, is an annual award show that has become one of the most important and key indicators for the Oscars. Four films have won the most SAG awards with three: 1999’s “American Beauty,” 2002’s “Chicago,” 2011’s “The Help” and 2017’s “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Three movies have been nominated for the most SAG awards with five: 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago” and 2008’s “Doubt.”

  • The SAG Awards are scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 4, 2021