The LAMB Devours the Oscars 2018: Best Original Screenplay

by Jay Cluitt · February 23, 2018 · Featured, LAMB Devours the Oscars · 3 Comments

Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far:

Today, Howard Casner from Rantings and Ravings is back, this time looking at the nominees for Best Original Screenplay.

Since there are ten nominees every year for screenwriting, usually two things happen. One category goes to a fan favorite, a screenplay often different and unique or has a niche audience, a film not expected to gather a win in any other category. The other goes to whichever wins Best Picture. There are exceptions of course, but I believe this year is going to be business as usual.

This means that adapted screenplay is probably going to Call Me By Your Name, and original will go to the Best Picture winner, most likely Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, though there is a possibility it will go to either Lady Bird or The Shape of Water.

But on to the nominations:

The Big Sick

The Big Sick was a surprise hit upon opening in theaters and now has the “it’s just great to be nominated” award. Written by writing and spousal partners Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, it’s inspired by their rather tempestuous courtship due to different ethnic backgrounds and because Gordon ended up in a coma at one point. The story starts off a bit too formulaic rom commy, but as it goes on, the funnier and more deeply emotional it becomes until it’s almost impossible not to love it. The two also collaborated on the television series The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail and Gordon is a staff writer for the HBO comedy Crashing. Nanjiani is also one of the stars of the hit series Silicon Valley.

This is the film’s only nomination.

Get Out

Get Out may have the honor (I can’t confirm it) of being the movie nominated for Best Picture that has opened the earliest in the year (February, which alone usually automatically dooms a movie from being recognized come awards time). Written, and directed, by Gordon Peele, it’s a trenchant horror comedy that satirizes the changing relationship of black and white America. Peele, of course, is well known as co-writer and co-star of the hit television series Key and Peele, as well as a writer for MADtv.

The film has also received nominations for Best Picture, Actor (David Kaluuya), and Director (Peele).

Lady Bird

Lady Bird is the delightful coming of age film written, and directed, by Greta Gerwig and somewhat inspired by her last year in high school. A powerhouse at the independent box office, it’s a film the audience simply loved and took to heart. It’s also the film that is the biggest competition to Three Billboards for winning Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

The film has also received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Gerwig), Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), and Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf).

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water, written by the director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy) and Vanessa Taylor (Divergent, Game of Thrones), was, in some ways, a bit of a surprise in its nomination because many saw it as more a director’s film than a screenwriter’s. This may be why it also received thirteen nominations (the most of any film) and is expected to win best director, but not best picture. It’s a fairy tale set during the McCarthy era about a sea creature and a mute cleaning woman who have an affair. Beautiful to look at, it’s a bit sterile when it comes to emotions produced.

The film has also received nominations for Picture, Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Best Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins), Music, Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Production Design.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, last but not least, as of this writing is expected to win this category as well as Picture, Actress and Supporting Actor. It’s a caustically funny, angry and deeply felt film about a mother upset that the killer of her daughter has yet to be found, so buys advertising space on some billboards at the edge of the city in order to, well, advertise the issues. Written, and directed, by Martin McDonagh who exploded on the screenwriting scene with his earlier films, In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. It has three things against it when it comes to winning screenplay and picture: it’s not quite as original as his earlier films; there has been push back against its racial politics (and not unfairly); and it wasn’t nominated for Best Director. Still, it’s the one to beat.

The film has also received nominations for Picture, Best Actress (Francis McDormand), two Supporting Actors (Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson), Score and Editing.

What do you think is going to win ?