The Rundown 2021: Writing Awards

For our twentieth Rundown article, we write about the writing categories. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay as well as general commentary about the race. Thursday, we’ll cover Picture

Best Original Screenplay

Winner Predictions

  • Belfast (WL O) (PP O) (TB O) (TL R) [New]
  • Don’t Look Up
  • King Richard
  • Licorice Pizza (TL O)
  • The Worst Person in the World

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Licorice Pizza (WL O) (PP R) [New] (TB R) [New] (TL R) [New]

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Wesley Lovell: With the leading contender for this award wasn’t nominated at WGA, it left room for us to see whether Licorice Pizza or Don’t Look Up had the most adherents. That victory means that Belfast‘s primary opponent is possibly Don’t Look Up. That said, Licorice Pizza won at BAFTA, so it’s at least still possible that victory transfers to the Oscars.
Peter J. Patrick: Neither Kenneth Branagh nor Paul Thomas Anderson have ever won an Oscar despite multiple nominations. Either could break the mold this year. I think it’s close, but suspect Branagh will prevail for his heartfelt screenplay over Anderson’s quirky one.
Tripp Burton: This category is a mess, and I honestly have no idea where to predict it. WGA winner Don’t Look Up? BAFTA winner Licorice Pizza? Best Picture nominee Belfast, whose only chance to get a prize for Kenneth Branagh might be here? The Worst Person in the World, a beloved film that will most likely lose International Feature? This is a really wacky category, and one I am excited to see play out.
Thomas La Tourrette: This has been a perplexing category. Neither King Richard nor The Worst Person in the World will stand much of a chance, though I imagine they will pick up a number of votes. I would have said the same about Don’t Look Up until it won the Writers Guild award. I doubt it will win here as that was its only major win and two of its Oscar-nominated competitors were not eligible for the award. Licorice Pizza has won the most precursors, including a surprising BAFTA win, but I think my ambivalence for the movie keeps me from wanting to list it as the favorite. There were a number of cute scenes, but it did not feel like it added up to a full movie at the end. If it had won the Writers Guild award, I would have listed it as the prohibitive favorite, but it could not pull that off. Belfast was a nice movie but also one that did not pack as big a punch as it could have. It did win awards from the Golden Globes, which may not mean much anymore, and the Critics Choice, but the fact that it could not pull off the BAFTA win with a home country advantage does give me pause. However, I do wonder if the Academy will finally see fit to award Kenneth Branagh with an Oscar. He has been nominated for eight Oscars through the years and is the first person to be nominated in seven different categories. This is probably his best chance to win in the three categories he is up for this year. It may well go to Licorice Pizza, but I am rooting for Kenneth Branagh and Belfast to win the award.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Winner Predictions

  • CODA (WL R) (TB R) [New] (TL R) [New]
  • Drive My Car
  • Dune
  • The Lost Daughter
  • The Power of the Dog (PP O)

Runner-Up Predictions

  • CODA (PP R) [New]
  • The Power of the Dog (WL R) (TB O) (TL R) [New]

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Wesley Lovell: It’s clear from the precursors that Power of the Dog has the best script and I would agree with that, but CODA snagged the BAFTA and WGA and because of its upward trajectory, it seems likely that it will take out Power of the Dog here.
Peter J. Patrick: The only way Campion loses this one is if they feel she would be winning too many awards. The overhyped CODA, having pulled off a surprise win at the BAFTAs, seems to be its biggest threat.
Tripp Burton: Two weeks ago this seemed like a lock for The Power of the Dog, but a series of surprise wins by CODA in the precursors make it a lock now. What a crazy season.
Thomas La Tourrette: For a long time, it looked like The Power of the Dog would easily win this award. It had won by far the most precursor awards and was on pace to win the Oscar. Then The Lost Daughter won the Spirit and USC Scripter awards, which made one think it might have a chance. And then all the momentum turned to CODA, especially when it won the BAFTA for adapted screenplay, as well as other non-writing awards. It has gone from being a longshot to the marginal favorite very quickly. It would still not surprise me if The Power of the Dog wins, but I thoroughly expect CODA to be named when they open the envelope.

KEY:

Appears on Four Lists
Appears on Three Lists
Appears on Two Lists

Wesley Lovell Peter Patrick Tripp Burton Thomas LaTourrette
[New] = New Prediction
[Return] = Prior Prediction Returning
(O) = Original Prediction
(R) = Rundown Series

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