Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay:
Bridge of Spies
Straight Outta Compton
This is almost a definitive lock, winning the majority of the pre-Oscar award shows including the Writers Guild Award and BAFTA, however it must be noted it did not win the Golden Globe, though the winner there, Steve Jobs, was not nominated in this category or in the Adapted Screenplay category, bolstering Spotlights chances. Spotlights ability to balance realistic journalism with a sensitive subject is something that is incredibly appealing to voters especially due to its relevance. There is, however, some detracting aspects. Firstly, (and this could also be seen as a positive), is that the film, due to its subject matter, does attack elements of the church, and can often make general statements regarding priests outside of simply the Boston church. Some older Christian voters may be taken back by such elements, however due to the films strong factual perspective and Spotlight’s large nomination haul, this is unlikely. On the other hand, such a brutal look at such a matter may be deemed as important and voters may want to put a ‘spotlight’ on this.
In regard to Spotlights competition, all films have a real chance at taking a steal. Bridge of Spies deals with a World War II context (and written by Academy favourites, the Coen Brothers), which is definitely popular with voters, though that film hasn’t won many precursor awards and its screenplay hasn’t necessarily been pointed out as the films highlight. Ex Machina surprised in its nominations, gaining the screenplay as well as visual effects. This means voters were certainly taking notice of the film, and in a year that dealt with many differing elements of A.I, it may be the perfect year to award such a script, even if such a nomination was out of no where. Inside Out should be seen as the category’s dark horse. Pixar has seen incredible success at the Oscars and has been nominated for this award multiple times, but without a win. Inside Out perfectly dealt with strong psychological ideas while remaining true to its audience and animated nature, and has also won many awards for it’s script. Finally Straight Outta Compton is another true story that has an incredible backing. Due to the Oscar Diversity Controversy, this film probably has a better chance at gaining a win than it may have had before, though many critic’s biggest problem was with the scripts drawn out length and inability to juggle many different storylines. However it cannot be forgotten that the film has probably had the biggest impact on pop culture out of all the films in the category, as well as creating a conversation amongst its audience. Something that is incredibly important.
Potential Spoiler: Inside Out