Magazine article Variety

Screenplays Aim for High Accolades

Magazine article Variety

Screenplays Aim for High Accolades

Article excerpt

ORIGINAL

HELL OR HIGH WATER (1)

Writer: Taylor Sheridan

Sheridan's tart, observant script, which first drew industry attention as a 2012 Black List title, focuses on a pair of bank robbers with a personal score to settle and the savvy Texas Ranger (Oscar nominee Jeff Bridges) on their trail.

Key kudos to date: Along with WGA, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Gotham, Spirit, and Critics' Choice noms, the script was the National Society of Film Critics' winner.

Finish-line report: While not a projected favorite in the category, actor-turned-screenwriter Sheridan has carved a formidable name for himself as a Hollywood scribe with serious writing chops.

LA LA LAND (2)

Writer: Damien Chazelle

Chazelle's retro-glamorous and gloriously stylish "La La Land" has hit the highest of Oscar notes with 14 nominations, including a coveted nom for Chazelle for original screenplay. The film is tied with "Titanic" and the classic 1950 Bette Davis starrer "All About Eve" for the most nominations.

Key kudos to date: Chazelle's script won gold at the Golden Globes and the top prize at the Critics' Choice Awards. The script also garnered noms from WGA and BAFTA.

Finish-line report: With critics and audiences going gaga over "La La Land," it's the projected favorite come Oscar night.

THE LOBSTER (3)

Writers: Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou

The absurdist film imagines a future in which singles have 45 days to couple up at The Hotel or face being turned into an animal of their choice.

Key kudos to date: After fielding acclaim from film critics across the board, including a Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. award win, the screenplay has received Golden Globe and Critics' Choice noms.

Finish-line report: "The Lobster" is haunting and innovative, but remains a dark horse in a field of strong contenders.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA 4)

Writer: Kenneth Lonergan

This brooding drama snagged noms in almost every major category, making it a major contender for a screenplay win.

Key kudos to date: In addition to BAFTA, Critics Choice, New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics, and National Board of Review wins, noms include WGA, Golden Globe, Gotham, and Spirit awards.

Finish-line report: A critical darling with strong box office, the heartbreaking film could prove too gloomy for voters.

20TH CENTURY WOMEN (5)

Writer: Mike Mills

This film, starring Annette Bening as its feisty, free-thinking heroine, evokes all the emotions of being a woman, particularly a woman in the '70s and '80s, and it's a theme that resonates loudly in a nation where millions of women took to the streets after President Trump's inauguration.

Key kudos to date: Up for a Spirit award, the script has been praised for its pitch-perfect, nostalgic look at feminism on the cusp of the Reagan era.

Finish-line report: Mills' script is one of the funniest and most poignant to emerge this awards season.

ADAPTED

ARRIVAL (6)

Writer: Eric Heisserer (screenplay) and Ted Chiang (novella, "Story of Your Life")

The challenge faced by Heisserer in penning "Arrival" was to adapt Chiang's award-winning 1998 novella into a compelling major motion picture. He succeeds tenfold. The film brilliantly builds upon timely themes of communication, tolerance, and compassion toward entities whose viewpoints clash with our own. …

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