Oscars 2019: The field for the Oscar race so far

A Star is Born, photo credit: Neal Preston via WB Media Pass
A Star is Born, photo credit: Neal Preston via WB Media Pass /
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Best Original Screenplay

Likely nominees

  • Roma – Alfonso Cuaron
  • Eighth Grade – Bo Burnham
  • The Favourite – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
  • Hereditary – Ari Aster
  • Sorry to Bother You – Boots Riley

As for recognition for original works, the Academy doesn’t have as wide of a selection, with many of this year’s Oscar hopefuls being adapted from previously known works. That doesn’t mean that the Original Screenplay category is barren, as we are currently in the midst of several original works getting attention from movie-goers. Two of the most notable examples of popular original works are the A24 releases, Hereditary and Eighth Grade.

Eighth Grade, Oscars
Eighth Grade, A24. Photo courtesy A24 via EPK.tv /

Over the course of 3 months, these two films have went above and beyond in standing out among the most popular and successful releases by the rising film distribution company, A24. The company is best known for acquiring unconventional projects by unproven talent and while Bo Burnham has a notable online presence, his skills as a filmmaker were largely unnoticed until Eighth Grade reared its head. Its smart and accessible writing could easily resonate with the crop of young Oscar voters, much in the same way that Ari Aster’s Hereditary has, in terms of the horror genre. Infamous for its low Cinemascore, but surprisingly high box office numbers at about $80 million, Aster’s full-length debut has the full support of A24 behind it and with Get Out overcoming the odds to win Best Original Screenplay last year, you can bet that A24 will make a heavy, and more than likely worthwhile, push for the horror hit to do the same.

However, with the incoming wave of younger voters in the Academy, it could also open up the doors for weirder and more experimental works getting recognized. This is where the absurdist anti-Capitalist dark comedy, Sorry to Bother You, comes in. From musician-filmmaker, Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You examines the world of capitalism and gives it a bizarre, yet fitting twist, making for easily the most unique screenplay of the year. While this may not translate to Oscar recognition, the film’s surprise box office success (currently standing at $17 million) and hard-hitting politics could push the film to surprise Oscar success as well.

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU — Annapurna Pictures release — Acquired via EPK.TV
SORRY TO BOTHER YOU — Annapurna Pictures release — Acquired via EPK.TV /

If we’re speaking about unconventional cinema though, then The Favourite cannot go unmentioned, seeing as how it is an even bigger OS favorite (pun intended) than Sorry to Bother You. Yorgos Lanthimos has made a name for himself as a consistently high-quality director, having directed such films as The LobsterDogtooth, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, all of them their own unique spins on topics such as love and fate. With The Favourite, he will have nothing to do with the writing, sticking to the director’s chair and letting Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara handle writing duties. The quirkiness of the historical story has stuck well with critics, noting it as Lanthimos’ grand entrance to the mainstream. With that kind of attention, it’d be no surprise to see the writing get an Oscar nod.

But despite the heavy hype behind Lanthimos’ historical dark comedy, the Oscar nod may head over Alfonso Cuaron’s way again with his personal piece, Roma. Cuaron has proven himself as both a talented filmmaker and a favorite among the Academy’s elite. After his Best Director win for Gravity in 2013, Cuaron has taken a 5-year absence leading up to the historical Mexican drama, Roma, which has gained exceptional reviews coming out of Venice Film Festival, being regarded as his masterpiece. Despite its Netflix distribution, Roma‘s hype cannot go unnoticed and with this being an original vision from Cuaron, expect him to be the category’s leading man in the months to come.

Strongest frontrunner – Roma