WGA Awards nominations preview: Don’t look for Oscar contenders ‘Lion,’ ‘The Lobster’

Every year, the Writers Guild of America confounds our Oscar experts when it rules a slew of screenplays ineligible for their kudos. Only scripts written under the guild’s guidelines or those of several international partners are allowed to vie for these awards, which will be handed out on Feb. 19. So while the number of films in contention at this year’s Oscars numbers 336, only 60 original and 55 adapted screenplays are in the running for these precursor prizes. To that end, don’t look for several of our leading Oscar contenders among the WGA Awards nominees when they are announced on Jan. 4.

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This year, we have 27 Oscar experts drawn from major media making predictions at Gold Derby. Below, our exclusive odds for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars based on the predictions by these experts.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. “Moonlight” – 13/5
2. “Fences” – 10/3
3. “Arrival” – 9/2
4. “Lion ” – 9/1
5. “Nocturnal Animals” – 14/1

Possibilities
6. “Silence” – 20/1
7. “Hidden Figures” – 25/1
8. “Hacksaw Ridge” – 66/1
9. “A Monster Calls” – 80/1
10. “Love and Friendship” – 50/1

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. “Manchester by the Sea” – 3/2
2. “La La Land” – 4/1
3. “Hell or High Water” – 11/2
4. “Jackie” – 9/1
5. “The Lobster” – 20/1

Possibilities
5. “20th Century Women” – 28/1
7. “Captain Fantastic” – 40/1
8. “Zootopia” – 100/1
9. “Cafe Society” – 100/1
10. “Florence Foster Jenkins” – 100/1

Experts’ Oscars 2017 Best Picture predictions:
‘La La Land’ still far out front but watch out for ‘Moonlight’

As you can see, “Lion” sits at fourth place on our chart predicting the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nominees. But Luke Davies won’t be reaping a WGA bid as his film ran afoul of the requirement that foreign production companies prove their eligibility via a cumbersome process.

Other adapted screenplays nixed by the guild include a trio of animated hits — “Finding Dory,” “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “Zootopia” as well as three foreign-language films that are strong Oscar contenders in other categories — “Elle,” “The Handmaiden” and “Toni Erdmann” — as well as indie darling “Krisha.”

And while our top four frontrunners for the Original Screenplay Oscar are in the running with the guild, fifth-place contender “The Lobster” won’t number among the WGA nominees. Co-writers Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos already won Best Screenplay from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. for this deft satire and may well reap an Oscar bid as well.

Other original scripts deemed ineligible include the import “Florence Foster Jenkins” and the indie productions “Maggie’s Plan,” “Miss Sloane” and “Patterson.”

Predict the Oscar nominations now; change them till January 24

Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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