'Django Unchained' leads tight three-way Oscar race for Original Screenplay

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Feb 18 2013 12:32 pm
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With the top Best Picture contenders battling in Oscar's Adapted Screenplay category -- including "Argo," "Lincoln," "Life of Pi," and "Silver Linings Playbook" -- the race for Best Original Screenplay appears to be wide open according to our predictors, with three films neck-and-neck as we approach the finish line on Sunday, February 24.

"Django Unchained"
Written by Quentin Tarantino, who also directed, "Django" leads with 9/4 odds based on support from 11 out of 26 experts, four out of nine editors, and 52% of users.

This season, the spaghetti western has won screenwriting awards from BAFTA, the Golden Globes, and Critics' Choice. It was ineligible at the WGA Awards.

This is Tarantino's fifth Oscar nomination and his third for writing. He previously won this category in 1994 for "Pulp Fiction."

Written by Michael Haneke, who also directed, "Amour" ranks second with 14/5 odds. Six experts, five editors, and 21% of users think it will win.

The French-language drama about an elderly man and his dying wife was nominated for writing by the BAFTA Awards and the European Film Awards. It was not eligible to compete at the WGA Awards.

Including his nomination this year for directing "Amour," this is Haneke's second Oscar nomination.

"Zero Dark Thirty"
Written by Mark Boal, "Zero Dark Thirty" is in third place with 10/3 odds. Nine experts and 23% of users predict it to win, but none of our editors agree.

The epic thriller about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden was recently awarded with the WGA Award, where its chief Oscar competitors were not eligible. It also received writing nominations from the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and Critics' Choice.

Including his Best Picture nominatiion this year for "Zero Dark Thirty," this is Boal's fourth Oscar nomination. He previously won Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for "The Hurt Locker" in 2009.

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"Moonrise Kingdom"
Co-written by Roman Coppola and director Wes Anderson, "Moonrise Kingdom" is in fourth place with 13/2 odds. 3% of users think it will win.

The whimsical story of two kids who run away from home to be together was also nominated for writing at the BAFTAs, Critics' Choice Awards, and the WGA Awards. It's also nominated for Best Screenplay at the Spirit Awards, where it also contends for Best Feature.

This is the first Oscar nomination for Coppola, but the third for Anderson, who was previously nominated in this category for "The Royal Tenenbaums" in 2001 and for Best Animated Feature for "Fantastic Mr. Fox" in 2009.

Written by John Gatins, "Flight" ranks last with distant 10/1 odds. Only six users out of more than 1,300 predict it will win.

The drama about an alcoholic airline pilot who saves his passengers during an emergency landing was also nominated for writing at the Critics' Choice and WGA Awards.

This is Gatins's first Oscar nomination.

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3 BirdmanBirdman
4 The Imitation GameThe Imitation Game
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