Writers Guild of America Awards predictions: Oscar frontrunners ‘Spotlight’ and ‘The Big Short’ will win

The 68th annual edition of the Writers Guild of America awardsfest will be held simultaneously in LA and Gotham on Saturday (Feb. 13). The original screenplay nominees are: “Bridge of Spies,” “Sicario,” “Spotlight,” “Straight Outta Compton,” and “Trainwreck.” And the adapted screenplay contenders are: “The Big Short,”Carol,” “The Martian,” “Steve Jobs” and “Trumbo.” 

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Because these kudos only consider screenplays written under the guild’s guidelines or those of several international partners, four Oscar nominees were ineligible for consideration: the adaptations of “Brooklyn” and “Room” and the original scripts for “Ex Machina” and “Inside Out.” 

While 305 films are in the running for Best Picture at the Oscars, only 61 of these had original scripts that coud vie for WGA recognition while just 51 had adapted screenplays that could contend. Compare those figures to last year when 60 original scripts and 48 adaptations were eligible.

As such, these kudos are not the most reliable barometer of the eventual Oscar nominees, In the past six years only 37 of the WGA nominees have numbered among the 60 screenplays that reaped Oscar bids. Indeed, last year’s Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay, “Birdman,” was ineligible here. 

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The  WGA nominees for Best Original Screenplay are:

Bridge of Spies
Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

Sicario
Written by Taylor Sheridan

Spotlight
Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy

Straight Outta Compton
Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff;
Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Trainwreck
Written by Amy Schumer

Of these, “Bridge of Spies,” “Spotlight” and “Straight Outta Compton” also contend at the Oscars where the race is rounded out by the WGA-ineligible “Ex Machina” and “Inside Out.”

At both kudos, helmer Tom McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer are in the lead for the docudrama “Spotlight.” At the WGA, their odds of prevailing are 1/10. (At the Oscars, they enjoy leading odds of 2/11). Oscar-snubbed Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”) is in second at 33/1, followed by the trio of “Bridge of Spies” scribes at 40/1, the quartet behind “Straight Outta Compton” at 66/1 and actor turned screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (“Sicario”) at 80/1. 

Experts predictions: WGA Original Screenplay

The WGA nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay are: 

The Big Short
Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay;
Based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis

Carol
Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

The Martian
Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir;

Steve Jobs
Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Based on the book of the same name by Walter Isaacson

Trumbo
Screenplay by John McNamara;
Based on the book of the same name by Bruce Cook

Only three of these — “The Big Short,” “Carol” and “The Martian” — also reaped Oscar bids. The other Oscar nominees were ineligible here: “Brooklyn” (Nick Hornby‘s adaptation of Colm Toibin‘s novel of the same name) and “Room” (Emma Donoghue‘s adaptation of her novel of the same name).

At both these awards and the Oscars, director Adam McKay and co-writer Charles Randolph are far ahead. At the WGA, they lead with odds of 2/9. (At the Oscars, they are favored to win with odds of 2/13.) Oscar-snubbed Aaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”) is in second with odds of 8/1, followed by Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”) at 28/1, Drew Goddard (“The Martian”) at 33/1 and John McNamara (“Trumbo”) at 100/1. 

Experts predictions: WGA Adapted Screenplay

What do you think will win Best Original Screenplay at the WGAs? Make your predictions starting with that category to the right or at the bottom of this post.

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