Best Original Screenplay Oscar predictions by experts: ‘Three Billboards’ has edge over ‘Get Out,’ ‘Lady Bird’

Last year, four of the five Oscar nominees for Best Original Screenplay were crafted by writer/directors including the winner, “Manchester by the Sea,” by playwright turned filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan who also contended for Best Director. Our Oscar experts from major media outlets are predicting that auteurs will be well-represented again this year with the top four slots going to multi-hyphenates.

Martin McDonagh has the backing of nine experts for scripting his dark comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” That gives him leading odds of 10/3 to take home an Oscar bookend to the one he won in 2006 for the live action short “Six Shooter.”

Jordan Peele is the choice of five experts for his daring script for the hit “Get Out.” Greta Gerwig has the votes of three experts for her character study “Lady Bird.” And director Guillermo del Toro, along with Vanessa Taylor, has the support of two experts for his fantasy “The Shape of Water.”

In the last decade, the Best Original Screenplay Oscar has gone to writers of a wide-range of genres: dramas (“Birdman,”  “Manchester by the Sea”); comedies (“Juno,” “Midnight in Paris”); biopics (“Milk,” “The King’s Speech”); true-life stories (“Spotlight”); period pictures (“Django Unchained”); war movies (“The Hurt Locker”); and sci-fi (“Her”).

Regardless of the type of film, a nominee needs broad academy support to win this race. Indeed, all 10 of these most recent Best Original Screenplay winners were, at the least, Best Picture nominees. And four of them won the big prize, bringing the total number of Best Picture champs with Oscar-winning screenplays to 16. By comparison, 41 films have done this on the adapted side.

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Below we break down the Oscar Best Original Screenplay predictions by expert and include the most up-to-date odds for each of the top 10 contenders to win. And be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in the other top races. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories.

1. Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”: 9 experts (10/3 odds)
Edward Douglas (Tracking Board)
Joyce Eng (TV Guide)
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post)
Dave Karger (IMDB)
Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby)
Keith Simanton (IMDB)
Sasha Stone (Awards Daily)
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
Brian Truitt (USA Today)
Adnan Virk (ESPN)

2. Jordan Peele: “Get Out”: Five experts (9/2 odds)
Erik Davis (Fandango)
Tim Gray (Variety)
Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood)
Kevin Polowy (Yahoo)
Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly)

3. Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”: Three experts (5/1 odds)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby)
Anne Thompson (Indiewire)
Sara Vilkomerson (Entertainment Weekly)

4. Guillermo Del Toro, Vanessa Taylor, “The Shape of Water”: Two experts (6/1 odds)
Tariq Khan (Fox News)
Jack Mathews (Gold Derby)

5. Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjani: “The Big Sick”: (12/1 odds)

6. Liz Hannah, Josh Singer, “The Post”: Three experts (5/1 odds)
Michael Musto (NewsNowNext)
Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere)
Susan Wloszczyna (

7. Anthony McCarten, “Darkest Hour”: (20/1 odds)

8. Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”: (66/1 odds)

9. Woody Allen, “Wonder Wheel” (66/1 odds)

10. Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor: “Downsizing”: (80/1 odds)

2018 Oscars Best Original Screenplay: Experts Predictions

Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.

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