“Get Out” got a huge Oscar boost by winning Best Original Screenplay at Sunday’s Writers Guild Awards, while “Call Me by Your Name” picked up Best Adapted Screenplay as expected. Now they will try to replicate their victories at the Oscars, which has matched both WGA winners 12 times since WGA standardized its categories 33 years ago.
More than any other guild, there are a lot of asterisks when it comes to WGA champs and comparisons with Oscar. There have been a number of eventual screenplay Oscar winners who were ineligible at WGA, including four this century: 2010’s “The King’s Speech (Best Original Screenplay), 2012’s “Django Unchained” (Best Original Screenplay), 2013’s “12 Years a Slave” (Best Adapted Screenplay) and 2014’s “Birdman” (Best Original Screenplay). This year, of course, Martin McDonagh’s original script “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was ineligible.
But even with the ineligibilities, since WGA eradicated its comedy and drama categories in 1984, at least one WGA winner has gone on to nab Oscar (this includes last year’s WGA original champ “Moonlight,” which won in adapted at the Oscars). Only twice has neither WGA winner repeated at the Oscars: 1984’s “Broadway Danny Rose” (original) and “The Killing Fields” (adapted) fell to “Places in the Heart” and “Amadeus,” respectively, at the Oscars, while 2002 Oscar original champ “Talk to Her” wasn’t eligible at WGA and adapted champ “The Pianist” wasn’t nominated at WGA, which went with “Bowling for Columbine” and “The Hours.”
Boding well for both “Get Out” and “Call Me by Your Name” is that many of the 2-for-2 WGA and Oscar matches have occurred in the past 15 years, after the shortened calendar went into effect. This includes a five-year stretch with 2004’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (original) and “Sideways” (adapted); 2005’s “Crash” (original) and “Brokeback Mountain” (adapted); 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine” (original) and “The Departed” (adapted); 2007’s “Juno” (original) and “No Country for Old Men” (adapted); and 2008’s “Milk” (original) and “Slumdog Millionaire” (adapted). 2011 (“Midnight in Paris” and “The Descendants”) and 2015 (“Spotlight” and “The Big Short”) are the most recent WGA-to-Oscar transfers.
“Call Me by Your Name,” by James Ivory, is the safest of the two to repeat, given the weak adapted field this year, which includes three nominees (“The Disaster Artist,” “Logan” and “Molly’s Game”) that are the sole nominations for their films. “Call Me by Your Name” has a commanding 2/13 odds in our latest predictions.
Best Original Screenplay is where all the action is at. While Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” might now have a leg up on “Lady Bird” and “The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards” could certainly swoop in for the Oscar, not unlike fellow WGA-ineligible original scripts “The King’s Speech” and “Birdman” en route to the Best Picture Oscar. “Three Billboards” is currently in second in our odds behind “Lady Bird” and ahead of “Get Out.”
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