Now that the PGA has announced, the WGA nominations drop tomorrow, January 7, and the DGA nominations follow the next day. That will give us a mostly complete idea of Oscars 2019, though we pretty much know how it’s all going to go down, give or take a winner here or there.
There are no frontrunners yet, in any category, because there are a lot of different ways this race can still go, and many forces driving it in different directions. There is the popular film category debacle that has awards voters putting their support behind “popular” blockbusters. There is the unprecedented array of black filmmakers telling black stories that is a big deal this year. There is the Netflix factor, the superhero franchise factor. There is the money made factor. There is the “white woke Oscar” factor driving people away from some films and towards others. Virtue signaling reaching an all-time high and making it impossible to tell what people really think: just what they want other people to think they think has led to some confusion all around as to how this will all end up.
Can the WGA offer some clues as to how it might go? Maybe.
First off, here are the ineligible screenplays:
Original: The Favourite, Sorry to Bother You, Hereditary, Isle of Dogs, At Eternity’s Gate, Blindspotting, The Other Side of the World, All Is True, The Rider, Stan and Ollie, The Death of Stalin, Cold War, Shoplifters, Capernum
Adapted: The Sisters Brothers, Leave No Trace, Incredibles 2, Disobedience
Second, the screenplay award is almost always the secondary award for Best Picture. Screenplay is tied to Best Picture lately even more than director. That is true of the Oscars and can be true (though not necessarily) for the WGA.
Last year, all of the Best Picture heat was in Original Screenplay. This year, the heat appears to be in Adapted, if you believe it’s down to A Star Is Born vs. Black Panther vs. BlacKkKlansman, with Roma being the standout original offering.
Here is how we think it will go:
A Star is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters — Sasha Stone, Marshall Flores, Jazz Tangcay
BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee — Stone, Flores, Tangcay, Ryan Adams
If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins — Stone, Flores, Adams
Can You Ever Forgive Me, Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty — Stone, Flores, Adams
Black Panther, Ryan Coogler — Stone, Flores, Tangcay
First Man — Tangcay, Adams
Crazy Rich Asians — Tangcay
Widows — Adams
Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly — Stone, Flores, Tangcay, Adams
First Reformed, Paul Schrader — Stone, Flores, Tangcay, Adams
Roma, Alfonso Cuaron — Stone, Flores, Tangcay, Adams
Vice, Adam McKay — Stone, Flores, Tangcay
Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham — Stone, Flores, Adams
A Quiet Place — Tangcay
Private Life — Adams