Oscars Predictions: Best Original Screenplay – ‘Licorice Pizza’ Could Be the Best Opportunity to Give Paul Thomas Anderson a Statuette

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Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar and Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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2022 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

UPDATED: Dec 23, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: This category could present an opportunity to finally reward eight-time nominee Paul Thomas Anderson for his coming-of-age comedy, “Licorice Pizza.” He’ll face some stiff competition.

Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film “Belfast” is opening in theaters this week and has already attracted an immense amount of Oscar buzz, currently sitting as the frontrunner for best picture, director and several other categories. With honors and audience awards from various festivals, the Focus Features black-and-white drama has the famed filmmaker on a path to make Oscar history.

For “Belfast,” Branagh serves as one of the producers (along with Laura Berwick, Becca Kovacik and Tamar Thomas), which makes him eligible to be nominated for best picture, along with director and original screenplay. He’s received five nominations during his career, all across different categories – director, actor, supporting actor (“My Week with Marilyn”), adapted screenplay (“Hamlet”) and live action short (“Swan Song”).

Pending any unforeseen catastrophe, Branagh is on track to add two new categories to his arsenal (picture and original screenplay). This possibility could set a couple of records for the Ireland native. First, he would tie George Clooney, Alfonso Cuarón and Walt Disney as the only ones to be nominated in six different categories if he picks up one of the two. Second, capturing both would make Branagh the first person in Oscar history to pick up noms in seven individual categories, surpassing all of them.

In addition, Branagh would join the company of Clooney and Warren Beatty as the only people to have received noms in every eligible major category — picture, director, lead or supporting acting and either screenplay.

Oscar nominations voting begins on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, and will end on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. The official Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, with the ceremony taking place on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022.

Awards Season Calendar (2021-2022)

Actor Jude Hill (left) on the set of BELFAST, a Focus Features release. Credit: Rob Youngson/Focus Features - Credit: Rob Youngson
Actor Jude Hill (left) on the set of BELFAST, a Focus Features release. Credit: Rob Youngson/Focus Features - Credit: Rob Youngson

Rob Youngson

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

RANK

FILM

DISTRIBUTOR

WRITER(S)

1

“Licorice Pizza”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Paul Thomas Anderson

2

“Belfast”

Focus Features

Kenneth Branagh

3

“King Richard”

Warner Bros

Zach Baylin

4

“C’mon C’mon”

A24

Mike Mills

5

“Don’t Look Up”

Netflix

Adam McKay, David Sirota

NEXT IN LINE

6

“Being the Ricardos”

Amazon Studios

Aaron Sorkin

7

“A Hero”

Amazon Studios

Asghar Farhadi

8

“Pig”

Neon

Michael Sarnoski, Vanessa Block

9

“Parallel Mothers”

Sony Pictures Classics

Pedro Almodóvar

10

“The French Dispatch”

Searchlight Pictures

Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola

OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS

11

“The Harder They Fall”

Netflix

Jeymes Samuel, Boaz Yakin

12

“Red Rocket”

A24

Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch

13

“The Card Counter”

Focus Features

Paul Schrader

14

“Mass”

Bleecker Street

Fran Kranz

15

“Titane”

Neon

Julia Ducournau, Jacques Akchoti, Simonetta Greggio

16

“Spencer”

Neon/Topic Studios

Steven Knight

17

“Stillwater”

Focus Features

Tom McCarthy, Marcus Hinchey, Thomas Bidegain, Noe Debre

18

“Encanto”

Walt Disney Pictures

Jared Bush, Charise Castro Smith

19

“Respect”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Callie Khouri, Tracey Scott Wilson

20

“Last Night in Soho”

Focus Features

Edgar Wright

ALSO IN CONTENTION

21

“Jockey”

Sony Pictures Classics

Clint Bentley, Greg Kwedar

22

“Nine Days”

Sony Pictures Classics

Edson Oda

23

“Flee”

Neon

Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Amin

24

“The Hand of God”

Netflix

Paolo Sorrentino

25

“Blue Bayou”

Focus Features

Justin Chon

26

“Bergman Island”

IFC Films

Mia Hansen-Løve

27

“Swan Song”

Apple Original Films

Benjamin Cleary

28

“Language Lessons”

Shout! Studios

Natalie Morales

29

“Luca”

Pixar

Jesse Andrews, Mike Jones

30

“Annette”

Amazon Studios

Ron Mael, Russell Mael

UNRANKED LISTING

“7 Prisoners”

Netflix

Thayná Mantesso, Alexandre Moratto

“A Chiara”

Neon

Jonas Carpignano

“American Underdog”

Lionsgate

David Aaron Cohen, Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin

“Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn”

Magnolia Pictures

Radu Jude

“Bruised”

Netflix

Michelle Rosenfarb

“Cicada

Strand Releasing

Matt Fifer, Sheldon D. Brown

“Encounter”

Amazon Studios

Joe Barton, Michael Pearce

“Finch”

Apple Original Films

Craig Luck, Ivor Powell

“Free Guy”

20th Century Studios

Matt Lieberman, Zak Penn

“Holler”

IFC Films

Nicole Riegel

“I’m Your Man”

Bleecker Street

Maria Schrader, Jan Schomburg, Emma Braslavsky

“John and the Hole”

IFC Films

Nicolás Giacobone

“Lamb”

A24

Valdimar Jóhannsson, Sjón

“Memoria”

Neon

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

“No Sudden Move”

HBO Max

Ed Solomon

“Petite Maman”

Neon

Celine Sciamma

“Raya and the Last Dragon”

Walt Disney Pictures

Qui Nguyen, Adele Lim

“Swan Song”

Magnolia Pictures

Todd Stephens

“Test Pattern”

Kino Lorber

Shatara Michelle Ford

“The Colour Room”

Sky Cinema

Claire Peate

“The Electrical Life of Louis Wain”

Amazon Studios

Will Sharpe, Simon Stephenson

“The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain”

Gravitas Ventures

David Midell

“The Tomorrow War”

Amazon Studios

Zach Dean

“The Velvet Underground”

Apple Original Films

Todd Haynes

“Together Together”

Bleecker Street

Nikole Beckwith

“Together”

Bleecker Street

Dennis Kelly

“Wild Indian”

Vertical Entertainment

Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr.

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Original Screenplay)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The most significant Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. Woody Allen has the most wins in original screenplay with three and nominations at 16. Charles Brackett, Paddy Chayefsky, Quentin Tarantino and Billy Wilder won twice. Federico Fellini is the second most nominated writer with six nominations. The most recent winner is Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.”

2022 Academy Awards Predictions

2021 Oscars predictions are here.

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The date for the 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022

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