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  • Sheldon Gaskell

2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

Updated: Feb 8, 2020

Nominees: Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917), Rian Johnson (Knives Out), Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin-won (Parasite)

Will Win: Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Runners-up: Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin-won (Parasite)

Should Win: Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin-won (Parasite)

Runners-up: Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Rian Johnson (Knives Out)

My Choice: Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin-won (Parasite)

My Nominees: Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story); Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire); Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie, and Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems); Rian Johnson (Knives Out)

Runners-up: Robert Eggers and Max Eggers (The Lighthouse), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Pedro Almodóvar (Pain and Glory)

Quentin Tarantino has a habit of picking up awards in this category, so I wouldn't put it past the Academy to award him yet again for his efforts, especially if he fails to secure his desired Best Director win. The writing in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, though once again brimming with Tarantino's crude, self-aware style, leaves much to be desired. Though the dialogue is humorous and realistic to that of the late sixties, the lack of clear narrative progression and sexist under-serving of women characters, especially as this film claims to be a retelling/revising of Sharon Tate's murder at the hands of Manson cultists, is highly problematic.

The writing in Parasite is one of the film's highlights, blending highly humorous and cleverly deceptive dialogue with unique character motivations and a remarkable twist that defies what the viewer expects the film to be. The method in which the lower-class Kim family integrates the upper-class Park establishment is brilliant and executed with such narrative precision that it feels possible. The rich themes of class struggle permeate the text and provide a foundation for further analysis more so than most films in recent memory.

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