I previously mentioned that over the next few weeks I'd be taking a look at the nominees in eight major categories for the 2011 Academy Awards. I'll be writing about what I think will win, what I want to win, and my thoughts about each category overall.
Here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay:
Mike Leigh - Another Year
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson - The Fighter
Christopher Nolan - Inception
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg - The Kids are All Right
David Seidler - The King's Speech
The first time nominees dominate this category, and one of them will most likely win the little gold man. David Seidler hasn't had a high profile Hollywood movie since 1988's Tucker: A Man and His Dream, and his first Academy Award nomination for The King's Speech will also likely be his first win as well. It seems like not a day goes by that I don't hear someone mention this movie. Both critics and general audiences appear to love it in equal measure, and since the buzz has been building on a Best Picture win, I'd put my money on a win for this category as well. (If I were a better man. Which I'm not.)
If another one of these writers rips the gold out from Seidler's hands, though, it will most likely be Mike Leigh, the only nominee out of this bunch. Almost every one of Leigh's films since 1996's Secrets & Lies has been nominated for Best Screenplay, and he has a total of seven nominations altogether (for writing and directing) in the past fourteen years. The Academy has given the man plenty of love over the last decade and a half, but not enough for him to bring home a statue. Although I don't know much about Another Year, I have a feeling Leigh could snag a win based on his history with the award alone.
The Fighter features a strong come-back story, but is ultimately too formulaic to dominate the evening. The Kids are All Right seems to have shed much of the critical acclaim that accompanied its release and Annette Bening will most likely take home the film's only award win.
I think the odd horse here is Christopher Nolan's nomination for Inception. His first writing nod since 2000's Memento, I can only think the Academy bestowed this on him because they weren't going to bother nominating him for Best Director. They should have went the other way. Inception has many great things going for it. The screenplay is not one of those things. This should have been a slot for Black Swan, but I can only think that the film leans too far into horror territory for the Academy.