Oscars Watch Guide: Original Screenplay

Michael Springthorpe
7 min readNov 9, 2022


This is where the Big Boys come to play. Updated 1/8/2

Every year, it feels like Original and Adapted Screenplay split so one of them is comprised of fun entries with a smattering of heavy hitters, and the other is just The Frontrunners For Best Picture. This year, Original gets the distinction as the High Category.

As it stands now, Best Picture is almost definitely going to be nominated here. We especially have four absolute monsters — all at least co-written by the director, who may very well also be our slate for Best Director. And that’s just four out of the five predictions. We’ve got past winners, mega writer-directors, and Best Picture contenders all the way down the line.

In this series, starting below with the aformentioned category, I will outline my Predictions, On Decks, and Dark Horses to get nominated in the eight “major” Oscar categories. Hell, I’ve even thrown in Springthorpe’s Wild Card, a movie or role with zero chance of gettin nominated, but 100% worth your time. For each, I provide my take on the film and where (or when) you can find them. Let’s get going!


The Banshees of Inisheerin

Where to Find It: On HBOMax now!

Oscar Power: It’s Martin McDonagh in a major awards player. If you get a famous playwright-turned-filmmaker in the Oscars mix, then you have a lock for Screenplay. What’s extra special about this movie is that it is obviously a words-and-dialogue-centered film, but it’s also very pretty to look at!

Springthorpe’s Take: A fun, under-discussed-because-it’s-McDonagh aspect of this movie is that a lot of its dialogue is in Irish vernacular, so it’s damn near indecipherable at times (in a good way!). The movie is hilarious and heartbreaking, go see it because it is gonna feckin’ matter.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Where to Find It: On Showtime now, which is not a usual streamer, but is definitely worth it for more than just this (it’s A24’s go-to streamer home!)

Oscar Power: The little indie sci-fi family comedy-drama that could!!! If you asked me in March what EEAAO’s Oscar chances were, I would’ve said “Original Screenplay is all it can do,” but now…..Original Screenplay is the BARE MINIMUM this movie will do.

Springthorpe’s Take: It’s the fifth-best movie ever made (behind Arrival, Talladega Nights, The Graduate, and Broadcast News), what more do I have to say that The Daniels’ script doesn’t already?

The Fabelmans

Where to Find It: On VOD now!

Oscar Power: Spielberg and Kushner are back for fourths, right after West Side Story made no money and still got a buttload of nominations. The movie is the sole frontrunner for Best Picture as of now, and a BP nomination is the only real example of trickle-down philosophy ever.

Springthorpe’s Take: Look, we all knew Spielberg was a good director, but (with his pal Tony Kuchner’s help) he’s also a damn good writer! In some ways, the movie doesn’t have a plot, but it is so deeply personal, reflective, and — most importantly — weird.


Where to Find It: On VOD now!

Oscar Power: Of all the writer-director bosses coming into this category, Todd Field feels the most balanced as both, especially with this film. As with The Fabelmans, this movie is benefitting from a BP nom’s influence in the lower categories. Cate may be it’s only major win, but the nomination is there.

Springthorpe’s Take: Are you looking for me to tell you this movie doesn’t slap? Look somewhere else! I don’t care how “a two-hour-and-forty-minute movie where Cate Blanchett plays a classical music composer who gets canceled” makes you squirm, it’s worth it!

Triangle of Sadness

Where to Find It: On VOD now!

Oscar Power: I once thought that this film would be kneecapped by the fact that it’s mostly in English, and, therefore, not a contender for International Film. As the precursors have begun rolling out, though, its handle has improved, if anything. In the last few years, the Academy has gotten exponentially more international, and this may be 2022’s Chosen International Film (even if it won’t be nominated for, um, International Film).

Springthorpe’s Take: One of my favorite movies of the year. Hilarious. HILARIOUS. While there are some excellent performances and amazing directing choices, the script is the real story here.

On Deck

Decision to Leave

Where to Find It: In theaters now!

Oscar Power: For the last four years, Oscar has essentially reserved one of its five Best Director noms for an international film. Since then, this has grown from Cold War just getting Director to the spot being a reliable indicator of multiple nominations for one lucky film. While Triangle is looking to be set up as that designee, Decision is a not-too-distant second.

Springthorpe’s Take: Okay, um, HOT?! Park’s script is hands down the best part of this script. As he told me in a before-the-movie talking head, the movie is understandably macabre, but surprisingly VERY funny. One scene in particular resonates in my mind, where one main character struggles to respond while the other keeps sending. Him. Texts. Just. One Thought. At. A. Time.


Where to Find It: In theaters now!

Oscar Power: One of the last movies to be seen by critics this year, this assumed frontrunner was suddenly dashed by an elephant-sized shit of mixed reviews. It’s unfortunately been branded with the deathword “divisive”. Possibly a bit too coke-addled for the 65-and-up Academy, the movie’s last hope is the Academy’s incessant love of Movies About Hollywood.

Springthorpe’s Take: I am a well-documented lover of BIG movies. This movie is one of the biggest. Not necessarily in on-the-screen scope (Avatar takes the cake this year, but this one certainly isn’t far off), but rather Damien has more to say than almost any other film this year. Does it work for everyone? No, but I’m not everyone.

Dark Horses

Empire of Light

Where to Find It: In theaters now!

Oscar Power: Another autobiographical-ish movie, starring Oscar darling Olivia Colman also about The Power Of The Movies, the only things getting in the way of this film getting every award is the fact that Steven Spielberg did the same thing with un-awarded Michelle Williams in the same year, and its dismal box office.

Springthorpe’s Take: It’s fine. It’s a movie! But specifically related to the script, it’s doing way too many things at once, and it fails because of that.

The Woman King

Where to Find It: On VOD now!

Oscar Power: This movie truly is the Dark Horse of Dark Horses of this year’s award race. It’s constantly talked about in terms of serious awards, but always as an outlier. Will it be completely shut out? Hopefully not, but it could also make quiet appearances all over the place.

Springthorpe’s Take: This movie really is Gladiator. A huge film with badass fighting, gorgeous visuals, and stellar performances, everything you could imagine about this simultaneously hypermodern yet classic-feeling sword-and-sandal flick is true.

Springthorpe’s Wild Card


Where to Find It: On HBOMax now!

Why It Has No Chance: It’s a horror movie. That’s, unfortunately, it.

Springthorpe’s Take: I’m not a true horror stan, but this is one of the best horror movies of the year, and probably the one we will be most talking about in a decade. The movie’s whole ad campaign was built around “don’t read anything about it” and it could not be more correct. Stop reading this now and go watch it! I’m serious!



Michael Springthorpe

Camp Director, Teacher, Performer, and Writer who moved to New York City, then realized there's no woods here. @springthorpeman on Twitter and Instagram.