2021 Best Original Screenplay Winner, Nominees & Odds

2021 Best Original Screenplay Winner, Nominees & Odds article feature image
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Emily Assiran/Getty Images for Pizza Hut. Pictured: Promising Young Woman director Emeral Fennell (left) with stars Carey Mulligan and Bo Burnham.

Update: Promising Young Woman took home the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.


Best Original Screenplay Nominees & Odds

Nominee Odds Implied Prob.
Promising Young Woman -455 82%
The Trial of the Chicago 7 +275 26.71%
Minari +1400 6.7%
Sound of Metal +3300 2.9%
Judas and the Black Messiah +3300 2.9%
Odds as of April 24 and via DraftKings.

Best Original Screenplay Predictions

The Trial of the Chicago 7 +275

Collin WhitchurchIn both screenwriting categories, it’s important to keep in mind that the Academy’s qualifications are much different from the Writer’s Guild of America’s top prizes. Every year, the WGA’s nominations leave out several Oscar contenders that were not written by guild members, and this year’s list included Nomadland, Mank, Minari and more.

That said, it’s tough to argue with Promising Young Woman as the strong favorite. The BAFTAs have a so-so predictive record (12 of the last 20 correct) and Promising Young Woman emerged victorious there over The Trial of the Chicago 7. Although it’s important to note that the BAFTAs drastically overhauled their voting process this year, so even that track record is tough to fully figure.

I think this is where Promising Young Woman gets rewarded where it’s going to fall short in most of the bigger categories (unless Mulligan pulls out Best Actress), but I can see an argument for The Trial of the Chicago 7. The Academy loves Aaron Sorkin. Well, it at least loves to nominate him, at least. And a loss here would make him 1-for-4 in screenwriting nominations.

This category is right in line with where we often see upsets, though, so I’m recommending a play on Sorkin’s Trial down to +200. Minari is the toughest to figure, so my recommendation there is to watch for movement and if you see the odds start to shorten, jump before they get to short.

Minari +1400

Collin Wilson: This is a tricky category because of the rules that follow the analytics. The Writers Guild winner generally follows up with an Academy Award. That is good news for Promising Young Woman — winner of the Writers Guild Original Screenplay over The Trial or the Chicago 7, Sound of Metal and Judas and the Black Messiah. But the movie missing from that list is Minari.

Due to restrictions, Minari was ineligible to be nominated at the Writers Guild, making the nominee a complete wildcard. The movie did pull six nominations from the BAFTA’s and 10 from the Critics Choice Awards. If there is an ace in the hold, it may be Lee Isaac Chung filling the role of writer and director.

Writing from life experiences and directing is what got Almost Famous and Moonlight to the window.

OSCARmetrics predicts a 12% chance for a Writers Guild ineligible entry to defeat other nominees that were up for the WGA, while the favorite is 67%. The correct odds for Minari should be +700 and Promising Young Woman at -200. With those buy prices, Minari is the pick, but keep an eye out for steam and a cheap buy on the clubhouse leader.

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