Oscars scorecard: ‘Oppenheimer’ moves further ahead after WGA nominations

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This is the latest round in this year’s 35 boxes theory: the WGA nominations. This theory tracks a film’s support across the industry throughout awards season. The test is made up of 35 boxes, each one presenting a key nomination or win that a potential Best Picture champion typically needs to get in order to win the Oscars’ big prize. All of the big awards organizations are involved here, including the Golden Globes, the SAGs, DGAs, PGAs, the BAFTAs, the Critics Choice Awards, and more.

The idea is, the more boxes a film ticks off, the greater the movie’s support across the industry, the higher the chance that flick has of winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards. For example, in 2019, “Green Book” won 23 of these 35 boxes before winning Best Picture at the Oscars. Conversely, “Roma” filled in only 19 boxes while both “BlacKkKlansman” and “The Favourite” were at 20. Each of the three previous Best Picture winners prior to “Green Book” numbered among the top three entries on our season-end charts.

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The last round saw “Oppenheimer” extend its lead at the top of the tree to 27 boxes ticked after a fruitful night at the BAFTAs. There were four boxes available to be ticked off that round (BAFTA Best Picture Win, BAFTA Directing Win, BAFTA Acting Win, and BAFTA Writing Win) with “Oppenheimer” snagging three out of four (all but BAFTA Writing Win). This time, however, there is only one box available. But multiple films can tick this box off, as it’s WGA Nomination. Here are the results.

The WGA a tricky one as certain films are always ineligible. This means that there are always a few big names missing. Still, it is the official guild of one of the main filmmaking disciplines, so it’s important to include it. They have two writing categories: Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Original Screenplay nominees are “Air” (Alex Convery), “Barbie” (Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach), “The Holdovers” (David Hemingson), “May December” (Samy Burch and Alex Mechanik), and “Past Lives” (Celine Song). “Air” and “May December” failed to make the cut in the Oscars Best Picture lineup, so we can ignore those two bids. “Barbie,” “The Holdovers,” and “Past Lives” are all Best Picture nominees, however, so they each get a box ticked off. “Barbie” is now on 16, “The Holdovers” on 18, and “Past Lives” on 11.

The Adapted Screenplay nominees are “American Fiction” (Cord Jefferson), “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” (Kelly Fremon Craig), “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese), “Nyad” (Julia Cox), and “Oppenheimer” (Christopher Nolan). Again, two films can be ignored as they aren’t in the Best Picture race: “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” and “Nyad.” Meanwhile, “American Fiction” is now up to 12 boxes ticked, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is on 18, and “Oppenheimer” is on a whopping 28.

Four of the 10 Best Picture nominees weren’t nominated by the WGA, with “Maestro” (Josh Singer and Bradley Cooper) snubbed in Original Screenplay and “Anatomy of a Fall” (Justine Triet and Arthur Harari), “Poor Things” (Tony McNamara), and “The Zone of Interest” (Jonathan Glazer) all left out of the Adapted Screenplay lineup. This means that these four films have fallen slightly behind, particularly “Poor Things,” which was the closest challenger to “Oppenheimer” in second place. Here are the rankings so far:

  • “Oppenheimer” — 28

  • “Poor Things” — 20

  • “The Holdovers” and “Killers of the Flower Moon” — 18

  • “Anatomy of a Fall” and “Barbie” — 16

  • “Maestro” — 13

  • “American Fiction” — 12

  • “Past Lives” — 11

  • “The Zone of Interest” — 8

The next round in this theory will be the SAG Awards on February 24, where there will be two boxes up for grabs: SAG Ensemble Win and SAG Solo Win. Only one movie can tick off the former box — the guild’s equivalent to Best Picture — while up to four movies can check off the Solo Win box. After that, it’s the PGAs on February 25 in what is a quick turnaround.

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