What Do the WGA’s 2014 Nominations Mean for the Oscars?

HerWarner Bros. Entertainment

While the Writers Guild of America might not receive as much public attention as the Academy Awards do, those shaping their Oscar pools might want to pay the  organization a bit more mind. Since the year 2000, the WGA has accurately predicted the winners of the Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars 10 times each. With so much consistency living between the two circuit mainstays, it’s hard not to use Friday’s announcement of Writers Guild nominees to better estimate what sort of Academy results we’ll see come March.

Today, the WGA recognized the following 2013 screenplays for excellence in the Original and Adapted Screenplay categories:

Original Screenplay
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club

Adapted Screenplay
August: Osage County
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
Lone Survivor
The Wolf of Wall Street 

While we would not have bet heavily on either Dallas Buyers Club or Lone Survivor showing up on the WGA plate, the biggest surprise would have to be the absence of the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, which many have qualified as a hefty candidate for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. The absence of the New York-set character piece does not bode especially well for its Academy chances, but it does help to single out a frontrunner among the bunch of Original competitors: Her.

Without Llewyn Davis in its company, Her does seem like the title to beat. Surely, Alexander Payne delivers some phenomenal material in his dry, sweet Nebraska, but the imagination and emotional severity pumped into Spike Jonze’s first lone go at a feature screenplay is the kind of cinematic magic that the WGA is accustomed to recognizing.

The Wolf of Wall StreetParamount Pictures

Of course, that’s not to say that cynicism won’t get its share of celebration this year. Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street has earned no dearth of controversy, but also no dearth of critical esteem since its release on Christmas Day. Award circuit precogs are calling the film too raucous and extreme to win Best Picture (which is a slot many are assuming will fall in the hands of 12 Years a Slave regardless), but an Adapted Screenplay win could be right on the mark for the biographical story of major league swindler Jordan Belfort, scripted by Terence Winter.

The only Scorsese picture to date to earn a WGA win is The Departed, although several (including GoodFellas and Mean Streets) have been nominated before.

Additionally, we see nominations in the Documentary Screenplay category:

Documentary Screenplay
Dirty Wars
No Place on Earth 
Stories We Tell 
We Steal Secrets

Click back to the Writers Guild of America website to check out all of the nominees in television and radio.