The Writers Guild is the least important guild, since so many of the inevitable nominees were never eligible, and in the case of this year, two are eligible only in the other category from which they were considered by the WGA. But you can kinda suss things out if you try, so let's look at what ended up in the nominations that came down this morning.
- Hell or High Water
- La La Land
- Manchester By the Sea
Okay, so here's the thing. Both Loving and Moonlight are only eligible at the Oscars in the adapted screenplay category, so that leaves two open slots right there. The other three are virtual locks, as they have been performing well all season and are guaranteed Best Picture nominees, so this leaves the open slots to be filled with several different options. We've got Jackie, Toni Erdmann, 20th Century Women, The Lobster and Zootopia as the most likely candidates. I'll go ahead and predict The Lobster and Zootopia. It's a shot in the dark, but The Lobster has been singled out by critics for its very original screenplay for months, and popular animated films have a long history of making it in for screenplay when acclaimed enough, even though it's always been a slot reserved for Pixar only (with the exception of the original Shrek way back in 2001). But I think with the love shown for Zootopia this year, and especially its clever screenplay, this could be Disney's first nod in the category.
- Hidden Figures
- Nocturnal Animals
First off, we've got to make way for Moonlight here, so that knocks off Nocturnal Animals for sure. And some would say Deadpool's an obvious non-starter as well, but I'm not so sure about that. It would be a surprise, yes, but this nomination coupled with the ACE nod yesterday, and the movie's starting to look pretty strong. If it gets a PGA nomination, I'd stick with it to land a surprise screenplay nod at the Oscars as well. But of course, a superhero movie is always a long shot, so other options would be Loving, Silence, and perhaps Sully. But I'm not sure any of those movies have the enthusiasm or passion needed to get in, so don't count Deadpool out on this one.