road to the Oscars
The 2021 Oscars made history by nominating two female directors in one year for the first time ever. But keep an eye on the screenplay categories, too, where some more history might be made.
This year's Writers Guild of America Awards were given out on Sunday, and Promising Young Woman took the Best Original Screenplay prize, while Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won Best Adapted Screenplay. Both movies received boosts in Oscars momentum, as there's often — though not always — overlap between the two awards shows. Last year, for example, the two top WGAs winners both went on to win the equivalent screenplay Oscar (although in 2019, neither did).
It's important to note, though, that some films nominated for screenplay Oscars weren't in contention at Sunday's WGAs. With Best Adapted Screenplay, for example, while Borat did win, the Oscar frontrunner in that category is thought to be Nomadland, which wasn't eligible for the WGAs. The Father, which was nominated at the Oscars, also wasn't in the mix. But Borat's win still gives it an unexpected advantage over the Oscar-nominated One Night in Miami and The White Tiger.
Promising Young Woman's WGAs victory is more significant, though. After all, it beat Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7, which many pundits consider to be its biggest competition at the Oscars. This could position it as the Oscar frontrunner in Best Original Screenplay, although don't count out Minari, which also wasn't eligible at the WGAs.
After Sunday's awards, then, Nomadland is probably still in a fairly good position to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, while Promising Young Woman gained an advantage over Chicago 7 for Best Original Screenplay. If Nomadland and Promising Young Woman win at the Oscars, it would be historic, as according to The New York Times, it would be the "first year when both script races were won by women who were the sole credited writers of their films."