Aust screenwriter elated by Oscar nod

Australian screenwriter Tony McNamara says he's "gobsmacked" at getting an Oscar nod.
Australian screenwriter Tony McNamara says he's "gobsmacked" at getting an Oscar nod.

First-time Oscar nominees are usually a little nervous about what they are going to wear to the Academy Awards.

Sydney screenwriter Tony McNamara has it all sorted out.

"I'll just be dragging out the B&S (bachelor & spinsters) ball black suit," McNamara laughed in an interview with AAP on Tuesday.

McNamara, 50, received an original screenplay nomination for The Favourite.

The title is fitting for the film set in early 18th Century Britain around a love triangle involving Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and two cousins, played by Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.

The Favourite has become a favourite to dominate the February 24 Academy Awards.

The film picked up 10 nominations at Tuesday's Oscar nomination ceremony in Beverly Hills, equalling the Netflix Spanish language film Roma for the most nods for any film.

The Favourite's haul included best picture, director for Yorgos Lanthimos, lead actress for Colman, supporting for Stone and Weisz and production design for Australia's Fiona Crombie.

"We are all gobsmacked," McNamara, who is in London working on a new project with Lanthimos, said.

"We're elated because we all pretty much got a nomination."

McNamara first worked with Crosbie on The Sydney Theatre Company production of his play, The Great, a decade ago.

Crosbie and McNamara's wife, actress Belinda Bromilow, are close friends.

"It is amazing for us to be nominated together," he said.

McNamara has been a prominent figure in Australian TV, stage and film, writing episodes of TV series The Secret Life of Us, Puberty Blues and Doctor, Doctor, writing/directing The Rage in Placid Lake and penning Sydney Theatre Company productions including The Great and The Grenade.

The Favourite has taken a long path to this year's Oscar ceremony with British screenwriter Deborah Davis writing the first draft in 1998 and McNamara brought on to re-write after Lanthimos became attached in 2010.

Lanthimos, whose film resume includes The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, was looking for a screenwriter with a sense of humour and who shared the same sensibility for the rejig.

"We didn't really want to make a BBC style drama," McNamara said.

"We just took the idea of the historical story and wanted to start again and re-invent.

"We didn't care about the history that much.

"We just wanted to make an interesting movie."

Australian Associated Press