The Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar Race: Who Will Be Nominated?

With Oscar nominations right around the corner, CinemaBlend is taking a look at which films and performances are likely to be in contention for nominations. Let’s look at a the Adapted Screenplay race.

Locked In

The uncontested favorite is easily Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which many are predicting will win Best Picture. It’s very possible that the legendary filmmaker could earn both screenplay and directing prizes on Oscar night.

CODA has gained another life this awards season after exploding at Sundance, but quietly dropping onto Apple TV+ in August. Clearly Apple’s robust campaign has paid off, as CODA is a very solid Best Picture candidate, nearly guaranteeing an Adapted Screenplay nomination as part of that package. It’s difficult to imagine West Side Story not making the lineup either, considering the praise Tony Kushner has gotten for his updates to the classic source material, and the film's status as a contender overall.

Likely Bets

Dune may look at first glance to be a Mad Max Fury Road, The Revenant, or Gravity situation where it misses screenplay but dominates in technical categories. However, Dune’s faithful treatment of its classic source material has resulted in a solid amount of mentions for the script from critics groups and awards bodies. It also doesn’t hurt that 5-time Adapted Screenplay nominee Eric Roth is one of the writing credits. 

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter and Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car have found lots of traction with critics groups. The question is if those films can translate well to industry voters, as they are on the more challenging side. Gyllenhaal may have the edge with her name recognition and Netflix backing the film. If either of these two makes the cut at BAFTA, it’ll give a pretty compelling case to predict them.

Dark Horses

If the Academy wants to go for something on the safer side, Tick, tick… Boom! is right there. Though the film looks likely to receive a Best Picture nomination, it’s been having trouble racking up nominations in this category. In my view, it’s a toss-up between this one and the two mentioned above.

Though Joel Coen's The Tragedy of Macbeth showcases lots of invention on the visual side, the dialogue is straight out of Shakespeare, so voters may feel that it’s not worth nominating. The three all-star screenwriting credits (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener) attached to The Last Duel make a compelling case, but the film isn’t picking up any traction from awards voters, likely due to abysmal box office numbers. Rebecca Hall’s Passing, Guillermo Del Toro & Kim Morgan’s adaptation of Nightmare Alley, or even House Of Gucci, which is in play in other categories, are some other possible surprises.

Check back here at CinemaBlend for more category breakdowns.