2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Adapted Screenplay

The Best Adapted Screenplay race is a bit thin this year. But there are a few that are guaranteed to be in the mix.

The current frontrunners look to be Mudbound, written by Dee Rees and Virgil Williams and adapted from the novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan, and Call Me by Your Name, written by James Ivory and adapted from the novel of the same name by André Aciman. Both films have received outstanding reviews, WGA nominations and should be shoe-ins for this category. And while the Netflix tag may make a Best Picture nomination tough for Mudbound, it would be strange for the bias to extend so far.

Before 2015, one would think that Aaron Sorkin would be a lock and contender for a win whenever he has a good film. But the Academy snubbed his Steve Jobs script in shocking fashion. Nevertheless, Molly’s Game is a decent bet because the race is so thin and the film received a WGA nomination. It’s gotten rather good reviews and the performances are being praised, which is a testament to Sorkin’s writing.

Screenplay is also where well-written comedic films can shine. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have made names for themselves as writing partners, scripting 500 Days of SummerThe Spectacular NowThe Fault in Our Stars and Our Souls at Night. Their recent film, The Disaster Artist, received a WGA nomination and seems to have one of the spots wrapped up.

Also in play is Richard Linklater and Darryl Ponicsan’s adaptation of Last Flag Flying, Ponicsan’s novel, which is a follow-up to his book The Last Detail, which was adapted into a film by Hal Ashby in 1974. The film itself fell off, but Adapted Screenplay would be the place to honor it if the Academy wanted to.

Wonder was a surprising delight upon its release, meaning that, with not many to compete against it, it could potentially fill that final spot.

It’s also possible that Lee Hall could receive note for Victoria and Abdul. The film is not beloved, but Lee Hall is well liked.

David Scarpa could make a play for the Ridley Scott directed All the Money in the World. The film has received decent reviews, better than some other contenders for that final spot. And it could find some heat considering the story behind the film’s production.

The logical move would be to go for Logan, which surprised as the fifth WGA nomination.

But we’re going to go a stranger route. The screenplay categories always have the potential for one film, not nominated at WGA and not in the Best Picture race, or near it, to show up. The Lost City of Z showed up recently as a University of Southern, California Scripter Awards finalist. The group has some connections to the industry and often choose films that end up going to the Oscars (but not always of course). James Gray showing up here shows that he is still on people’s radar. He’s well-liked by the industry and the film was very well-received in the first half of the year. It won’t show up anywhere else, which could mean all the more reason for it to show up here.

The 5
Dee Rees, Virgil Williams — Mudbound
James Ivory — Call Me by Your Name
Aaron Sorkin — Molly’s Game
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber — The Disaster Artist
James Gray — The Lost City of Z

Could contend
David Scarpa — All the Money in the World
Richard Linklater, Darryl Ponicsan —
 Last Flag Flying
Brian Selznick — Wonderstruck
Lee Hall — Victoria and Abdul
Hampton Fancher, Michael Green — Blade Runner 2049
Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, Stephen Chbosky, R.J. Palacio — Wonder
Sofia Coppola — The Beguiled
James Mangold, Scott Frank, Michael Green — Logan
Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves — War for the Planet of the Apes


Featured image via Sony Pictures Classics.

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