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Thursday, July 31, 2014



2012 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Adapted Screenplay

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try to figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we will look at the two writing categories, starting with Best Adapted Screenplay. This is not a particularly close race with one obvious favorite and a couple that are long shots with a shot.

(Note: All previous awards listed are only for writing and not other categories. Also, for writing teams, they are combined totals with each film counting as one nomination regardless of how many members were part of the previous team.)

Best Adapted Screenplay

George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon for The Ides Of March
Tomatometer Score: 85% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writers' Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, One Golden Globe, One WGA, One Independent Spirit Award
Writers' Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: There is almost no chance this film will win this Oscar. It had Awards Season buzz going into its release, but its reviews, while great, are weaker than one would expect for an Oscar winning film and weaker than four of the five other films nominated in this category. George Clooney and Grant Heslov were previously nominated for Good Night and Good Luck, but lost to Crash, so Oscar voters might try and correct that mistake. It's a long shot, a really, really long shot.

John Logan for Hugo
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscar, One Golden Globe, One WGA
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Hugo earned a number of Oscar nominations and there is a chance it will be the big winner during Oscar night as it could win as part of a wave. So far it doesn't have a track record of winning; in fact, it wasn't even nominated for a Golden Globe. It should win at least a couple awards, but I don't think this one will be one of them.

Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, and Jim Rash for The Descendants
Tomatometer Score: 89% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes, WGA, and Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: WGA (One Pending)
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscar, Two Golden Globe, Three WGA, Two Independent Spirit Awards
Writer's Previous Major Wins: One Oscar, Two Golden Globe, Two WGA, Two Independent Spirit Awards
Notes: Alexander Payne's performance during previous Awards Seasons is so impressive that he should start writing acceptance speeches before he starts writing his scripts. While The Descendants is not the favorite to win many Oscars, it is by far the favorite to win for Best Adapted Screenplay. In fact, it's a massive favorite, even compared to the rest of the field combined.

Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tomatometer Score: 84% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: None
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writers' Previous Major Nominations: None
Writers' Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: This film had a lot of Awards Season buzz before it opened, but it failed to live up to expectations. After being shut out most of awards season, it did pick up a few Oscar nominations, but it is a long shot to win any of them. It doesn't have any recent success to suggest a win, while neither of the screenwriters have a history of major wins.

Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian for Moneyball
Tomatometer Score: 94% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writers' Previous Major Nominations: Four Oscars, Five Golden Globe, Six WGAs
Writers' Previous Major Wins: Two Oscars, Two Golden Globes, Two WGAs
Notes: One of the best reviewed films of the year and the writing team have had success during Awards Season. In most years, Moneyball would be the favorite for winning this Oscar. However, it hasn't been earning a lot of buzz, while it hasn't won a major award in this category. If you are looking for a long shot with a shot in this category, this would be the film to pick, but it is still a long shot.

Conclusion: The Descendants appears to be the runaway favorite in this category. If a lot of people vote a straight ticket for Hugo, then maybe it will ride that wave to a win here. Or maybe Moneyball wins because of the pedigree of the writing. I wouldn't bet on it.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-02-22

Movies 
 The Ides of March
 Hugo
 The Descendants
 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
 Moneyball