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2015 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Adapted Screenplay

February 20th, 2016

The Big Short

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. The Best Adapted Screenplay category is about as competitive as the Best Original Screenplay, which is to say it isn't competitive at all.

(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 Original Screenplay

The Big Short written by Adam McKay and Charles Randolph
Tomatometer Score: 88% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe, WGA, and BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: BAFTA and WGA
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: None
Writer's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: This is the overwhelming favorite. While its reviews are weak compared to most Oscar winners, the film has won two major awards, including the WGA, which is the best indicator for this award.

Brooklyn written by Nick Hornby
Tomatometer Score: 98% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writers' Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, One BAFTA, and One WGA
Writers' Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: This film is a Canadian co-production, so I want it to win, but it might be the longest of the long shots. It has stunning reviews, but only one previous major nomination and no wins. Perhaps if the writer, Nick Hornby, was snubbed multiple times in the past, the voters would want to correct those mistakes this year, but that's not the case.

Carol written by Phyllis Nagy
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Independent Spirit Awards, WGA, and BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: First Screenplay
Writer's Previous Major Wins: First Screenplay
Notes: The film has performed really well during Awards Season, when it comes to nominations. It hasn't been able to turn many of those nominations into awards, on the other hand, but you can't completely dismiss its chances; call it a distant second place.

The Martian written by Drew Goddard
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: WGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Writers' Previous Major Nominations: None
Writers' Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: I hate how Science Fiction films are not treated seriously by Awards Season voters. This is the second best film from 2015 I reviewed, but it has no chance at winning this award, or pretty much any prestigious category.

Room written by Emma Donoghue
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Writer's Previous Major Nominations: First Screenplay
Writer's Previous Major Wins: First Screenplay
Notes: This is the second Canadian co-production on this list. Its chance of winning is only a little better than Brooklyn's chances, i.e., a very small chance of winning. It is Emma Donoghue's first screenplay, so she will likely get another chance in the future.

Conclusion: The Big Short has about an 80% chance of winning this award, while none of the rest are a clear second-choice.


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Filed under: Awards Season, The Martian, Room, Brooklyn, The Big Short, Carol, Adam McKay, Charles Randolph, Drew Goddard, Nick Hornby, Emma Donoghue, Phyllis Nagy