Traditionally Best Adapted Screenplay bursts at the seams with prestige Best Picture nominees adapted from world renowned literature. This year, only one nominee possesses a corresponding Best Picture nomination. Instead, we’ve got an Italian set romance, a searing racial drama, a fast paced poker match, the story of the worst film ever made and a superhero movie. It would be hard to find a stranger, yet more eclectic, category than this.
The nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay are:
- “Call Me By Your Name” – Screenplay by James Ivory
- “The Disaster Artist” – Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
- “Logan” – Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold
- “Molly’s Game” – Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
- “Mudbound” – Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
“Call Me By Your Name” has emerged as the clear frontrunner in the category. Winning at the WGA Awards, USC Scripter Awards and Critics Choices gives it quite the advantage. The film tells the story of an Italian summer love between a seventeen-year-old son of a professor and the professor’s 24-year-old graduate student. While in the past gay themed films have struggled to win major awards, they have done well in the writing categories. “Moonlight,” “The Imitation Game,” “Milk,” and “Brokeback Mountain” all walked away with writing wins. After four nominations, ninety year old James Ivory may finally have his long elusive Oscar. All his nominations came from directing – “The Remains of the Day,” “Howards End,” and “A Room with a View.” He would become the oldest winner ever (unless Agnes Varda wins for “Faces Places” in Best Documentary).
Some claims speculate that there is less “Call Me By Your Name” support than initially thought. The film is the only one of the category nominated for Best Picture. However, at four nominations, it missed in certain categories many thought it would get in. This applies to two unsuccessful Best Supporting Actor bids (Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg) and Best Cinematography. This could’ve been a sign of weakness if the competition were bigger players in other categories. However, other than “Mudbound,” this is the lone nomination for all three other films. In short, everything points to “Call Me By Your Name” as the likely winner in the category.
If there’s going to be an upset, one might look at “Mudbound,” the only other nominee with multiple nominations. In fact, “Mudbound” ties “Call Me By Your Name” with four nominations. However, this does not include Best Picture. Its other nominations come from Best Supporting Actress (Mary J. Blige), Best Cinematography and Best Original Song. Still, “Mudbound” is arguably the most prestigious of the five nominees. The film tells a sprawling story of two families in Mississippi following World War II, one white and one black.
The other major spoiler would be past winner Aaron Sorkin. Between Emmy wins for “The West Wing,” an Oscar win for “The Social Network” and an Oscar nomination for “Moneyball,” Sorkin knows how to rack up accolades. His name, however, appears to be the main reason “Molly’s Game” snuck in the race. Based on the memoir of the same name, the film follows Molly Bloom, a skiing prodigy turned poker mistress who finds herself way over her head. Jessica Chastain made the rounds as the titular character, Molly, but failed to find her way into Best Actress. Sorkin will be here again for future work, and will most likely have a better chance at a win then.
The next two nominees are welcome surprises. “The Disaster Artist” chronicles the making of “The Room,” a cult classic film that has affectionately been dubbed the worst film ever made. With heart and humor, “The Disaster Artist” spun an engrossing story from the madness that is Tommy Wiseau, the director of “The Room.” There was a time when the film seemed to have a chance at breaking into more categories. Most notably was Best Actor for James Franco for his role as Wiseau. However, plagued by sexual harassment allegations, Franco was snubbed. Writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, however, have been in the hunt for their first Oscar nomination for a while and it is a pleasure to see them get it. They also wrote “(500) Days of Summer” and “The Spectacular Now,” most notably.
Lastly, we come to our first superhero nominee ever in this category. Yes, even “The Dark Knight” couldn’t beat “The Reader” here in 2008 for a nomination. “Logan” marks the final entry for popular X-Men character Wolverine. In 2029, mutants have gone nearly extinct. The formerly indestructible Logan (Hugh Jackman) succumbs to alcoholism and a death wish. When tasked to transport a young mutant (Dafne Keen), Logan finds a new spark ignite within him. The popular blockbuster may be the ultimate long shot in this category. However, it is fantastic to see a superhero movie finally make it here. While this is the first nomination for James Mangold and Michael Green, “Logan” marks the second nomination for Scott Frank after “Out of Sight.”