Oscars 2018 Category Breakdown: Best Adapted Screenplay
So what we do here each year as a warm up for the Oscars is, I break down each of the 24 categories. The idea is to both familiarize everyone with the category and its history. I look at what the major trends are throughout the past bunch of years, how the precursors tend to go, whether they matter or not, that sort of stuff. I look at how the category came to be this year, and just anything else that seems totally pertinent about it. Then I rank each of the nominees and tell you what their likelihood (at this particular moment in time) of winning is.
This is all prelude to my giant Oscar ballot that I’m gonna give you. But I figure, if you have these as the warmup, it’s not as intimidating. You’ll have seen a lot of the pertinent trends here and we’ll all be able to reference these as a sort of cheat sheet. Plus it shows you where my head is at for how I think each of the categories are gonna go, and you can see me working my way up to all the bad decisions I usually make while guessing. Pretty much, with this, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how the category is gonna turn out.
Today is Best Adapted Screenplay. One of the races that should leave me happy no matter which way it goes.
|Year||Best Adapted Screenplay Winners||Other Nominees|
|1927-1928||Seventh Heaven||Glorious Betsy
The Jazz Singer
|1928-1929||The Patriot||The Cop
In Old Arizona
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney
Our Dancing Daughters
Sal of Singapore
A Woman of Affairs
Wonder of Women
|1929-1930||The Big House||All Quiet on the Western Front
Street of Chance
|1930-1931||Cimarron||The Criminal Code
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
|1932-1933||Little Women||Lady for a Day
|1934||It Happened One Night||The Thin Man
|1935||The Informer||The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
Mutiny on the Bounty
|1936||The Story of Louis Pasteur||After the Thin Man
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
My Man Godfrey
|1937||The Life of Emile Zola||The Awful Truth
A Star is Born
You Can’t Take It With You
|1939||Gone With the Wind||Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
|1940||The Philadelphia Story||The Grapes of Wrath
The Long Voyage Home
|1941||Here Comes Mr. Jordan||Hold Back the Dawn
How Green Was My Valley
The Little Foxes
The Maltese Falcon
|1942||Mrs. Miniver||49th Parallel
The Pride of the Yankees
The Talk of the Town
The More the Merrier
The Song of Bernadette
Watch on the Rhine
|1944||Going My Way||Double Indemnity
Meet Me in St. Louis
|1945||The Lost Weekend||Mildred Pierce
Pride of the Marines
The Story of G.I. Joe
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
|1946||The Best Years of Our Lives||Anna and the King of Siam
Rome, Open City
|1947||Miracle on 34th Street||Boomerang
|1948||The Treasure of the Siera Madre||A Foreign Affair
The Snake Pit
|1949||A Letter to Three Wives||All the King’s Men
The Fallen Idol
|1950||All About Eve||The Asphalt Jungle
Father of the Bride
|1951||A Place in the Sun||The African Queen
A Streetcar Named Desire
|1952||The Bad and the Beautiful||5 Fingers
The Man in the White Suit
The Quiet Man
|1953||From Here to Eternity||The Cruel Sea
|1954||The Country Girl||The Caine Mutiny
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
|1955||Marty||Bad Day at Black Rock
East of Eden
Love Me or Leave Me
|1956||Around the World in 80 Days||Baby Doll
Lust for Life
|1957||The Bridge on the River Kwai||Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
12 Angry Men
|1958||Gigi||Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Horse’s Mouth
I Want to Live!
|1959||Room at the Top||Anatomy of a Murder
The Nun’s Story
Some Like It Hot
|1960||Elmer Gantry||Inherit the Wind
Sons and Lovers
Tunes of Glory
|1961||Judgment at Nuremberg||Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The Guns of Navarone
West Side Story
|1962||To Kill a Mockingbird||David and Lisa
Lawrence of Arabia
The Miracle Worker
|1963||Tom Jones||Captain Newman, M.D.
Lilies of the Field
Sundays and Cybele
|1964||Becket||Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
My Fair Lady
Zorba the Greek
|1965||Doctor Zhivago||Cat Ballou
Ship of Fools
A Thousand Clowns
|1966||A Man for All Seasons||Alfie
The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
|1967||In the Heat of the Night||Cool Hand Luke
In Cold Blood
|1968||The Lion in Winter||The Odd Couple
|1969||Midnight Cowboy||Anne of the Thousand Days
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
I Never Sang for My Father
Lovers and Other Strangers
Women in Love
|1971||The French Connection||A Clockwork Orange
The Garden of the Finzi Continis
The Last Picture Show
Pete ‘n’ Tillie
|1973||The Exorcist||The Last Detail
The Paper Chase
|1974||The Godfather Part II||The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Murder on the Orient Express
|1975||One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest||Barry Lyndon
The Man Who Would Be King
Profumo di donna
The Sunshine Boys
|1976||All the President’s Men||Bound for Glory
The Seven Per-Cent Solution
Voyage of the Damned
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
That Obscure Object of Desire
Heaven Can Wait
Same Time, Next Year
|1979||Kramer vs. Kramer||Apocalypse Now
La Cage aux Folles
A Little Romance
|1980||Ordinary People||Breaker Morant
Coal Miner’s Daughter
The Elephant Man
The Stunt Man
|1981||On Golden Pond||The French Lieutenant’s Woman
Pennies from Heaven
Prince of the City
|1983||Terms of Endearment||Betrayal
|1984||Amadeus||Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
The Killing Fields
A Passage to India
A Soldier’s Story
|1985||Out of Africa||The Color Purple
Kiss of the Spider Woman
The Trip to Bountiful
|1986||A Room with a View||Children of a Lesser God
The Color of Money
Crimes of the Heart
Stand by Me
|1987||The Last Emperor||The Dead
Full Metal Jacket
My Life as a Dog
|1988||Dangerous Liaisons||The Accidental Tourist
Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
|1989||Driving Miss Daisy||Born on the Fourth of July
Enemies, a Love Story
Field of Dreams
My Left Foot
|1990||Dances with Wolves||Awakenings
Reversal of Fortune
|1991||The Silence of the Lambs||Europa Europa
Fried Green Tomatoes
The Prince of Tides
|1992||Howards End||Enchanted April
A River Runs Through It
Scent of a Woman
|1993||Schindler’s List||The Age of Innocence
In the Name of the Father
The Remains of the Day
|1994||Forrest Gump||The Madness of King George
The Shawshank Redemption
|1995||Sense and Sensibility||Apollo 13
Leaving Las Vegas
|1996||Sling Blade||The Crucible
The English Patient
|1997||L.A. Confidential||Donnie Brasco
The Sweet Hereafter
Wag the Dog
The Wings of the Dove
|1998||Gods and Monsters||Out of Sight
A Simple Plan
The Thin Red Line
|1999||The Cider House Rules||Election
The Green Mile
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
O Brother Where Art Thou?
|2001||A Beautiful Mind||Ghost World
In the Bedroom
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
|2002||The Pianist||About a Boy
|2003||The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King||American Splendor
City of God
Million Dollar Baby
The Motorcycle Diaries
The Constant Gardener
A History of Violence
|2006||The Departed||Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Children of Men
Notes on a Scandal
|2007||No Country for Old Men||Atonement
Away from Her
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
There Will Be Blood
|2008||Slumdog Millionaire||The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
|2009||Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire||District 9
In the Loop
Up in the Air
|2010||The Social Network||127 Hours
Toy Story 3
|2011||The Descendants||The Ides of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
|2012||Argo||Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
|2013||12 Years a Slave||Before Midnight
The Wolf of Wall Street
|2014||The Imitation Game||American Sniper
The Theory of Everything
|2015||The Big Short||Brooklyn
|2017||Call Me By Your Name||The Disaster Artist
We did Original yesterday, so let’s just assume everything I said about that was also true and skip all the statistics.
WGA is the precursor for this one too, with BAFTA and BFCA supporting that. Nothing ineligible for them with Adapted, so we’re on an even playing field.
Here’s WGA vs. the Oscars:
- 2017: Call Me By Your Name wins WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2016: Moonlight wins WGA Original and the Oscar.
- 2015: The Big Short wins WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2014: The Imitation Game wins WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2013: 12 Years a Slave isn’t eligible for WGA and wins the Oscar. Captain Phillips wins WGA Adapted.
- 2012: Argo wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2011: The Descendants wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2010: The Social Network wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2009: Up in the Air wins WGA Adapted. Precious wins the Oscar.
- 2008: Slumdog Millionaire wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2007: No Country for Old Men wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2006: The Departed wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2005: Brokeback Mountain wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2004: Sideways wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2003: American Splendor wins WGA Adapted. Return of the King wins the Oscar.
- 2002: The Pianist is not eligible for the WGA and wins the Oscar. The Hours wins WGA Adapted.
- 2001: A Beautiful Mind wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
- 2000: Traffic wins both WGA Adapted and the Oscar.
They’re really good. Only twice since 2000 when the Oscar winner was eligible did it lose at WGA, and one of them was a year with a clean sweep. Up in the Air in 2009 is the only straight up miss, and that was one of the more surprising results of the past decade. So generally you wanna listen to the WGA.
BAFTA, meanwhile, in the only four times the WGA missed: They also had Up in the Air, they did have Return of the King, they did not have The Pianist and they did have Traffic. So 2/4. One of them was a muddied waters situation and the other was a uniform miss across the board.
And BFCA… they’re not helpful for the first three years, and in the Up in the Air year, they had that.
So really, what WGA says is probably gonna win. If not, probably you can look at the other guilds to find it.
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born
This category went almost exactly as expected. BlacKkKlansman, Star Is Born, Can You Ever Forgive Me and Beale Street were stone cold locks all the way through. Most of us assumed Black Panther for that fifth spot, since it hit all the important precursors. But no. They left it off and put the Coen brothers on instead. Now, Buster Scruggs wasn’t really on my radar… oh, wait, it was… I just assumed it was Original for some reason. Guess I wasn’t paying attention there. So yeah, not really something I expected, but it’s the Coens, so they’re always contenders. This is their seventh Screenplay nomination.
This one seems fairly cut and dry, since you don’t expect three of them to be seriously considered for the win. So it’s really one versus the other, and then the precursors gave us this:
- WGA: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
- BAFTA: BlacKkKlansman
- BFCA: If Beale Street Could Talk
So yeah. Enough to parse this one fairly simply.
5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs — They were the surprise nominee, got no precursors, and don’t really have much support elsewhere for the film. Easy fifth choice. Anything more needing to be said on that one?
4. A Star Is Born — Theoretically I could say this was third. But it lost all three precursors to the other three nominees. So it has to go fourth. I can’t see where the Screenplay votes are coming from for this. I mean, sure, with no set favorite, we could see a four way funneling of votes, so technically this has a shot. But right now, I can’t see it as anything other than fourth.
3. If Beale Street Could Talk — I originally had this as my #1, but it only has a BFCA win. And less overall support than… well, it’s tied with Can You Ever Forgive Me?, so there’s that. I don’t know. I still think this can win. Maybe that’s a pipe dream, but I think it’s definitely in that conversation. I thought that conversation was a tossup, but now it’s more a three-horse race. And they all have a precursor. I’m gonna think on this and figure out where my head’s at. But at this point, all three of these are basically co-number ones. I still can’t call this more of a favorite over the other two based on what we have on paper at the moment, though.
2. Can You Ever Forgive Me? — This just won the WGA on Sunday, in a minor surprise. It beat every other nominee but Buster Scruggs there. So that makes me have to give it respect here, even if I’m not sure this can win the Oscar. But I don’t see why I think that. Since 2000 only three times did something win the WGA and lose the Oscar, and twice it was to something that wasn’t eligible at the WGA. And the third time, Return of the King swept. So theoretically this should be my #1 in the category on that alone. But I still feel like it’s not the most likely winner, and I don’t know why. I guess I have five days to figure it out. Still, that WGA win was huge for this.
1. BlacKkKlansman — I’m giving it the edge not because of BAFTA, but because it’s Spike. They might finally look to get him his Oscar. I don’t know how it’s gonna shake out, but I’ll call this the favorite at the moment. Plus it has the most nominations of the three main contenders. So there’s that too. I think it’s one of the top three that wins, but right now I can’t really tell you what order I think that likelihood of happening is. Though the cool thing about this is that however it goes, either Spike Lee, Barry Jenkins or Nicole Holofcener will win the Oscar. Which is pretty cool.
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