“Carol”: Looking at potential Best Adapted Screenplay Hollywood Contender

carol in car

Hollywood Contenders: As you lovely ladies and gentlemen all must know by now, it’s one thing entirely to read early Academy Award predictions in order to see what pundits like myself think will happen this winter, but it’s a whole separate thing to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that specific regard, I’m continuing to run down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what or who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might potentially take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.

Today I’m continuing on with the series but moving on from the acting categories and hitting the writing ones…starting off with Best Adapted Screenplay.

Here are the ten particular films/scripts that I have in play for Best Adapted Screenplay, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:

1. The Martian – Considering how well I have this film doing in my predictions, it kind of has to be the top dog here, right? Drew Goddard penned this adaptation and is a very underrated writer (he also was the original director for this one), so even if I’m possibly putting this one too high up in predictions, it still deserves a spot in a top five. It’s my frontrunner for now though, until proven otherwise. A make or break debut at the Toronto Film Festival is on the horizon for Goddard and the film on the whole…

2. Carol – Perhaps the safer bet for the category is this one right here. Phyllis Nagy adapted this one and pretty much everyone who saw it at the Cannes Film Festival raved about every aspect of the film. I’d be pretty surprised if this script didn’t wind up being one of the nominated five. It could even be the most likely one to take home the statue, but that remains to be seen. Suffice to say though that Nagy is very much in it.

3. Brooklyn – Another safe bet in the category is Nick Hornby’s adaptation here. He’s a prior nominee in Best Adapted Screenplay for An Education and just missed last year for Wild, so this is sort of his speciality. It’s far more likely than not that Hornby is nominated for the second time, though obviously nothing is set in stone right at this particular moment in the season.

4. Steve Jobs – As a huge Aaron Sorkin fan, I can’t wait to hear more of his trademark dialogue. The Academy tends to enjoy Sorkin as well, having given him an Oscar in Best Adapted Screenplay for The Social Network and a nomination for having co-written Moneyball. Here, he’s done another high profile adaptation that seems like it should be right up their alley. A win might be hard, but a nomination could easily happen again for him.

5. The Revenant – Depending on how this one turns out, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s script that he wrote with Mark L. Smith could have him in contention for another Academy Award. He won in Best Original Screenplay last year for Birdman, so maybe Iñárritu can make for a sweep of the writer/director prizes by getting himself on in Best Adapted Screenplay? I have my doubts about another win, but I wouldn’t bet against another nomination coming his way at all. We shall see though…

6. The Light Between Oceans *possible 2016 release – If not for the decent chance this winds up a 2016 release, I’d probably have made room for this in the top five. As such, Derek Cianfrance’s adaptation is just barely on the outside looking in right now. He’s very due to finally get a nod, so if this becomes a 2015 release, his odds will improve. Sit tight to find out if this will have a chance at a nom this year, or if Cianfrance will have to wait until next year in order to contend.

7. Freeheld – Biopics tend to do well here, so you have to expect that Ron Nyswaner will be in play here. He was once nominated in Best Original Screenplay for Philadelphia, so now he’ll seek to get a citation in Best Adapted Screenplay as well. This film seems like it’ll be a solid player in a number of categories, so if the quality is there, definitely watch out for Nyswaner…

8. The Danish Girl – Speaking of biopics, here’s another one to consider. Scribe Lucinda Coxon has yet to do much worth considering for awards, but this adaptation will definitely have her in play for Best Adapted Screenplay. It seems mostly like an acting vehicle, but looks can be deceiving. If Oscar goes gaga over this one, all bets are off for Coxon and anything is possible.

9. Room – With this one, it’ll just be a case of if it can be seen by voters. Emma Donoghue adapted her own novel and folks are very much looking forward to this drama. Best Adapted Screenplay can sometimes be a bit unkind to the smaller players, so if that winds up not being the case, this should be able to contend in a substantial way. For now though, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens for Donoghue…

10. The End of the Tour – A dark horse worth taking note of, scribe Donald Margulies has already been heavily praised for his adaptation here, but he will have to see if the film can sustain through the fall months. It might wind up lost in the shuffle, but if it’s not…I think this could definitely make a play for a nomination. Margulies is a candidate not to sleep on for sure.

Next in line I’d have these ten contenders (just sans my commentary here) for Best Adapted Screenplay:

11. Black Mass
12. Snowden
13. In the Heart of the Sea
14. Genius
15. The Walk
16. I Saw the Light
17. Macbeth
18. Beasts of No Nation
19. Concussion
20. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Finally, here are ten more possibilities to give us a top 30 to cull from, just sans commentary as well:

21. Mad Max: Fury Road
22. Truth
23. Mr. Holmes
24. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
25. Tulip Fever
26. Far from the Maddening Crowd
27. Trumbo
28. The Dressmaker
29. Z for Zachariah
30. Spectre

That’s what the Best Adapted Screenplay race could very well be made up of ladies and gents. Stay tuned next week for my look at the Best Original Screenplay race!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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