What is the best (nominated) adapted screenplay that didn’t win Best Adapted Screenplay?
The options are my personal favorites, I have included “Other” if you disagree.
A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick)
Anatomy of a Murder (Wendell Mays)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Richard Brooks and James Poe)
Dr. Strangelove (Peter George, Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern)
Election (Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor)
The Graduate (Buck Henry and Calder Willingham)
The Grifters (Donald E. Westlake)
The Hours (David Hare)
In Cold Blood (Richard Brooks)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (Leonardo Schrader)
Moneyball (Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian)
Quiz Show (Paul Attanasio)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (Anthony Minghella)
Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)
The English Patient. Its loss is crazy!
Lawrence of Arabia by Robert Bolt. Clearly one of the greatest screenplays ever written.
Of those listed, “There Will Be Blood” was the most impressive. Rather than a mere restructuring of the novel, PTA morphed it entirely to be centered around another character entirely.
But overall, “Barry Lyndon”.
The “Before” series are all one long original screenplay. They are not adapting or changing anything, just continuing a fluid narrative. I have never agreed with their placement, nor with Toy Story 3’s…
Of this list, it’s a close call between Up in the Air (a film smart enough to know and play on its strengths – the emotions of its audience – but not feel overly manipulative), The Social Network (a timely social drama in the form of a Shakespearean narrative with the best Sorkin dialogue to date) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (4 characters in one house for 2+ hours does not sound enticing, but the characterizations and performances crack and sizzle on the screen in glorious B&W, and are so vivid that you can’t take your eyes off of them).
So, I will have to go with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
However, another fine choice would be Lawrence of Arabia, perhaps the greatest film made ever. It, however, is not on the list.