Oscar Predictions: Best Adapted Screenplay

Three past winners, three past nominees and five rookies contend for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Alexander Payne won this award in 2004 with Jim Taylor for “Sideways.” This year, he worked with Nat Faxon and Jim Rush to adapt Kaui Hart Hemmings‘s novel “The Descendants,” about a man (George Clooney) forced to deal with the adultery of his dying wife while making a life-changing business decision. One of three Best Picture contenders in this race (along with “Moneyball” and “Hugo), this is the only one to also reap bids for directing (Payne) and acting (Clooney). Last weekend, the trio of scripters won both the USC Scripter prize and the WGA award. 

Two previous category champs — Steve Zaillian (“Schinder’s List,” 1993) and Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network,” 2010) — along with Stan Chevrin adapted “Moneyball” from Michael Lewis‘ non-fiction account of the the winning ways of Oakland A’s baseball manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt). The trio of scribes won over the New York film critics and BFCA but lost both the Scripter and the WGA races . 

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Two-time Oscar nominee John Logan (“Gladiator,” 2000; “The Aviator,” 2004) transformed Brian Selznick‘s children’s book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” into “Hugo,” a stirring account of an orphan (Asa Butterfield) living in a Paris train station in the early 1930s whose life is transformed when he meets a movie pioneer. 

Peter Straughn and the late Bridget O’Connor received much praise from John le Carre for their adaptation of his 1974 spy novel “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” about a MI-6 operative (Gary Oldman) on the hunt for a Soviet mole. Their BAFTA win makes for a nice consolation prize. 

Director George Clooney and Grant Heslov — who contended in 2005 for their original screenplay for “Good Night, and Good Luck” — worked with Beau Willimon to turn his play “Farragut North” into “The Ides of March,” about a political operative (Ryan Gosling) caught up in a sex scandal. This was the sole nomination for this film. 

Click on the pundits below to see a breakdown of their rankings in this race.

Click on each of the categories below for the overview of that race.

Picture Director Actor Actress S. Actor S. Actress
Adapted Scr.   Original Scr. Art Direction Cinematography Costumes Editing
Makeup Score Song Sound Editing Sound Mixing Visual Effects
Animated Feat. Foreign Lang.  Doc. Feature Doc Short Live Action Sh. Animated Sh.


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