Will ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ pull off another screenplay upset at the Spirit Awards?

Can You Ever Forgive Me?” stunned us all with a Writers Guild of America Awards win for Best Adapted Screenplay on Sunday. Can it pull off another shocker this weekend — not at the Oscars, but at the Independent Spirit Awards?

The Spirits only has one screenplay category that combines original and adapted scripts. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, is in second place in our combined odds behind Paul Schrader‘s “First Reformed,” and ahead of “Private Life” (Tamara Jenkins), “Sorry to Bother You” (Boots Riley) and “Collette” (Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Wash Westmoreland). “First Reformed” is the safe pick, as the film got a co-leading four nominations, including Best Picture unlike “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, and it’s a chance to honor Schrader, the scribe behind classics like “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull.”

But two of our Experts, Kevin Polowy (Yahoo) and Gold Derby’s own Tom O’Neil, are going out on a limb for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Voting for the Spirit Awards winners closed Feb. 11, six days before the WGA Awards, so that result has no impact, but perhaps it’s a sign that the Lee Israel biopic is stronger than you might think.

SEE Spirit Awards predictions: Richard E. Grant will finally get to give a speech, which honestly is a win for us all

This is also Holofcener’s fifth nomination in the category with zero wins, following bids for “Lovely & Amazing” (2002), “Friends with Money” (2006), “Please Give” (2010) and “Enough Said” (2013). Schrader, meanwhile, is on his fourth nomination in the category; “Light Sleeper” (1992), “Touch” (1997) and “Affliction” (1998) were his other unsuccessful contenders. So on numbers alone, Holofcener is more overdue than Schrader.

Plus, voters could want to spread the wealth, just like last year, when “Get Out” was the screenplay favorite, but lost to “Lady Bird” for its only win of the night; “Get Out” went on to win Best Director for Jordan Peele and Best Picture. Voters had another chance to check off Schrader’s name in Best Director.

The key difference, though, is that “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is almost guaranteed a victory in Best Supporting Actor for Richard E. Grant, the only other category in which it’s nominated, so will it really go 2 for 2?

PREDICT the Independent Spirit Awards now; change them until Feb. 23

Be sure to make your Indie Spirit predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on Feb. 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2019 Spirit Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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