‘The Lost Daughter’ would make Oscar history with Best Adapted Screenplay win

Maggie Gyllenhaal may be on the brink of making some history with her screenplay for “The Lost Daughter,” her feature directorial debut. The multihyphenate is an Oscar nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay for bringing Elena Ferrante‘s novel to the screen, and her chances of winning have suddenly increased. Gyllenhaal has won three notable awards for her script this season: the Gotham Award, the Independent Spirit Award and the USC Scripter prize. This momentum could lead her to an Oscar win, which would come with a notable distinction.

Should Gyllenhaal win the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, she would be the first screenwriter in the 21st century to do so without the film also being a Best Picture nominee. The last film to win this category without a corresponding Best Picture nomination was “Gods and Monsters” for Bill Condon in 1999, back when Best Picture was a field of five. Condon’s victory was relatively easier considering he only had to compete against one Best Picture nominee in his category, “The Thin Red Line,” while “The Lost Daughter” faces exclusively Best Picture contenders: “CODA,” “Drive My Car,” “Dune” and “The Power of the Dog.”

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Despite that obstacle, there is a compelling narrative behind Gyllenhaal that could drive voters to check her name. She has been around in the business as an actress for decades, earning an Oscar nomination for her performance in “Crazy Heart” in 2010. She convinced the reclusive Ferrante to let her adapt the author’s novel to film and was ultimately able to translate the story’s thorny concepts about motherhood while also putting her own artistic stamp on it. In addition to her high-profile screenplay wins, Gyllenhaal has been pounding the awards junket pavement this season, which could move the needle in her direction once Oscar voting commences.

Following her USC Scripter win, where she beat “Dune” and the category’s presumed frontrunner, “The Power of the Dog,” Gyllenhaal has been on the rise in our latest Oscar odds. “The Lost Daughter” is now firmly in second place behind Best Picture frontrunner “The Power of the Dog,” and it is possible that Gyllenhaal pulls off a similar come-from-behind victory as “The Father” last year, which defeated Best Picture winner “Nomadland.” “The Lost Daughter’s” lack of a Best Picture bid might be damning to some, but considering Oscar voters’ recent trend of spreading the wealth, an upset win for Gyllenhaal should not be counted out.

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Oscar odds for Best Adapted Screenplay
'The Power of the Dog' is ahead

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