Sarah Polley’s Oscar win gives Best Adapted Screenplay back-to-back female champs for the first time

Women Talking”? More like women (are) winning. Sarah Polley took home the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar on Sunday, making her one of the category’s few female winners and giving the category back-to-back female champs for the first time.

With Polley’s victory, Best Adapted Screenplay has now gone to women nine times — and twice to the same person,
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who triumphed for 1986’s “A Room with a View” and 1992’s “Howards End.” Polley joins Jhabvala as one of four women who’ve won as solo writers. The others are Emma Thompson (1995’s “Sense and Sensibility”) and last year’s winner, Sian Heder (“CODA”).

The category’s other female winners prevailed as part of writing teams. Sarah Y. Mason was the first woman to win adapted screenplay for co-writing 1933’s “Little Women” with her husband Victor HeermanClaudine West shared her award for 1942’s “Mrs. Miniver” with George FroeschelJames Hilton and Arthur WimperisFran Walsh and Philippa Boyens penned 2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” with Peter JacksonDiana Ossana, the last woman before Heder to win, co-wrote 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain” with Larry McMurtry. This year, “All Quiet on the Western Front” co-writer Lesley Paterson shared her nomination with Edward Berger and Ian Stokell.

SEE Full list of Oscar winners

Polley had been the season-long frontrunner in adapted screenplay, but her winning prospects looked dimmer after “Women Talking” didn’t exactly take flight. It received just two Oscar nominations, the other for Best Picture. The script was snubbed completely by BAFTA, which awarded “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Polley rebounded with wins at USC Scripter and the Writers Guild of America Awards to go with her Critics Choice victory. But in a weird twist, the two scripts had not faced off against each other prior to the Oscars, as “All Quiet” was snubbed at other precursors and was ineligible at WGA.

This is Polley’s first Oscar win and second nomination. She was previously nominated in this category for her 2007’s “Away from Her.” She is the third solo woman to receive multiple nominations in adapted screenplay. Jhabvala holds the record with three, her other for 1993’s “The Remains of the Day,” while Bess Meredyth first achieved it as a double nominee at the 2nd Academy Awards in 1930 for “A Woman of Affairs” and “Wonder of Woman.”

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