2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Adapted Screenplay (UPDATED: February 9)

At the 2019 Academy Awards, “BlacKkKlansman” director Spike Lee shared in the win for Best Adapted Screenplay for bringing Ron Stallworth‘s memoir of the same name to the screen. This award, which dates back to the first Oscars in 1928, has gone to only a dozen adaptations of such books. Five more of those non-fiction books adaptations were also winners in this decade: “The Social Network” (2011), “Argo” (2012), “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and “The Imitation Game” (2014) and “The Big Short” (2015). (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2020 Oscars predictions for Best Adapted Screenplay and be sure to check out our predictions for Best Original Screenplay.)

Over the 91-year history of this award, novels have been the primary source material. Works of fiction have been the basis of 47 of the winners of this race over the years. The most recent of these was in 2018 when James Ivory won for his adaptation of André Aciman‘s novel “Call Me by Your Name.”

In 2017, “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins and playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney won this Oscar for adapting the latter’s un-produced play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” While screen versions of stage works had won 14 times before, the last of those had been in 1989 (“Driving Miss Daisy”).

Short stories provided source material for seven winners, with “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005 being the most recent. And remakes of other films and teleplays account for four winners, the most recent of which was 2006’s “The Departed” (adapted from the film “Infernal Affairs”). One-off sources have included a newspaper column (“Mrs. Miniver”) and a short film (“Sling Blade”).

UPDATED: February 9, 2020

Please note: To read full descriptions of each film, check out our Best Picture predictions.

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Leading Contenders

Greta Gerwig, “Little Women” (Sony – December 25)

Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight – October 18)

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Strong Contenders 

Todd Phillips, Scott Silver, “Joker” (Warner Bros. – October 4)

Steven Zaillian,  “The Irishman” (Netflix – November 1; streams Nov. 27)

SEE 2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

Possible Contenders

Anthony McCarten, “The Two Popes” (Netflix – November 27)


Stephany Folsom, “Toy Story 4” (Disney/Pixar – June 21)

Edward Norton, “Motherless Brooklyn” (Warner Bros. – November 1)

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Click on the linked categories below to read our previews of each of these races.

Best Picture | Best Director

Best Actor | Best Actress | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress

Best Adapted Screenplay | Best Original Screenplay

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