Fri. Oct 30th, 2020

2021 Oscar Predictions: ADAPTED SCREENPLAY (September)

One of the more competitive categories this season and one packed with stage to screen adaptations by the playwrights themselves like Florian Zeller’s The Father and Kemp Powers’ One Night in Miami.. along with deeply American stories, screenplay by female screenwriters and people of color writing their own stories. 2009’s Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire was the first time a person of color won the Adapted Screenplay Oscar. Since then, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney won for 2016’s Moonlight, Spike Lee won for 2018’s BlacKkKlansman and just this year Taika Waititi became the first Indigenous person to win here, with Jojo Rabbit.

Also, we can’t dismiss Sacha Baron Cohen’s secret new Borat film, Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. While it has no distributor yet it’s steeped heavily in timely, Trumpian propaganda including invading pro-Trump rallies and an interview with Rudy Giuliani. With the Presidential election just over a month away, it’s hard not to see it find a release and potentially be a contender after the first Borat scored a nomination here. [UPDATE: Amazon Studios has picked up the film, changed the title and will distribute it before Election Day]

Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Adapted Screenplay for September.

1. Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Chloé Zhao (based on the book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” by Jessica Bruder)

2. One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)
Kemp Powers (based on the play “One Night in Miami…” by Kemp Powers)

3. The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller (based on the play “Le Père” by Florian Zeller)

4. News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Luke Davies, Paul Greengrass (based on the novel “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles)

5. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (based on the play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” by August Wilson)

Other Contenders

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Amazon)
Peter Baynham, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee
Kern, Dan Mazer, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Swimer (based on characters
created by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer and Todd

Dune (Warner Bros) – Jon Spaiths, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth (based on the novel “Dune” by Frank Herbert) [moved to October 2021]

First Cow (A24)
Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond (based on the novel “The Half Life” by Jonathan Raymond)

French Exit (Sony Pictures Classics)
Patrick deWitt (based on the novel “French Exit” by Patrick deWitt)

Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
Vanessa Taylor (based on the novel “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance)

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix)
Charlie Kaufman (based on the novel “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” by Iain Reid)

The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
Mark L. Smith (based on the novel “Good Morning, Midnight” by Lily Brooks-Dalton)

The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight Pictures)
Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci (based on “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens)

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Paramount Pictures)
Suzan-Lori Parks (based on “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs” by Johann Hari)

The White Tiger (Netflix)
Ramin Bahrani (based on the novel “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga)

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