Nomadland, One Night in Miami, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Father feel like an immovable top 4, even as three of them are adapted from plays. But that #5 spot is between no less than four films, all with a stake and a claim on it.
News of the World seemed like it was poised to make a True Grit-sized dent in Oscar nominations and snagged BFCA , USC and WGA nominations for its adapted screenplay. But missing out on PGA was huge and its modest showing in BAFTA’s non-juried categories make it vulnerable.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm has come on very strong, adding to its WGA nomination a surprise PGA nomination this week and Maria Bakalova cracking the BAFTA supporting actress list from a jury of less than a dozen people. The first Borat film was Oscar-nominated in this category in 2007. The White Tiger is also a surging stealth player here with its WGA and BAFTA nominations, the only film to land both (due to eligibility issues of other films).
I’m sticking with a bit of history here and going with First Cow, as I have since the film’s NYFCC Best Film win. I know that stats and history are only there until they’re not but in the 86 years since their inception, no Best Film winner there has gone on to be completely snubbed by the Academy. It could certainly still happen and the longer a stat lasts the rules of odds say it’s more likely to break. I know that voters don’t think in those terms; no one is looking at their ballot and saying ‘but First Cow won NYFCC, I have to vote for it..’ and ultimately it depends on if the film was seen by enough members of the writing branch, which wasn’t the case for WGA, where some voters said they never received screeners for it. It’s a risky pick but it’s also a widely open spot.
Here are my final 2021 Oscar nomination predictions in Adapted Screenplay.
- 1. Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures) – BAFTA, BFCA, GG, USC (WGA ineligible)
Chloé Zhao (based on the book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” by Jessica Bruder)
- 2. One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios) – BFCA , USC, WGA
Kemp Powers (based on the play “One Night in Miami…” by Kemp Powers)
- 3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix) – BFCA , USC, WGA
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (based on the play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” by August Wilson)
- 4. The Father (Sony Pictures Classics) – BAFTA, BFCA, GG (WGA ineligible)
Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller (based on the play “Le Père” by Florian Zeller)
- 5. First Cow (A24) – BFCA, USC
Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond (based on the novel “The Half Life” by Jonathan Raymond)
Watch out for: News of the World – BFCA , USC, WGA