Adapted Screenplay this year is fascinating and contentious Best Picture frontrunner Nomadland and The Father each winning one award when the two films were in direct competition with each other. Nomadland won Critics Choice but The Father took the BAFTA, an actual peer and industry group. Star Anthony Hopkins also won Best Actor there and we could be seeing a tide turn in favor of The Father despite its ultra-late release and availability.
Neither was WGA-eligible but I think it’s fair to say that if they were these two would have been the frontrunners there. While I think Nomadland probably would have won there in a head to head I try not to rabbit hole too deeply into hypotheticals and look at what we have in front of us. This might be the best place to reward The Father (unless there is a huge upset in Best Actor). Birdman and 12 Years a Slave both lost BAFTA only to triumph at the Oscars as the eventual Best Picture winners, which favors Nomadland. While we have examples of screenplays winning over the eventual Best Picture winners (Get Out over The Shape of Water), that was arguably a more ‘writerly’ film. Manchester by the Sea over perceived Best Picture winner La La Land also falls under that category.
If The Father had been able to beat Promising Young Woman at BAFTA for British Film I might be closer to picking it here. Either way, I think this is a very close race between these top two contenders. It all depends on if voters want to spread the wealth among the Best Picture nominees or if we’re going to see a possible Nomadland sweep. But Nomadland doesn’t need this to win Best Picture and The Father losing both of its BAFTA wins doesn’t feel right either as this is the easiest place for support of the film to coalesce.
The 93rd Oscars will be held on April 25 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and the Union Station in Los Angeles.
Here are my ranked final Oscar predictions in Adapted Screenplay.
1. Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures) – BAFTA, BFCA, GG, USC (WGA ineligible)
Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao
2. The Father (Sony Pictures Classics) – BAFTA, BFCA, GG (WGA ineligible)
Screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller
3. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Amazon Studios) – WGA
Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad
4. One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios) – BFCA , USC, WGA
Screenplay by Kemp Powers
5. The White Tiger (Netflix) – WGA
Written for the screen by Ramin Bahrani