Welcome to For Your Consideration, the Collider show that breaks down awards season with hosts Scott Mantz, Perri Nemiroff and Jeff Sneider, who offer their Best Adapted Screenplay predictions. The category is wide open this year even though two recent Oscar winners are back in the mix again between Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Spotlight‘s Josh Singer (First Man). Here’s how things played out…
Bradley Cooper‘s A Star Is Born seems destined to become an awards juggernaut at this point in the year, with both Variety and The Ringer hinting at the possibility that it could become the first film to sweep the Oscars since The Silence of the Lambs. However, Collider’s panel of experts doesn’t necessarily agree. There’s already a Star backlash brewing, and while Cooper and Lady Gaga‘s acting nominations feel undeniable, this is the fourth version of this timeworn tale, and the Academy may hold that against its screenplay, which follows the same story beats.
The FYC hosts agree that if BlackKklansman is going to garner any kind of support within the Academy, it starts with this category. Spike Lee has only been nominated once before as a writer, and that was for Do the Right Thing, so while this script originated with a pair of white writers in Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz, Lee and writing partner Kevin Willmott certainly put their own stamp on this incredible true story. The script seems a shoo-in for a nomination, and the same can be said for Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin‘s If Beale Street Could Talk. The film itself received relatively muted reviews out of Toronto, but even its fiercest critics note Jenkins’ artistry in adapted Baldwin’s acclaimed novel. Beale Street will have its passionate supporters this season, and passion goes a long way within the Academy.
And then there are the “boy” movies. Beautiful Boy screenwriter Luke Davies drew upon his own experiences as a young heroin addict in adapting father-and-son memoirs, and thanks to two incredibly committed performances, the film itself is emotionally devastating. But is that enough? The FYC hosts are currently giving an edge to Boy Erased, which director/co-star Joel Edgerton adapted from the unforgettable memoir by Garrard Conley, who is played in the film by Lucas Hedges. Jeff preferred Beautiful Boy, but grants that the Academy may respond to Boy Erased more.
As for Scott, he’s still stumping for First Man and Josh Singer, who adapted James R. Hansen‘s book about Neil Armstrong. Scott thinks that voters will appreciate the restraint that Singer and director Damien Chazelle show in telling the Armstrong story, but Jeff argues that there’s no room for subtlety anymore, and suspects that the Academy will blame the script for the film’s middling box office haul thus far. While art and commerce are two distinctly different arenas, it’s naive to think that voters will ignore a film’s financial performance. But perhaps First Man will prove to have legs throughout the holiday season.
Finally, the gang kicks around Can You Ever Forgive Me? written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty. This is a really well-written two-hander brought to life by two perfectly-cast actors in Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, and Holofcener is an indie darling with plenty of support within the Academy. It’s a movie about a struggling writer, and it’s hard to imagine that it won’t resonate with that branch of the Academy. Another indie darling making her presence felt this awards season is Debra Granik, writer and director of the acclaimed drama Leave No Trace starring Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin McKenzie. She’s firmly in the mix this season, and halfway through the episode she stops by the set of FYC for an interview with Perri, who asks her about the trick behind a good adaptation.
In the end, Scott, Perri and Jeff come to a compromise regarding their predictions, so tune in to see where they settled. To keep up with all things For Your Consideration, follow the gang on Twitter and Instagram at @MovieMantz, @PNemiroff and @TheInSneider. Stay tuned next week for more awards talk, and we’ll FYC-ya later!