Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Awards-Nazi Award Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay

No offense to any of the hardworking screenwriters who slaved away adapting some previous work into a movie that came out last year, but this category is just so... desolate. By far the weakest field I've seen since I started writing about this stuff. I looked up more Adapted Screenplay FYC posts on various Oscar blogs than ever before, because the Oscar frontrunners just weren't doing it for me.

I suppose that's a blessing in disguise, though, as it forced me hunt down some true gems that I probably would have missed otherwise. So for what they are, here are my five Best Adapted Screenplay nominees for 2014. Here's hoping 2015 has more to choose from.

Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)
I was initially distracted by its three-films-in-one format, but retrospect is kinder to this pulp thriller than most because Flynn's story material is memorable, intriguing, and devilishly entertaining; Narratively propulsive, even through its odd tonal shifts, and with lots of juicy satiric commentary embedded throughout.

The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)
Hits every dramatic beat you'd expect it to hit with textbook precision. You could argue that Moore's cheeky three-headed structure is a superfluous gimmick, but it serves the very pertinent dramatic purpose of keeping us from getting a handle on this Turing character until the end, maintaining his enigmatic allure.

A Most Wanted Man (Andrew Bovell)
Bovell's superb adaptation of the novel on which this well calculated spy drama is based seamlessly intertwines its parallel plot threads and makes smart use of dialogue to deliver narrative points and character details simultaneously; Keeps the whole film story-driven but not at the expense of human accessibility.

Obvious Child (Gillian Robespierre, Karen Maine, Elisabeth Holm)
Robespierre's expansion of her own 2009 short film proves a winning combination of wit and heartbreak, telling a story about becoming an adult through a character who communicates via dirty jokes. Can't tell whether its so funny it hurts or if it hurts so much it's funny. Either way, it makes for a touching, incisive dramedy.

Wild (Nick Hornby)
Hornby wrangles an introspective character study out of what could have been a mere human interest story. Over the course of the film, we piece together a disjointed but complete portrait of who Cheryl is through a brilliantly mapped out stream-of-consciousness; Arguably his finest work yet in the visual medium.

Just missed:
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver)
Edge of Tomorrow (Christopher McQuarrie, Jez & John-Henry Butterworth)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Dean DeBlois)
The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, Walter Campbell)


  1. Slim year indeed.. But I feel very comfortable with my 5 choices.
    Best Adapted screenplay:

    Inherent Vice
    A Most Wanted Man
    The Two Faces of January

  2. No How To Train Your Dragon 2 make Tyler sad. :(