Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far:
Today, Howard Casner of Rantings and Ravings is here to look at the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay.
When it comes to the screenplay categories, one is usually what is sometimes called a consolation prize, an award given to a film that is not likely to win in another category, but that the Academy really likes and wants to give it something. The other usually goes to the film that will win Best Picture.
This year may not quite go that way. The original screenplay award is expected to go Promising Young Woman, which may also win Best Actress for Carey Mulligan. However, the other will probably stay true to form and go to the top award winner.
Overall, I found the nominees in this category to be a little lackluster this year (though I haven’t seen one, which, by all accounts, is supposed to be excellent, but I can’t get to the movie theater in time for the Oscars and I’m not paying $20.00 to rent it on Amazon).
But on to the nominees, in alphabetical order.
Borat Subsequent Movie Film, with nine writers, including the star Sacha Baron Cohen, based on the character created by Cohen. I found the first Borat to be brilliant satire, non-stop laughs, and very insightful when it comes to America and its values. And most people found the sequel to be the same, if not better. However, this time round, I found the characters to now be little more than annoying and the satire of Eastern Europe far more meanspirited and bigoted than the first time around. But to each their own.
The Father, screenplay by Cristopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, from the play by Zeller. This is the one I haven’t seen. But it comes highly recommended and won the BAFTA for adapted screenplay.
Nomadland, screenplay by the director Chloe Zhao, adapted from the book by Jessica Bruder. A strong and moving character study, not just of the central character, but of a subsection of America, nomads who travel and live in their various modes of transportation. It’s odd in one way: all the characters talk about how wonderful their life is and the freedom their way of living brings—still, they all seem miserable and more caught up in the myth of Thoreau than the reality. But a wonderful film that is expected to take the top prize and the screenplay should go with it.
One Night in Miami, screenplay by Kemp Powers, from his play of the same name. The film is a character study of a fictionalized meeting of Malcolm X, Cassius Clay (not yet Mohammed Ali), Sam Cooke and Jim Brown in the titled city. To be honest, I kept waiting for something to happen or a plot to kick in. Very tedious and all on the same level of tension.
The White Tiger, screenplay by Ramin Bahrani (who also directed), from the book by Aravind Adiga. It tells the story of a young man in India trapped by his background of poverty and how, by becoming a chauffer to a wealthy, but corrupt, family, manages to rise to the top of the business world. The first half is a bit tough to get through; the central character isn’t dramatically compelling enough. But halfway through, something happens that makes the rest of the film riveting.