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Blueprints: The Nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay

Jorge continues to dive into the Oscar writing nominees.

Last week we dove into the nominees for Original Screenplay, which was an incredibly crowded category from the start, and there’s not a real frontrunner at the moment; more than one candidate has strong chances. The race was always very different with Adapted Screenplays. From the very start, only Call Me by Your Name truly felt like lock, and the four other slots were anyone's guess for months. Let’s take a look at each of the scripts, and see what was it that got them here...

  • Call Me By Your Name

(Read the full script here)

Screenplay by: James Ivory
Based on: “Call Me by Your Name” by André Aciman
The elevator pitch: Set in an Italian summer during the late 80s, Elio’s family takes in an American graduate student, which ignites in him the burning feelings of longing, desire, lust, and loss.
Screenplay length: 94 pages
Oscar History: Fourth nomination for James Ivory, but first one in Writing. He was previously nominated for Best Director in 1987 for A Room with a View, in 1993 for Howard’s End, and in 1994 for Remains of the Day.
Memorable scene: Heartbroken about the end of the love affair with Oliver, Elio goes to his father for advice, in which he states that we must feel everything that comes to us, good and bad.


  • The Disaster Artist 

(Read the full script here)

Screenplay by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Based on: “The Disaster Artist” by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell
The elevator pitch: A behind-the-scenes look at the inception and production of The Room, considered to be one of the worst movies ever made, and its tortured creator Tommy Wiseau.
Screenplay length: 111 pages
Oscar History: First nomination for both writers.
Memorable scene: After walking out of the premiere because of the audience reaction, Greg goes after Tommy to reassure him that the laughter means the movie (and him) are actually a success.


  • Logan 

(Read the full script here)

Screenplay by: Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green
Based on: the characters of Wolverine by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and John Romita St.
The elevator pitch: A weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X as he attempts to hide from the world, and his past. However, his plans take a turn when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.
Screenplay length: 125 pages
Oscar History: Scott Frank was previously nominated in this same category in 1999 for Out of Sight. First nomination for James Mangold and Michael Green.
Memorable scene: Knowing his end is coming near, Professor Charles Xavier releases his conscious to who he thinks is Logan.


  • Molly’s Game

(Read the full script here)

Screenplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Based on: “Molly's Game: From Hollywood's Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker” by Molly Bloom
The elevator pitch: The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.
Screenplay length: 199 pages
Oscar History: Aaron Sorkin won in this category in 2011 for The Social Network, and was nominated again in 2012 for Moneyball.
Memorable scene: Molly is confronted with Charlie as to why she did the things how she did them and what the consequences might be.


  • Mudbound

(Read the full script here)

Screenplay by: Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
Based on: “Mudbound” by Hillary Jordan
The elevator pitch: Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle with their respective families to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.
Screenplay length: 118 pages
Oscar History: First nomination for both writers.
Memorable scene: Laura makes Florence a job offer to work with her in the house, in which the racial and social class differences of the two families has never been louder. 

Who Should Win: Full disclosure, I’ve only seen two of the five nominees, but I am still convinced this is Call Me by Your Name’s game to lose. Yes, it is a lyrical poem about youth, desire, lost, and loss, and the way it captures its themes in small moments is hard to top. But also no one did better the “Adapted” part of the category. The movie translated the monologue-heavy passages of the book and transformed them into cinematic language. It understand the strengths of its source materials and translates them into film. Exactly what a good adaptation should do. Don't forget to vote on Who Should Win the screenplay prizes on the Oscar charts.

Will Win: Unless something truly incredible happens, this is James Ivory’s. He will become the oldest Oscar winner at 89 years old.

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Reader Comments (20)

Molly's Game being 199 Pages...yeah, that's about what I thought, and it probably should have been at least 1/2 an hour longer. The issue with the end product is that its a breathless torrent of raw info. Also: That "1/2 hour longer" guess is VERY MUCH a light estimate. More honest estimate is there's actually enough going on in that story for a 6 season cable show and Sorkin just wasted a great one of those on a movie that's just "good" at best. On top of that: Sorkin is officially at 3 nominations, unofficially at 4, due to his uncredited work on Bulworth.

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I can't deny James Ivory his Oscar for this, but I actually think Mudbound is a better script.

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

The text for the Screenplay page, in the Adapted section, has gone all awry (well, it has on my computer anyways).

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

James Ivory will probably win

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I really wonder if there have ever been three lone Adapted Screenplay nominees in a single year before. Anyone?

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Call Me By Your Name will win and I can't say that James Ivory would be an undeserving winner, but I think the film is as good as it is in a large part because of the ways in which the director Luca Guadagnino DIVERGED from the screenplay, such as doing away with the unnecessary voice over.

Which brings me to a question that I've always wondered: when people vote for best screenplay for the Oscars and other awards, do they vote for it based on what actually made it to film, or based on what is written down? Do they actually read the screenplays? Should they?

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDylan C

Ivory will win because of his legacy and his movie being the only best picture nominee. Rees and Williams deserve it more.

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJess

I think MUDBOUND should handily take this. That said, it'll be such a delight to see Ivory (at last!) with a golden statue.

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

I am so happy that James Ivory is still working, working with people that appreciate him, and that his work is being met with enthusiastic response.

It must be so hard to continue on when one's love and work partners, Ismail and Ruth, have passed on.

I haven't seen the film yet, but I would guess Ivory's script is suffused with love and the surety that exhilarating art can be made in an environment of love and friendship.

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Had Ivory not adapted the CMBYN (or Guadagnino), it would have never been nominated. Not because it's a bad script (it's really not), but because it's Ivory's name, his age, and the tired routine of "dues" that carried it all the way to the end.

The fact it serves as such a nice bookend to his Maurice, 30 years after its release, probably helps to move that narrative along.

Of these nominees, Logan is the most deserving on pure writing alone. It's such a raw take on a story that's been told to, no pun intended (I think), death.

Also, as far as CMBYN's script and its ability to translate monologues into cinematic language: What about the 10 seconds of Oliver's shorts with zero context? No one who hasn't already read the book can comprehend what that's about and will see it only as, well, shots of bathing suits out to dry.

And anyone who says they know what it means without context is quite simply a liar.

In its defense, though, good on Ivory and Guadagnino for preserving the dad's monologue just about verbatim; not only does it help the nomination, but it's clearly touched a nerve in everyone who's watched the movie. So there IS that.

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterManny

Off topic (not so much)... one of the Oscar night open questions, is how many APRICOT jokes are going to be mentioned... also, does anyone knows if the apricot's prices and sales are increasing? Lol.

A good way to measure "Call me by your name"'s legacy.

February 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso


February 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterYouknowwho

I thought it was a peach.

February 2, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrosecityjesse

James Legend Ivory HAS to win.

February 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGj

So what’s the deal with the shorts?

February 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterParanoid Android

Manny--I think the shorts rang a bell to anyone who has ever had a summer crush on a boy. Seeing them hung out to dry with their linings exposed evoked memories that I could clearly smell the chlorine. What the CMBYN does amazingly well is in expressing feelings and emotions without resorting to words. I read the script last night and it looked like there was some voiceover originally planned--not a lot--but it was a wise and daring move to eliminate it. Guadagnino trusted himself and the audience enough to know that showing is often more effective than telling.

February 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Absolutely, Raul! However, the shorts signify ACTUAL things to Elio in relation to how he interacts with Oliver and how he perceives Oliver to be when he wears a specific color of them.

That I can’t inagine anyone getting with just the visuals.

So, yes, it evokes that summer memory, but does almost no work for the characterization of Oliver and Elio.

That’s what I was trying to get at. :)

February 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterManny

Ah, yes, the color code. I think even in the book the color code is inconsequential as it’s proven inaccurate. Including it in the film wouldn’t have added much. The same with the character of Vimini. The filmmakers wisely fleshed out the mother instead and gave her Vimini’s moments from the book.

February 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Oh, god yes. Vimini is the worst part of the book, bar none. I'm very, VERY happy Ivory realized this and did away with her entirely.

February 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterManny

James Ivory wrote a smart and tricky screenplay- my only problem with it - SPOILER ALERT -
is the father's final speech- it seem like something they wanted the audience to hear- it seemed more directed at the audience than at the boy- END OF SPOILER- but why wasn't the director nominated- yes it's a good script but the directors sensuous approach is what makes the film really work

February 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

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