The nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards are now in and some films have picked up recommendations in multiple categories with Joker, The Irishman, 1917 and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood all into double digits.
A number of this year’s films were adaptations based on fiction or non-fiction books and graphic novels. The Oscars’ Best Adapted Screenplay nominations for 2020 include some of the award-season favourites and span a literary classic, religious drama, comic book origin, mobster marathon and historical comedy.
We’ve found the texts the films are based on and looked at the Best Adapted Screenplay predictions to find out which picture could be mostly likely to win this year’s award.
Best adapted screenplay predictions
The current favourite to win in the Oscars’ Best Adapted Screenplay category is The Irishman written by Steven Zaillian and directed by Martin Scorsese. The film stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci and appears in multiple other award categories too. Nominations range from directing to special effects (the majority of the effects budget was devoted to de-aging the stars for flashback sequences), totalling 10 nominations overall.The plot follows union official (and alleged hitman) Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro) as he recalls his time connected to the Mafia while working with his friend and union leader, Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). The film is based on the non-fiction book, I Heard You Paint Houses written by Charles Brandt, a former investigator. The title of the book refers to the mob code phrase, meaning to kill people.
Considered second most likely to take home the prize and also up for multiple awards is Little Women. The film was adapted by Greta Gerwig from the American classic novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott.
The plot follows the four March sisters as they grow up and begin to come of age in 1800s Massachusetts, USA. With their father away fighting in the civil war, the girls and their mother must make ends meet while they make decisions about their futures and the lives they’d like to lead one day.
The adaptation stars Saoirse Ronan (who is nominated for Best Leading Actress in this role), Emma Watson, Florence Pugh (up for Best Supporting Actress) and Eliza Scanlen as the sisters, Timothée Chalamat as Laurie, their childhood friend and neighbour, plus Meryl Streep as the girls’ rich, crotchety aunt.
Set in the midst of World War II, the historical comedy-drama, Jojo Rabbit follows a member of Hitler Youth, Johannes “Jojo” Betzler and his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler. After finding out his mother (Scarlet Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic, Jojo begins to question his beliefs.
The film is based on the book Caging Skies written by Christine Leunens. Taika Waititi adapted the novel for the screen as well as directing the picture and playing Adolf in it himself. The adaptation is up for six awards at the 2020 Oscars, including Scarlett Johansson for Best Supporting Actress in this role (as well as Best Leading Actress for her part in Marriage Story).
The Two Popes
In the Vatican, Rome, live two very different popes. Conservative Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing he would step down from his post, the first in over 700 years to make this decision voluntarily. Enter the new, liberal Pope Francis, a man from Buenos Aires who loves football and used to be a bouncer. The Two Popes follows the pair as they discover whether there is anything at all they can agree on.
The Two Popes stars Johnathon Francis as Pope Francis who is nominated for Best Leading Actor and Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict, up for Best Supporting Actor.
The original book and screenplay were both written by Anthony McCarten who also wrote The Theory of Everything about the life of Stephen Hawking and Darkest Hour, about Winston Churchill.
The film with both the most Academy Award nominations (11 in total) and arguably most controversy is Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Written for screen by Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, the picture offers an origin story for DC Comics’ infamous Batman villain, based on the graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke.
Isolated, failed comedian Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) begins a slow descent into becoming his criminal alter-ego, The Joker to take revenge on the society which rejected him. Phoenix is up for Best Leading Actor for his portrayal which has been widely well-received – a tough act following Heath Ledger’s acclaimed performance.
Other aspects of the film were criticised, however, for being too violent and reminiscent of real US mass-shooting as there were concerns the plot could inspire others to commit violence. Despite this, the film has been nominated in nearly half of all the Oscars awards categories, making it the most nominated comic book movie of all time.