Adapted Screenplay is an unpredictable category not because there is close competition amongst the nominees, but due to complete uncertainty amongst the nominees. The majority of the precursor awards for screenplay are for nominees in the original screenplay category. Based upon what precursor awards that have been awarded to films in this category, the competition seemingly is between The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. The Imitation Game does have a good chance of winning within this category mainly because this is the only category this film have a legitimate chance of winning an award within. The Academy has a tendency to award every Best Picture nominee to some degree, even if that award is a minimal one. Adapted Screenplay would be an appropriate win for The Imitation Game, which told the untold story of Alan Turing, whose genius essentially saved the world from Nazi tyranny, but who was ultimately undermined for being a homosexual. In that regard, the film functions as an intelligent World-War-Two film while also being a topical film by emphasizing the tragic discrimination of homosexuals in the past. What further aids The Imitation Game to a win is its recent WGA (Writers Guild Award) win for adapted screenplay. Its stiffest competition is The Theory of Everything, whose only precursor win being the BAFTA. While this award win places The Theory of Everything as a top contender, this isn’t entirely a solid position for the film. Anthony McCarten’s script is based upon Jane Hawking’s book of the same title, but rather than focusing upon her, his script places a larger emphasis on Stephen Hawking and his progression with ALS. More glaring with his script is the minimal focus on Stephen Hawking’s brilliance and life achievements and instead centering the biopic upon his fight with ALS. Subsequently, the writing surrounding Jane Hawking is secondary and if it weren’t for Felicity Jones’ performance, the character and role would have gone unnoticed. Yet despite these shortcomings, The Theory of Everything has been a widely successful film and it shouldn’t be dismissed immediately.
The remaining three nominees in this category may seem like wildcards, but they do have enough clout to potentially pull off a win in this category. Paul Thomas Anderson’s nomination for writing Inherent Vice may have been a surprising entry into this category, but it indicates the Academy’s interest and appreciation for Anderson’s quirky interpretation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel. It is unlikely Anderson will achieve a win for his script, but the mere fact he was nominated instead of Gillian Flynn’s script for Gone Girl should be something worth recognizing. The remaining two wildcard nominees who could pull an upset falls first to Jason Hall’s script for American Sniper. With the controversy and popularity of the film at the forefront of voters’ minds, it is possible that the gritty and realistic script could achieve a win. However, it is Damien Chazelle’s music-driven script that may ultimately pull off an upset in this category. Chazelle’s script goes beyond crafting a tremendously brilliant film, but it also has evoked a newfound love and appreciation for jazz music, more specifically, an appreciation for drummers. Do not be surprised if Whiplash pulls an upset in this category. Out of all the nominees, Whiplash is the most deserving in this category.
American Sniper, Jason Hall
The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, Damien Chazelle
Will Win: The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
Could Win: American Sniper, Jason Hall or Whiplash, Damien Chazelle or Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
Should Win: Whiplash, Damien Chazelle