Friday, February 12, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Adapted Screenplay

As strong as this year's lineup of adapted screenplays is, I find myself hard-pressed to muster up any excitement for this category. Maybe its because the winner is a foregone conclusion at this point. Maybe it's because the films with the most Best Picture buzz are ones with original scripts. Whatever the reason, the enthusiasm is just not there.

That's not to undermine the quality of the nominees. On the contrary, they're all very good. The obvious one to beat is Up in the Air, which has deservedly swept the precursor season for telling its story with profundity, humour, and expert pacing. It's the natural choice for voters who want to give at least one win to triple-nominee Jason Reitman, as well as his co-writer Sheldon Turner. Their only plausible competition are Nick Hornby's An Education and Geoffrey Fletcher's Precious, both Best Picture nominees and both very strong screenplays. Rounding out the five are a couple of somewhat unconventional nominees (although this branch is known for throwing convention out the window from time to time); District 9, a high-concept racially-charged science fiction, and In the Loop, a wry and utterly hilarious political satire. I personally would have loved to see The Road or Coraline in this lineup, but knowing how that would never happen, I have to say District 9 and In the Loop are pleasant inclusions.

Yep. Not really much to say on this race. If there's a spoiler waiting in the wings I'd guess it to be Precious, but I think the outcome of this category is locked down on the ground.

Will/should win: Up in the Air

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