Best Adapted Screenplay Predictions – IndieWire

Nominations voting is from January 11-16, 2024, with official Oscar nominations announced January 23, 2024. Final voting is February 22-27, 2024. And finally, the 96th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 10 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT. We update predictions through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2024 Oscar picks.

The State of the Race

Summer blockbusters “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” will likely go toe-to-toe in this category (along with many others, including Best Picture and Director). Nominated twice each for screenwriting, Greta Gerwig (“Little Women,” “Lady Bird”) and Noah Baumbach (“A Marriage Story,” “The Squid and the Whale”) crafted a smart and witty screenplay for “Barbie,” based on the Mattel dolls Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling), that lured audiences with its Barbie Land charms, before throwing in a surprising feminist message.

NYFF Spotlight slate

David Byrne of Talking Heads in "Stop Making Sense"

Also nominated twice for his screenplays is Christopher Nolan (“Memento,” “Inception”), who painstakingly created a twisty ticking-bomb timeline for “Oppenheimer,” starring Cillian Murphy in the title role, based on Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin’s lauded tome “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.” Every word counts as a gamut of real-life characters move in and out of the frame, always centered on the point-of-view of scientist Oppenheimer and his moral quandaries about creating the atom bomb that eventually fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Also a contender is animated blockbuster “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” written by Oscar-winning producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (2018’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”) along with Dave Callaham, whose countless (and delightful) iterations of Spider-Man careen across the multi-verse at top speed while remaining accessible and crystal clear.

The heart-tugging and funny Judy Blume adaptation by Kelly Fremon Craig of ’70s coming-of-age story “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” scored strong reviews but modest box office, and may not be remembered by Oscar time. Lionsgate would have to mount a campaign to remind voters.

As always, festivals often launch screenplay contenders. Cannes introduced Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”) and director Martin Scorsese’s three-hour adaptation of David Grann’s 2017 true-crime saga “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” set in Osage County, Oklahoma in the 1920s and starring Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Lily Gladstone. Winning the Grand Prix at Cannes was writer-director Jonathan Glazer’s chilling “The Zone of Interest,” starring Sandra Huller, based on the Martin Amis novel set behind the scenes at Auschwitz.

More prospective nominees will emerge as would-be Oscar contenders play the fall festivals. Debuting at Venice is macabre coming-of-age tale “Poor Things,” by writer-director and two-time screenplay nominee Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite,” “The Lobster”), who reunites with his “The Favourite” Oscar nominee Emma Stone and co-writer Tony McNamara, adapting Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel.

Michael Mann’s sprawling biopic “Ferrari” stars Adam Driver in the title role. Troy Kennedy Martin (“The Italian Job”) adapted the screenplay from Brock Yates’ biography “Enzo Ferrari: The Man and the Machine.” Also a true story, written by Julia Cox: “Nyad” shows how long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad (Annette Bening), after four tries over the years, at age 64 finally completed the swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. The film marks the narrative feature debut of Oscar-winning documentarians Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (“Free Solo”).

Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo in POOR THINGS. Photo by Atsushi Nishijima. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
“Poor Things”Atsushi Nishijima

Another A-list director is in the festival fray: David Fincher, whose thriller “The Killer” was adapted by BAFTA-nominated Andrew Kevin Walker (“Se7en”) from the French graphic novel from Alexis Nolent and illustrator Luc Jacamon. Writer-director Jeff Nichols’ motorcycle saga “The Bikeriders,” starring Michael Shannon, Tom Hardy, Mike Faist, and Austin Butler, is inspired by the 1968 photo-book by Danny Lyon.

With “All of Us Strangers,” BAFTA nominee Andrew Haigh (“45 Years”) adapted a supernatural romance by Taichi Yamada about a man (Andrew Scott) who gets involved with a neighbor (Paul Mescal) and finds his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell), not aged, living in the house he grew up in. Writer-director Garth Davis (“Lion”) co-wrote farm drama “Foe” with Ian Reid. It co-stars Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal as a rural couple whose life is upended by a strange proposal.

Pushed back from October to November and skipping the festival circuit is Denis Villeneuve’s continued adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel, “Dune: Part Two,” which the director wrote with Jon Spaihts; they were nominated for “Part One” (along with Eric Roth).

The year’s end brings the film adaptation of the Broadway musical “The Color Purple” by Marcus Gardley, which was based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel. So was the 1985 film from Steven Spielberg, who is a producer of this movie along with Quincy Jones and the stage musical’s Oprah Winfrey, who starred in the film.

Contenders are listed in alphabetical order below. No actor will be deemed a frontrunner until I have seen the film.

Greta Gerwig at the
Greta Gerwig at the “Barbie” premiereGetty


Kelly Fremon Craig (“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret”)
Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach (“Barbie”)
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller & Dave Callaham (“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”)
Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)


Julia Cox (“Nyad”)
Garth Davis and Ian Reid (“Foe”)
Marcus Gardley (“The Color Purple”)
Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
Andrew Haigh (“All of Us Strangers”)
Yorgos Lanthimos and Tony McNamara (“Poor Things”)
Troy Kennedy Martin (“Ferrari”)
Jeff Nichols (“The Bikeriders”)
Andrew Kevin Walker (“The Killer”)
Denis Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts (“Dune: Part Two”)

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