Once known as “Best Writing,” Best Adapted Screenplay is a film whose script has been adapted from another source, be it play, short story, novel, etc. Chances are, most nominated films since the Oscars began have been adapted from something. Some of our favorite movies started out as written works that were then adapted to the big screen.
As book lovers, we may love screen adaptations of our favorite books, but sometimes we tend to get a little hesitant. What if the writers mess up our favorite characters? What if they leave out key scenes? Although we’re the first in line to see these adaptations, our hearts still pound with nervousness as we watch our favorite books come to life.
Thankfully, movies sometimes get it right.
1995 Winner: Sense and Sensibility, adapted by Emma Thompson from Jane Austen’s novel
By far one of my favorite Austen adaptations, Sense and Sensibility was my first experience with not only this time period but Austen’s classic works. Emma Thompson, genius that she is, perfectly adapted this novel into film and it swept the film awards that year, winning not only this award but Best Picture as well.
Thompson’s adaptation of Austen’s novel (seriously, I feel real snooty-pants using that line) manages to capture the smart, savvy nature of the Dashwood girls and Austen while adding her (Thompson) own smart and savvy nature. She manages to keep the dialogue simple and witty while accurately expressing the drama of this novel.
I really can’t say enough about how much I love this movie. Everything is so well-done that it adds something to just how great it is. But what I love most is the dialogue. There’s not much action or huge romantic gestures, but with a script like it has who needs any of that? Give me beautiful dialogue any day of the week!
1962 Winner: To Kill a Mockingbird, adapted by Horton Foote from Harper Lee’s novel
I’m slightly ashamed to say that I’ve never read this novel, so I’m a little hesitant to put it on here because I can’t say how well the adaptation done. However, since it won the award, I’m guessing it was pretty well done.
Being from Alabama, I’m familiar with Harper Lee and her works, but in my research for this post it’s been exciting to be reminded just how close to home she is. She went to and graduated from my alma mater (and current place of employment); she was in the same sorority as my freshman roommate (okay, that’s a stretch); I get her confused with Kathryn Windham Tucker (who is also from Alabama). So why haven’t I read this book? I have no excuse… a copy sat in the cabinet in the bathroom for years and years when I was growing up.
But the movie… oh, the movie! There’s no doubt that it deserved all the praise it received. Gregory Peck is a remarkable actor, but it was with this great story and adaptation that he was able to make Atticus Finch come to life.
I’m interested to know your thoughts on both of these movies and books as well as any others you think had excellent adapted screenplays.
The nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay are:
Who do you think will win? Vote and check back on Sunday to see if your vote was a winner!