Final Oscar Predictions: Adapted Screenplay – Will Cord Jefferson’s Debut Script Overcome ‘Barbenheimer?’

Final Oscar Predictions: Adapted Screenplay – Will Cord Jefferson’s Debut Script Overcome ‘Barbenheimer?’

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

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2024 Oscars Predictions:
Best Adapted Screenplay

OPPENHEIMER, from left: Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, 2023. © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
OPPENHEIMER, from left: Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, 2023. © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Weekly Commentary (Updated March 7, 2024): Cord Jefferson stands on the brink of potentially making history in the adapted screenplay category with “American Fiction,” potentially becoming only the second Black solo writer to clinch the award, following Geoffrey Fletcher’s surprise victory for “Precious.” Furthermore, Jefferson would join the esteemed ranks of Jordan Peele, as the third Black solo debut scribe, who triumphed in the original screenplay category for 2017’s “Get Out.”

However, formidable competition looms in the form of “Oppenheimer.” Christopher Nolan’s multiple nominations for best picture, director, and screenplay indicate its strong presence in the race. Should Nolan secure a win for his adaptation of “American Prometheus” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, he would join an elite group of individuals to have achieved an Oscars hat-trick, alongside luminaries such as Leo McCarey for “Going My Way” (1944), Billy Wilder for “The Apartment” (1960), Francis Ford Coppola, “The Godfather Part II” (1974), James L. Brooks, “Terms of Endearment” (1983), Peter Jackson, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, “No Country for Old Men” (2007), Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “Birdman” (2014), Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite” (2019) and Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (2022).

Additionally, “Barbie” is still very much a contender. Greta Gerwig’s absence from the directing nominations has stirred considerable discussion during the phase two period, potentially garnering enough attention to propel her screenplay ahead of its closest competitors.

Will Win: “American Fiction” (Cord Jefferson)
Could Win: “Oppenheimer” (Christopher Nolan)
Should Win: “American Fiction”
Should have been here: “Origin” (Ava DuVernay) and “Robot Dreams” (Pablo Berger)

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

The 96th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 10.

And the Nominees Are:

  1. American Fiction” (MGM) — Cord Jefferson (based on “Erasure” by Percival Everett)

  2. Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Christopher Nolan (based on the book by Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin)

  3. Barbie” (Warner Bros.) — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach (based on ‘Barbie’ by Mattel)

  4. The Zone of Interest” (A24) — Jonathan Glazer (based on “The Zone of Interest” by Martin Amis)

  5. Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures) — Tony McNamara (based on the book by Alasdair Gray)

Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Studio)**

  • A Haunting in Venice” (20th Century Studios) — Michael Green

  • Priscilla” (A24) — Sofia Coppola

  • When You Finish Saving the World” (A24) — Jesse Eisenberg

  • The Zone of Interest” (A24) — Jonathan Glazer

  • The Burial” (Amazon Studios) — Doug Wright, Maggie Betts

  • Foe” (Amazon Studios) — Iain Reid, Garth Davis

  • Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures) — Eric Roth, Martin Scorsese

  • Across the River and Into the Trees” (Bleecker Street) — Peter Flannery

  • Trolls Band Together” (DreamWorks Animation) — Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Elizabeth Tippet

  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” (Focus Features) — Nia Vardalos

  • BlackBerry” (IFC Films) — Matt Johnson, Matthew Miller

  • The Taste of Things” (IFC Films/Sapan Studio) — Tran Anh Hung

  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (Illumination) — Matthew Fogel

  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” (Lionsgate) — Kelly Fremon Craig

  • The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (Lionsgate) — Michael Lesslie, Michael Arndt

  • John Wick Chapter 4” (Lionsgate) — Shay Hatten, Michael Finch

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quanumania” (Marvel Studios) — Jeff Loveness

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” (Marvel Studios) — James Gunn

  • The Marvels” (Marvel Studios) — Nia DaCosta, Megan McDonnell, Elissa Karasik

  • American Fiction” (MGM) — Cord Jefferson

  • The Boys in the Boat” (MGM) — Mark L. Smith

  • Creed III” (MGM) — Ryan Coogler, Keenan Coogler, Zach Baylin

  • Eileen” (Neon) — Ottessa Moshfegh, Luke Goebel

  • How to Blow Up a Pipeline” (Neon) — Ariela Barer, Jordan Sjol, Daniel Goldhaber

  • Mothers’ Instinct” (Neon) — Sarah Conradt

  • Origin” (Neon) — Ava DuVernay (based on the book by Isabel Wilkerson) **

  • Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” (Netflix) — Karey Kirkpatrick, John O’Farrell, Rachel Tunnard

  • The Killer” (Netflix) — Andrew Kevin Walker

  • Leave the World Behind” (Netflix) — Sam Esmail

  • Nimona” (Netflix) — Robert L. Baird, Lloyd Taylor

  • Nyad” (Netflix) — Julia Cox

  • Pain Hustlers” (Netflix) — Wells Tower

  • Society of the Snow” (Netflix) — J. A. Bayona, Bernat Vilaplana, Jaime Marques, Nicolás Casariego

  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” (Paramount Pictures) — Christopher McQuarrie, Erik Jendresen

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” (Paramount Pictures) — Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jeff Rowe, Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Brendon O’Brien

  • Next Goal Wins” (Searchlight Pictures) — Taika Waititi **

  • Nightbitch” (Searchlight Pictures) — Marielle Heller **

  • Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures) — Tony McNamara

  • Theater Camp” (Searchlight Pictures) — Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt

  • Dumb Money” (Sony Pictures) — Rebecca Angelo, Lauren Schuker Blum

  • The Equalizer 3” (Sony Pictures) — Richard Wenk

  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures) — Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dave Callaham

  • Freud’s Last Session” (Sony Pictures Classics) — Mark St. Germain

  • Ferrari” (Neon) — Troy Kennedy Martin

  • Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Christopher Nolan

  • Barbie” (Warner Bros.) — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach **

  • Blue Beetle” (Warner Bros.) — Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer

  • The Color Purple” (Warner Bros.) — Marcus Gardley

  • Wonka” (Warner Bros.) — Simon Farnaby, Paul King

  • The Little Mermaid” (Walt Disney Pictures) — David Magee

2022 category winner: “Women Talking” (MGM) — Sarah Polley (based on the novel by Miriam Toews)

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