Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay:
As I mentioned in my predictions for the Best Original Screenplay award, the screenplay categories can often be difficult to predict on the basis of precursor awards as rarely do all award ceremonies agree on what makes an original or adapted screenplay. This year it was Moonlight that was doing most of the category jumping. While it was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the BAFTAs and winning at the WGAs, it is nominated here at the Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay. Winning at the WGAs against the likes of Manchester By The Sea and Oscar-favourite La La Land signals that the writers branch does love this Moonlight screenplay. It is also the sort of social commentary that one would expect to win this award, delving into sexuality, race and human struggle.
As Moonlight is untested in the Adapted category its hard to predict how it will go against those scripts, but one would expect winning the Original category has to stand for something. It is also important to note that of those nominated in the Adapted categories through the award season, there has been no clear winner. For example, the WGA went to Arrival, while the BAFTA went to Lion. Attempting to decide who could take the award away from Moonlight is far more difficult than trying to predict who will win. That shows that Moonlight really has little competition. Fences could surprise with the Academy wanting to give a nod to August Wilson, arguably one of the most important play-wrights in history, who wrote the screenplay years ago before his death. Viola Davis is certainly campaigning for this, mentioning him and his script whenever she can on the red carpet or on stage. This sort of discussion could push the film over the finish line. Hidden Figures is unlikely to win anywhere else so this could be their consolation prize, but realistically if Moonlight didn’t win, it would be a shock. For the spoiler I am choosing Arrival simply due to its WGA win, and the crossover in voters between that ceremony and the Oscars, plus it would give the voters a chance to award a Sci-fi film.
Potential Spoiler: Arrival