2025 Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay Predictions

Nominations voting is from January 8-12, 2025, with official Oscar nominations announced January 17, 2025. Final voting is February 11-18, 2025. And finally, the 97th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 2 and air live on ABC at 7:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. PT. We update our picks through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2025 Oscar predictions.

The State of the Race

Like it or not, the state of the movie business is at a point where the Best Adapted Screenplay conversation starts around which major sequels are Oscar contenders. Even with its tepid critical response, it is hard not to throw “Inside Out 2” on the list when the first one received a Best Original Screenplay nomination and won Best Animated Feature in 2016. Plus, the Pixar film has been the most successful 2024 theatrical release so far, coming out at a time where box-office analysts were ready to throw in the towel on the year.

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Dune: Part Two” also got the year off to a great start, significantly outgrossing its predecessor and receiving better reviews. Even with the Writing branch’s hesitation around nominating sequels, filmmaker Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Jon Spaihts, previously nominated for “Dune,” are likely to get credit again for their confident take on a sci-fi novel once considered unadaptable.

Both “Gladiator” and “Joker” received screenplay Oscar nominations, so sight unseen both “Gladiator II” and “Joker: Folie à Deux” make the list of scripts with Academy Award potential. But as proven by “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” a poor performance at the box office could quickly dampen those odds.

Interestingly, contenders “Hit Man” and “Sing Sing” played at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival alongside “American Fiction,” which won this Oscar category in March. Similar to Cord Jefferson’s Audience Award winner, both films are major crowdpleasers that proved they can sustain months of awards conversations and balance humor and heart with their spin on real-life events.

Given how many recent winners are literary adaptations of source material published in the last couple decades, it is safe to put an upcoming film like “The Nickel Boys,” a Colson Whitehead adaptation, or Marielle Heller’s adaptation of Rachel Yoder’s popular 2021 novel “Nightbitch,” on list of screenplays that likely to be on awards voters’ radars. However, thinking about the films that actually won this category, like “Jojo Rabbit,” “Women Talking,” or “American Fiction,” it may be more beneficial to adapt smaller novels rather than ones that won major literary prizes. Many who see “Conclave” or “The Wild Robot” won’t even know the films are based on books, and that could be to their benefit.

Potential nominees are listed in alphabetical order; no film will be deemed a frontrunner until we have seen it.

Clint Bentley, Greg Kwedar, Clarence “Divine Eye” Maclin, and John “Divine G” Whitfield (“Sing Sing”)
Dave Holstein, Meg LeFauve, and Kelsey Mann (“Inside Out 2”)
Richard Linklater and Glen Powell (“Hit Man”)
Jeff Nichols (“The Bikeriders”)
Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve (“Dune: Part Two”)

Joslyn Barnes and RaMell Ross (“The Nickel Boys”)
Peter Brown and Chris Sanders (“The Wild Robot”)
Audrey Diwan and Rebecca Zlotowski (“Emanuelle”)
Robert Eggers (“Nosferatu”)
Marielle Heller and Rachel Yoder (“Nightbitch”)
Winnie Holzman (“Wicked”)
Barry Jenkins (“The Fire Inside”)
Claire Keegan and Enda Walsh (“Small Things Like These”)
Justin Kuritzkes (“Queer”)
Nico Lathouris and George Miller (“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”)
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver (“Joker: Folie à Deux”)
Eric Roth and Robert Zemeckis (“Here”)
David Scarpa (“Gladiator II”)
Peter Straughan (“Conclave”)
Malcolm Washington, Virgil Williams, and August Wilson (“The Piano Lesson”)

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