It’s been nearly 20 years since Alfred Uhry managed to double-dip his way into a screenwriting Oscar, adapting his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Driving Miss Daisy.” But that could all change this year, with two enterprising playwrights hoping to re-create theatrical triumphs.
Scribe Peter Morgan, nominated for his feature screenwriting debut “The Queen” two years ago, should be at the top of anyone’s Oscar predictions list for “Frost/Nixon,” which he adapted from his hit West End play.
He should encounter heavy competition from another adaptation of a theater hit, John Patrick Shanley’s scripting of his own “Doubt,” which has already leapt an arguably bigger hurdle by winning the Pulitzer Prize. (Shanley is also an Oscar vet, having been laurelled for “Moonstruck.”)
Following Morgan’s lead, other relative newcomers who could see their names called include Justin Haythe, for his adaptation of “Revolutionary Road,” and Dustin Lance Black for “Milk.”
That’s not to say Academy veterans will be left in the cold. Woody Allen (nominated an astounding 14 times for original screenplay, winning twice) should be in contention for his low-key Catalonian confection “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” Stanley Weiser’s “W” script could strike a nerve in this election year. And Oscar-winning “Forrest Gump” scripter Eric Roth looks to be a major player for his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
“Slumdog Millionaire” writer Simon Beaufoy certainly knows how to to ride an unconventional story idea into Academy recognition, having been tapped for “The Full Monty” 10 years ago.
And while no animated film has ever won a screenwriting honor, Pixar’s “Wall-E” seems to stand as good a chance as any to break the blackout, with two-time screenplay nominee Andrew Stanton at the helm.