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Oscars: ‘A Hidden Life’ Will Compete in Adapted Screenplay After Fox Searchlight Campaigns for Original (EXCLUSIVE)

A Hidden Life Movie
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Despite Fox Searchlight’s Oscar campaign for Terrence Malick’s script for “A Hidden Life” to compete in the original screenplay category, the Academy sees things differently.

A rep for the Academy confirms that its Writers Branch Executive Committee has ruled that the script for the real-life WWII drama be eligible to compete in the adapted category.

The film tells the story of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer who refused to fight for the Nazis after Germany invaded his country.

The official credit for “A Hidden Life” acknowledges use of “Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings From Prison,” a collection of letters between Jägerstätter and his wife Fani edited by Erna Putz, as the basis of its decisions: “While the letters and voiceover account for a small portion of the actual film, the filmmakers wished to highlight the importance of Ms. Putz’s book as one of the only sources to access the writings should someone wish to research the correspondence between Franz and Fani.”

The credit goes on to say, “The actual letters (many of them) are still to be found in St. Radegund, Austria with Franz’s daughter Maria.”

This isn’t the first time the Academy has switched a film’s screenplay category. Most recently, in 2016, “Moonlight” was put into adapted after A24 argued it was an original screenplay. The Barry Jenkins script was based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s stage play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” which was never actually produced. That same year, “Loving” went from original to adapted because it was based on the 2011 HBO documentary, “The Loving Story.”