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2022 Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay (Worst to Best)

The 2022 Oscar nominees are upon us, causing every film fanatic to write about their hot takes, display who they feel should win, and discuss the biggest misses award-wise. Who doesn’t love arguing about cinema? Regardless, 2021 was an excellent year for film, especially in the Best Original Screenplay section.

In this article, I will discuss the Best Original Screenplays and rank them from worst to best. I enjoyed these films (though there was one that made me question the existence of the Oscars in the first place). Maybe I’m being too harsh, but for now, let’s take a look at this list!

Still from "Drive My Car". Photo credit: Sightlines

The 2022 Oscars are upon us, causing many to dive through the lists to see what the academy recognizes as the best films of the year. Though everyone has disappointments to a certain degree, no one can deny how solid of a year it was for the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Nevertheless, this article will rank the five nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay from worst to best. I really enjoyed all five of these films, some much more than others, but that isn’t to say any of them were terrible. They all had something to offer and should be viewed, especially since they were nominated. Let’s take a look!

Logline: As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family's fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music by wanting to go to Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her parents.

CODA takes the coming-of-age trope of a high schooler with a dream of being a singer but combines it into an unfamiliar story setting. What we got in return was a beautiful film of a character in Emilia who has a passion that no one in her family can quite literally hear or understand.

CODA was a good film that practically anyone can enjoy. I applaud Director Sian Heder for crafting a beautiful story from its source material, The Belier Family (2014). My minor complaints have to do with its predictability since there isn’t anything unpredictable plot-wise outside of the CODA aspect.

Logline: A woman's beach vacation takes a dark turn when she begins to confront her past troubles.

Though critics loved The Lost Daughter, it was a very polarizing film for audiences. Being an adaptation of The Lost, Daughter by Elena Ferrante, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter is a daring film that pays off if you’re patient enough for the ride.

It takes a while to get moving, but once it does, you’re in for an emotional journey that has a rollercoaster of an effect. It’s a film that touches on the notion of motherhood and someone who isn’t ready for that particular moment in their life. Though many will view this as an unacceptable reality, it does happen in real life, no matter how much someone wants to deny it. We need more films like The Lost Daughter—films that are willing to take risks—even if it doesn’t totally pay off.

Logline: Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

General audiences will have a difficult time with The Power Of The Dog’s gentle pace, but as long as they can get through it, they’ll look back on one of the most influential films of the year. The fluctuation of desire and hatred combine into a Western that has an abrupt unanticipated ending that’ll leave you wanting more.

The Power of the Dog’s biggest strength (besides its performances) is, without a doubt, Jonny Greenwood’s score. I’m at the point where anything from Greenwood score-wise will be on my year-end favorites. Though The Power of the Dog has some minor pacing issues, everyone should view it alone for its motif and central focus.

Logline: Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel about the son of a noble family entrusted with protecting the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.

Dune made me excited about the film and the future of big-budget pictures since it’s a large-scale arthouse Sci-Fi flick that’s adapted from what many recognize as an impossible film to make. Being derived from the first half of Frank Herbert’s Dune, Dune is an incredible film that should sway anyone away from the idea that big-budget films are cliche.

Denis Villeneuve has showcased himself repeatedly to be recognized as a modern auteur. My bias shows with Dune since I love the book, but it genuinely blew me away. Rather than rely on cheap special effects, Dune has dense characters who feel relatable in a world that’s not relatable in the slightest.

Logline: After his wife's unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku, a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima. There, he begins to face the haunting mysteries his wife left behind.

Drive My Car should be required viewing by anyone who claims to be a fan of cinema. It centers around personal tragedy polluted with unresolved bitterness and the idea of self-acceptance and shame. Wondering what could’ve been is a rampant theme, realizing that time is a continuous cycle without the ability to go back.

I cannot stress enough how much I loved Drive My Car and will be diving through Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s other films as soon as I can. There are moments like this that make me realize why I love cinema and film as much as I do.


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