Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
The Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay is the Academy Award for the best screenplay adapted from previously established material. The most frequently adapted media are novels, but other adapted narrative formats include stage plays, musicals, short stories, TV series, and even other films and film characters. All sequels are also considered adaptations by this standard (based on the story and characters set forth in the original film).
See also the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the corresponding award for scripts with original stories.
The first person to win twice in this category was Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who won the award in two consecutive years, 1949 and 1950. Others to win twice in this category include: George Seaton, Robert Bolt (who also won in consecutive years), Francis Ford Coppola, Mario Puzo, Alvin Sargent, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Michael Wilson, Alexander Payne and Christopher Hampton. Payne won both awards as part of a writing team, with Jim Taylor for Sideways and Jim Rash and Nat Faxon for The Descendants. Michael Wilson was blacklisted at the time of his second Oscar, so the award was given to a front (novelist Pierre Boulle). However, the Academy officially recognized him as the winner several years later.
Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, Paddy Chayefsky, Francis Ford Coppola, Horton Foote, William Goldman, Robert Benton, Bo Goldman, Waldo Salt, and the Coen brothers have won Oscars for both original and adapted screenplays.
Philip G. Epstein and Julius J. Epstein (Casablanca) are the first siblings to win in this category. James Goldman (The Lion in Winter) and William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men) are the first siblings to win for separate films. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men) are the third winning siblings.
Mario Puzo is the one of two writers whose work has been adapted and resulted in two wins. Puzo's novel The Godfather resulted in wins in 1972 and 1974 for himself and Francis Ford Coppola. The other is E. M. Forster, whose novels A Room with a View and Howards End resulted in wins for Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
Geoffrey S. Fletcher (Precious) and John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) are the only African-Americans to win solo in this category; Fletcher is also the first African-American to win in any writing category. Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) are the first African-American writing duo to win; Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott (BlacKkKlansman) are the second, although their co-writers, David Rabinowitz and Charlie Wachtel, are both white.
Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility) is the only winner who has also won for acting. Winners Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade) and John Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) have been nominated for acting but not won.
Noted novelists and playwrights nominated in this category include: George Bernard Shaw (who shared an award for an adaptation of his play Pygmalion), Graham Greene, Tennessee Williams, Vladimir Nabokov, James Hilton, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Lillian Hellman, Irwin Shaw, James Agee, Norman Corwin, S. J. Perelman, Terence Rattigan, John Osborne, Robert Bolt, Harold Pinter, David Mamet, Larry McMurtry, Arthur Miller, John Irving, David Hare, Tony Kushner, August Wilson and Florian Zeller.
Ted Elliott, Roger S. H. Schulman, Joe Stillman & Terry Rossio, writers of Shrek and Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, writers of Toy Story 3, are as of 2020, the only writers to be nominated for an animated film.
Winners are listed first in colored row, followed by the other nominees.