The Academy Jolts the Oscar Race by Ruling Moonlight and Loving Are Adapted Screenplays

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Moonlight
Photo: David Bornfriend/A24

Movie studios are in full-tilt awards mode right now, meaning there’s a lot of money and time being invested in turning buzz around the year’s marquee film projects into actual hardware. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent a few of those studios scrambling today when it announced that Moonlight and Loving will no longer be eligible in the Best Original Screenplay category, despite being recently recognized as such by the Writers Guild of America. According to Deadline, the two movies will now be considered in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, which opens up a big window for movies like Manchester by the Sea and La La Land — which are original works in the eyes of the Academy — that were previously staring down Moonlight as it gains more and more recognition throughout awards season. But where it’s good news for the critical darlings by Kenneth Lonergan and Damien Chazelle, it has to be a crestfallen moment for the people behind other adapted works like Lion, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, and Sully, since Loving stands a chance at snapping up one of the precious five nominations slots, and Moonlight is all but guaranteed to do so. Between this and the announcement that the Academy disqualified three films from the Best Original Score competition, the Oscar powers are really making their presence known this year.

Moonlight, Loving Ruled Adapted Screenplays