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The Big Short won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay on Sunday night.
The financial dramedy went into the this year’s Academy Awards with five nominations, including one for best picture. But the adapted-screenplay award would be its only prize.
The screenplay — adapted by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay (with the Anchorman helmer also directing the movie) from Michael Lewis’ best-selling book — beat the scripts from Brooklyn (Nick Hornby), Carol (Phyllis Nagy), The Martian (Drew Goddard) and Room (Emma Donoghue).
McKay and Randolph embraced before they took the stage to accept their Oscars from presenters Ryan Gosling, who was part of the Big Short cast, and Russell Crowe, who seemed to be demonstrating the bickering relationship that their characters have in the upcoming action comedy The Nice Guys.
McKay spoke first, thanking Lewis for writing “an amazing book” that “inspired Charles and I so much.” He also praised The Big Short‘s distributor, Paramount, thanking the studio for “taking a risk on a movie that’s about financial esoterica and believing in it.”
McKay, who is supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential race, closed with a political comment, saying, “If you don’t want big money to control government, don’t vote for candidates that take money from big banks, oil or weirdo billionaires.”
Like the best original screenplay winners, Spotlight‘s Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, McKay and Randolph, accepting the second award of the night, thanked many people whose names were also listed in the scroll of thank yous that ran along the bottom of the screen, an Oscars first.
The Big Short focuses on the men who made a fortune by predicting the collapse of the housing market that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. The movie has already won BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, WGA and USC Scripter awards for its screenplay and was the favorite to take home the Oscar in the category going into Sunday night’s show.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s chief film critic Todd McCarthy said of Big Short‘s script, which he argued should win the Oscar (alongside THR awards analyst Scott Feinberg’s prediction that it will win): “It shapes an inherently uncinematic financial scandal into a reasonably coherent narrative, turning a tragic story into tragicomedy, provoking righteous anger in the bargain … a very shrewd, wise and talented work.”
The Oscars are being handed out at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Chris Rock is hosting.
Visit THR.com/awards for complete coverage of awards season.
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