Top Gun: Maverick scored 6 Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, and one of those nods is getting a lot of attention on social media. Tom Cruise’s blockbuster was nominated for the Oscars’ best picture at the iconic awards show. The crowd-pleaser was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Sound, Film Editing, Visual Effects, and Original Song.
However, the Best Adapted Screenplay nomination has left a lot of folks on social media scratching their heads. Author and NPR pop culture critic Linda Holmes found the accolade particularly baffling. “That TOP GUN screenplay nomination is hilarious. I hope it’s for the part where he literally throws the rule book in the trash,” she tweeted.
Other film fans had somewhat less nuanced takes on the nomination. “TOP GUN FOR ADAPTED SCREENPLAY ARE YOU F-ING KIDDING ME,” one outraged user wrote. Another Twitter user couldn’t believe some other films were passed over for a nomination. “Over SHE SAID, THE WHALE, and GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO: Top Gun: Maverick in Adapted Screenplay”. They attached the scathing take with a GIF of a nonplussed Bea Arthur from The Golden Girls.
Why did Top Gun: Maverick qualify for the ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ category?
Other film fans on social media were just confused about why Top Gun: Maverick even qualified under the “Best Adapted” category in the first place. “The only thing that still kind of makes me wrinkle the brow is the loose use of “adapted”, a Twitter user wrote. “Glass Onion & TGM use a main character from a previous film to tell a new tale. That’s the only debate about TGM’s screenplay IMO.”
It turns out, any screenplay using preexisting characters qualifies as an “adapted” screenplay. This means that any sequel would fall under Best Adapted Screenplay rather than the Best Original Screenplay category. Still, it’s exceedingly rare for a sequel to get such a nomination.
Social media comes to the defense of the ‘Top Gun: Maverick‘ nomination
Not every film fan and critic met the Best Adapted Screenplay nomination with crossed arms. Prominent film critic and historian Priscilla Page mounted a solid defense for the nod. “imho it’s an immaculate screenplay. structurally flawless, profoundly satisfying, characterization on point. so many ways a Top Gun sequel could have gone wrong, but every note of that script is pitch-perfect. wouldn’t be the hit it is if spectacle was the only thing it did well,” she wrote.
Dr.Strange screenwriter C. Robert Cargill also came to Top Gun: Maverick‘s defense. He noted that the screenplay was co-written by frequent Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, who won an Academy Award for writing 1995’s The Usual Suspects. “Chris McQuarrie is a national f-ing treasure and it is about time the Academy recognized that. Again,” Cargill wrote.
Vulture film critic Bilge Ebiri agreed while pointing out that the Oscar nominations do feel a bit out of the left field. “Every single thing about that movie could have been a catastrophe,” he wrote. “The fact that it wasn’t is a testament to the writing, the directing, the acting. If I told you four years ago that TOP GUN 2 would be a *Best Picture nominee*, you’d have thought I was stark raving mad.”
The 95th Academy Awards will air on March 12th.