Sarah Polley won her first Oscar for her Women Talking.
“First of all, just want to thank the Academy for not being mortally offended by the words women and talking with so close together like that,” she said as her film won the award for Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
“Miriam Toews wrote an essential novel about a radical democracy in which people who don’t agree on every single issue managed to sit together in a room and carve out a way forward together free of violence. They do so not just by talking but also by listening,” she added.
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Women Talking, which came from Orion Pictures/United Artists Releasing, beat All Quiet on the Western Front, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Living and Top Gun: Maverick in the category.
The win prevented All Quiet on the Western Front, which has been gaining momentum through the night, from becoming the first non-English language film to win the award.
Women Talking was written and directed by Polley. It is based on Toews’ eponymous book and is inspired by real events that occurred at the Manitoba Colony, a remote and isolated Mennonite community in Bolivia.
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Polley’s feature film directorial debut Away From Her was also nominated in this category in 2008, but she lost out to Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country For Old Men.
Women Talking follows the women of an isolated religious colony who reveal a shocking secret about the colony’s men: for years, the men have occasionally drugged the women and raped them. The truth comes out and the women talk about finding a solution to their situation.
It stars Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand, Judith Ivey, Sheila McCarthy, Michelle McLeod, Kate Hallett, Liv McNeil, August Winter, Ben Whishaw, Kira Guloien, Shayla Brown, Emily Mitchell, Nathaniel McParland and Eli Ham.
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It was produced by Plan B Entertainment, Orion Pictures and Hear/Say Productions with Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and McDormand producing.
Despite being shut out at the BAFTAs, Women Talking won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and the WGA Awards.
The majority of winners for the Writing (Adapted Screenplay) Oscar are based on novels. While last year’s winner, Coda, was based on French/Belgian film La Famille Bélier, and the previous year’s winner The Father was based on Florian Zeller’s play Le Père, all of the winners in this category, apart from 2016’s Moonlight, have been based on books since 2006’s The Departed.
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