This category was filled with all of the Best Picture nominees last year and I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case this year given that there are ten nominees now. Let's look at our locks, shall we?
DAMIEN PAUL - PRECIOUS
~This obviously seems like the frontrunner, given all of the Precious love that has bubbled up on the internet. However, I'm betting just enough backlash will be received in time so that An Education stands more of a chance to win (plus the other competitors).
NICK HORNBY - AN EDUCATION
~This might be my favorite of the field thus far. The screenplay is just written in such a way that the audience is deceived just like our main character. It's an intelligent and well thought out heartbreak. This is definitely a contender to win.
JASON REITMAN AND SHELDON TURNER - UP IN THE AIR
~Anyone who's seen the teaser trailer has listened to George Clooney's amazing monologue that totally fits his character. It's the one where he's talking about a backpack and people and whatnot. Not only is the writing in that scene electric by itself, but it's made thunderous by the fact that Clooney delivers it so perfectly. The acting highlights the screenplay in this case and there's nothing wrong with that.
ANTHONY PECKHAM - INVICTUS
~I read an industry insider review here: http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/article/mini-reviews-of-invictus-and-the-lovely-bones-from-an-industry-insider
. As you can see, he's not terribly happy with the film. Obviously, we should take it for what it is - an industry insider. However, his complaints sound pretty legitimate and if the film is structured poorly, it might have a hard time getting a screenplay nomination. Maybe.
ANTHONY MINGHELLA AND MICHAEL TOLKIN - NINE
~Again, no one's seen it. I'm willing to bet it'll probably get its nomination, though. Judging from the trailer, the writing doesn't really look like weaksauce. The songs I've heard clips of are pretty decent; certainly contenders for Best Song. That'll be taken into account. I don't know; I just don't want ANOTHER [potentially] undeserved posthumous nomination for Anthony Minghella. Let the guy rest in peace and stop riding on his coattails.
PHILIPPA BOYENS, PETER JACKSON, AND FRAN WALSH - THE LOVELY BONES
~It's one of the most beloved books of all time; can Peter Jackson do it? Judging from the few raves it has received so far, it's definitely possible.
MICHAEL HOFFMAN - THE LAST STATION
~I haven't seen it, but the movie's about Leo frickin' Tolstoy!
NEILL BLOMKAMP AND TERRI TATCHELL - DISTRICT 9
~I know I brought them up in my original screenplay topic, but some clarification has been brought to me recently and it's most definitely an adapted screenplay (being based off a short and all). My justification there stands.
SCOTT COOPER - CRAZY HEART
~It's hard to gauge whether or not this is just an acting vehicle, but if it has great writing, it won't be ignored. It doesn't look nearly as dark as The Wrestler, so the Academy might like that.
ALEX KURTZMAN AND ROBERTO ORCI - STAR TREK
~Honestly, it has just as much of a chance as District 9. Star Trek is great on a different level, in that it's so damn slick and so successful in its low ambitions.
SCOTT Z. BURNS - THE INFORMANT!
~This is truly a dark horse, but you never know. Sometimes the Academy just jives with certain flicks.
JOE PENHALL - THE ROAD
~I'm not sure anyone's complained about the writing here, but no one's exactly lauded it, either. If it's uncompromisingly dark, Penhall should get some recognition, god damn it!
DAVE EGGARS AND SPIKE JONZE - WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
~Despite the soggy middle, turning a very short book into a short feature length film is no easy task. I think Jonze and Eggars pulled it off while keeping the tone of the book intact.
Damien Paul - Precious
Nick Hornby - An Education
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner - Up in the Air
Anthony Minghella and Michael Tolkin - Nine
Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Fran Walsh - The Lovely Bones