Woody Allen "Midnight in Paris"
Dustin Lance Black "J. Edgar"
Diablo Cody "Young Adult"
Michel Hazanavicius "The Artist"
Abi Morgan "The Iron Lady"
Other Contenders -
Jeff Nichols "Take Shelter", Mike Mills "Beginners", Terrence Malick "The Tree of Life", Sean Durkin "Martha Marcy May Marlene", Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones "Like Crazy", Scott Z. Burns "Contagion", Dan Fogelman "Crazy Stupid Love", Thomas McCarthy and Joe Tibani "Win Win", J.J. Abrams "Super 8", Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig "Bridesmaids", Steve McQueen and Abi Morgan "Shame", Sarah Polley "Take This Waltz", Lars von Trier "Melancholia",
Commentary - This is a race with much less contention that its Adapted counterpart, and if some of these films turn out not to be good, it may be a stretch to get to five suitable nominees. That being said, at this moment it is pretty much wide open. Once contender which weekly solidifies itself, particularly in this category is Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. It is popular, well-reviewed, and its Woody Allen, who has been nominated and won this category many many times. Dustin Lance Black has shown his ability to write historical films with his Academy Award winning script for Milk, so there is a good chance, if J. Edgar is good, that he returns to the fold. Another former winner is Diablo Cody. Normally I wouldn't actually include her (I mean seriously, Jennifer's Body?), but with her teaming up with Jason Reitman again, it could be the perfect formula for Oscar gold. I am not sure at all about The Iron Lady, and feel that it may all come down simply to Streep. But if it is overall a great film, then its screenplay is certaintly in contention. Finally I am going out on a limb with The Artist, which could be the big foreign contender this year, and may surprise a lot of people by racking up some nominations. First half films like Bridesmaids, The Tree of Life, Win Win, and Beginners all deserve recognition, and are definitely still alive in this category, but need to rely on smart Oscar campaigns to survive the onslaught in the latter part of the year.