Joel and Ethan Coen "Gambit"
Fran Walsh, Phillippa Boyens, Guillermo Del Toro and Peter Jackson "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
William Nicholson "Les Miserables"
David McGee "Life of Pi"
Tony Kushner, John Logan, and Paul Webb "Lincoln"
Other Contenders - Jose Rivera "On the Road", Christ Terrio "Argo", David O. Russel "The Silver Linings Playbook", Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce "The Great Gatsby", Tom Stoppard "Anna Karenina", Nick Cave "The Wettest County", Richard Nelson "Hyde Park on the Hudson", Will Beall "The Gangster Squad", Christopher Nolan "The Dark Knight Rises", The Wachowski Brothers "Cloud Atlas", David Cronenberg "Cosmopolis", Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne "What Maisie Knew", Matthew Michael Carnahan and J. Michael Straczynski "World War Z", Lee Daniels and Peter Dexter "The Paperboy",
Commentary - It is interesting that this year, at least at this early stage in the game, it looks like the Original Screenplay is stronger and harder to predict than the Adapted Screenplay, which is a rarity in the Oscar race. That being said there are definitely some strong contenders. When reading these names, I had a cool thought. If Inside Llewelyn Davis ends up getting a 2012 release date, the Coens could be nominated in both screenplay categories. Kind of cool. In terms of their film Gambit, it is a comedy, and could end up like A Serious Man, but also end up like some of their other comedies that flopped despite talent involved. The biggest contender will most likely continue to be Lincoln until we are told otherwise, and with Tony Kushner and John Logan attached, it has some big names to pull it through. Life of Pi looks interesting, although Ang Lee hasn't been a factor since his Oscar win for Brokeback Mountain. The story looks intriguing, and the right fit for Finding Neverland-scribe David McGee. I have expressed my concerns about The Great Gatsby and Les Miserables, but with a lack of big names I went ahead and included Les Miserables, which seems less likely to fail as Great Gatsby. Plus, no one can do justice to Fitzgerald. In the final slot, I am going with The Hobbit, considering the first and last installments both managed screenplay nods (and the latter actually won), with the three writers of the trilogy returning, plus help from the uberly talented Guillermo Del Toro, I don't see why they don't do it again.