Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi "Brave"
Quentin Tarantino "Django Unchained"
Paul Thomas Anderson "The Master"
Ben Lewin "The Surrogate"
Mark Boal "Zero Dark Thirty"
Other Contenders - Terrence Malick "Untitled Terrence Malick Project", Michelle Morgan "Imogene", Richard Nelson "Hyde Park on the Hudson", Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola "Moonrise Kingdom", Joel and Ethan Coen "Inside Llewelyn Davis", Woody Allen "From Rome With Love", Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin "Beasts Of The Southern Wild", Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron and Rodrigo Garcia "Gravity", Randy Brown "Trouble With the Curve", Nicolas Winding Refn "Only God Forgives", Martin McDonagh "Seven Psychopaths", Paul Andrew Williams "Song For Marion", Sacha Baron Cohen, Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer "The Dictator", Emma Thompson "Effie", Jeff Nichols "Mud", Rob Reiner, Guy Thomas and Andrew Scheinman "The Magic Of Belle Isle"
Commentary - A lot of great contenders, and most of you must think I am crazy for not including Woody, considering he just won the award. With him, I am always cautious. If the project goes well, I will bump him into the top five, and potentially Malick. But for now, there is a lot of competition from talented screenwriters, including other former winners, and five big contenders have already emerged. First there appears to be a rematch between Mark Boal and Quentin Tarantino. No offense to Boal, but Quentin should have won for Inglourious Basterds, and while I hope both films are successful, I really hope Quentin gets the upper hand this time around. After last year's bomb Cars 2, Pixar is looking for a return to form, and I honestly think Brave is the film to do it. Pixar films have done well in the screenplay categories, and if Brave is as good as its previous efforts, I don't see why it doesn't get in as well. Paul Thomas Anderson also looks to return to the race, after three previous screenplay nominations (one in Adapted, two in Original), The Master could finally be his triumph. Finally, I am going with the film receving the most early buzz (because people have actually seen it), The Surrogate. It could be the indie film that makes it into the Oscar realm this year, and if it is as good as people are saying, then its screenplay will probably garner a lot of buzz. The other film to look out for is the Coen's latest. But we are still not sure of a release date, and it may be in the 2014 Oscars, not this year. But if it is, look for it to make a splash, particularly in screenplay.