Michael Haneke "Amour"
Quentin Tarantino "Django Unchained"
Paul Thomas Anderson "The Master"
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola "Moonrise Kingdom"
Mark Boal "Zero Dark Thirty"
Other Contenders - Matt Damon, David Eggers, and John Krasinski "Promised Land", John Gatins "Flight", Sergio G. Sanchez "The Impossible", Reid Carolin "Magic Mike", Rian Johnson "Looper", Vanessa Taylor "Hope Springs", Nicholas Jarecki "Arbitrage", Zoe Kazan "Ruby Sparks", Martin McDonagh "Seven Psychopaths", Sarah Polley "Take This Waltz", Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano "The Intouchables", Whit Stillman "Damsels in Distress", Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi "Brave", David Ayer "End of Watch", Randy Brown "Trouble With the Curve", David Chase "Not Fade Away", James Ponsoldt and Susan Burke "Smashed"
Commentary - If Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty are not up to par, this will throw this race into a tailspin, because, despite all the names listed, there aren't that many big contenders for the prize. That being said, I think that both will end up being good films, and it could be a rematch of 2009, with Tarantino and Boal going at it again. But there are some that will put up a fight. Probably the biggest is Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. While it may not be mainstream or entertaining enough for Best Picture, the masterful script could really go over well at the Writer's Branch. Another big possibility is Michael Haneke's Amour. Last year A Separation broke through the language barrier to get a nomination, and I think Amour is even better positioned to do well with the Academy, so I expect a similar result. In the final slot, I am choosing at the moment between two films. Promised Land has the pedigree with Van Sant and Matt Damon, but the trailer was a little underwhelming. So at the moment, I am sticking with Wes Anderson's great script for Moonrise Kingdom, which I hope survives the onslaught and manages a nomination in the end, because it truly is original.