Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen "Bridge of Spies"
Quentin Tarantino "The Hateful Eight"
Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley "Inside Out"
Annie Mumulo and David O. Russell "Joy"
Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow "Trainwreck"
Other Contenders - Richard Linklater "Everybody Wants Some" Diablo Cody "Ricki and the Flash", Abi Morgan "Suffragette", Paolo Sorrentino "Youth", Angelina Jolie "By the Sea", Paul Weitz "Grandma", Oren Moverman and Michael L. Lerner "Love & Mercy", Enrico Casarosa and Bob Peterson "The Good Dinosaur", Alex Garland "Ex Machina", Noah Baumbach "While We're Young", Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig "Mistress America", Laslo Nemes and Clara Royer "Son of Saul", David Kajganic and Alain Page "A Bigger Splash" Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, Jamie Linden "Money Monster", Woody Allen "Irrational Man", Robert Budreau "Born to Be Blue", Jon Robin Baitz "Stonewall", Jeff Nichols "Midnight Special", Simon Beaufoy, Mark Medoff, Justin Isbell, and William Nicholson "Everest", Alejandro Amenabar "Regression", Nancy Meyers "The Intern", Luke Davies "Life", Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robinson "Crimson Peak"
Commentary - We already have one absolutely knock 'em out contender for this category. Of course I am speaking of Inside Out. It won't be eligible probably for the WGA, so we will be doing a lot of guesswork. But Pixar used to do very well in these screenplay categories, when their films were getting the kind of reviews that Inside Out has brought back to the studio. Plus, after several years of this category being a killer, this year feels a bit lighter, at least at the start. I fully expect Inside Out to bring back the screenplay nomination to Pixar. There are two big guns, and recent nominees/winners coming back into the race that will be tough to beat out. Quentin Tarantino is returning to the western with The Hateful Eight, and while some of his films have been ignored in the past by the Academy, he has never made a bad movie, and since Inglourious Basterds, he has been on a streak with voters. David O. Russell returns with Joy, and from the first trailer, it looks like he could have another hit on his hands. He barely missed out on this category for American Hustle, and he joins forces with Bridesmaid nominee Annie Mumulo, who will probably bring some humor to the proceedings. Joel and Ethan Coen now have had two back to back historical films that they have written the screenplay, but not directed. After all these years, I find it interesting, especially since Unbroken turned out less stellar than we thought. But they are at it again, this time with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, a proven pair with a lot of Oscar wins/nominations under their belt. The trailer looked like classic historical Spielberg, and maybe this time the style of the Coen Bros can shine through better than with Unbroken. Finally, with good reviews, and a good opening weekend, Amy Schumer has proven that she can be both a television star (with a butt-load of Emmys under her belt), and a genuine movie star. Trainwreck will have to knock out a lot of more serious contenders, and it doesn't quite have the same level of love as Bridesmaids did a few years ago. But for now, Schumer's star power seems strong enough to get her in the top five. Abi Morgan is an Emmy winner, but has not had the best luck on the film side in terms of awards. Suffragette looks powerful and important, and could be a big bust, or not appeal to the quirkier writing branch. Richard Linklater just got a bunch of nods for Boyhood, but Everybody Wants Some doesn't feel Academy friendly. Ricki and the Flash has a stellar cast and crew, and could bring Diablo Cody back to the Oscars. Youth, By the Sea, Grandma, Love & Mercy, the two Noah Baumbach entries, the other Pixar effort The Good Dinosaur, Jeff Nichols latest, Money Monster, and Woody Allen's latest Irrational Man are also on the radar. Also, here's to hoping that Crimson Peak brings some genre work to the Oscars, and that the return to horror will bring out the best in Guillermo Del Toro.