Jean-Christophe Castelli "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk"
August Wilson "Fences"
Derek Cianfrance "The Light Between Oceans"
Jay Cocks "Silence"
Todd Komarnicki "Sully"
Other Contenders - William Wheeler "Queen of Katwe", Luke Davies "Lion", James Ponsoldt "The Circle", John Romano "American Pastoral", Tom Ford "Noctural Animals", Barry Jenkins "Moonlight" Audrey Diwan, David Farr, Cedric Jimenez "HHhH", Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strauss, Bob Peterson, and Angus MacLane "Finding Dory" David Lowery and R.F.I Porto "The Yellow Birds", David Michod "War Machine", Erin Cressida Wilson "The Girl on the Train", Allison Schroeder "Hidden Figures", Daniel Clowes "Wilson", John Cameron Mitchell and Philippa Goslett "How to Talk to Girls at Parties", James Gray "The Lost City of Z", Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone "Snowden", Laura Terruso and Michael Showalter "Hello, My Name is Doris", Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto "The Magnificent Seven", Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Fabian Nicieza, and Rob Liefeld "Deadpool", Christoper Markus and Stephen McFeely "Captain America: Civil War", Chris Weitz, John Knoll, Gary Whitta, and George Lucas "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, and Jon Spaihts "Doctor Strange", Melissa Matheson "The BFG", Marc Haimes, Chris Butler, Shannon Tindle "Kubo and the Two Strings"
Commentary - An interestingly weak race at this point, that hinges on the quality of some of the unknown contenders. Many of them look like pure Oscar bait, but I am just not sure yet. For example, projects like Lion, Queen of Katwe, American Pastoral, Noctural Animals, HHhH, The Yellow Birds, and War Machine all look like possibilities, but their buzz is a bit low. So I am going with bigger, more known quantities, knowing that they are not locks. There are three I do feel like are in a safe place right now. Fences gives the Academy to honor the great August Wilson, and Ang Lee and Martin Scorsese's new projects look brilliant. Sully has a lot of potential, but we have seen these types of biopics not register as well with the Academy in recent years, so a lot depends on how it debuts. Finally, The Light Between Oceans, with Derek Cianfrance looks like it would be fantastic, and yet their seems to be less buzz. I am putting it in there, waiting with anticipation to see the final outcome. The Girl on the Train could go where Gone Girl couldn't, but the first trailer plays more like fall blockbuster than Oscar contender. The Lost City of Z, Hello, My Name is Doris, Snowden, Hidden Figures, Wilson, and How to Talk to Girls at Parties look like possibilities, but have a bit of a climb. Finally, there are a plethora of big films like The BFG, Deadpool, Finding Dory, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Magnificent Seven, Captain American, Rogue One, and Doctor Strange. Usually these films don't play well with writers, but you never know.