Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win - Barry Jenkins "Moonlight"
Could Win - Luke Davies "Lion" or Alison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi "Hidden Figures"
Should Win - Moonlight or Arrival
Commentary - Lion winning the BAFTA makes this race interesting, and my guess is either Arrival or Hidden Figures is going to win tomorrow at the WGA. But none of these folks were up against Moonlight. The only time that the same five competed was at the Scripter, which has been remarkable reliable in this category (due to a lot of similar voters in both), and Moonlight won. This category has been tough this year due to a lot of weird switches from original to adapted, and there is honestly no telling where Oscar voters are going to go. But Lion is probably too late to the party, and while I still think Hidden Figures could upset here, its low nomination count is troubling for a movie that is apparently so beloved. Arrival is the wild card here, because it is such a think piece. But as we have seen before sci-fi films getting nominated is rare enough, winning just doesn't happen. I think this is Moonlight's, and a great way to honor Barry Jenkins.
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win - Kenneth Lonergan "Manchester By the Sea"
Could Win - Damien Chazelle "La La Land" or Taylor Sheridan "Hell or High Water"
Should Win - Lonergan
Commentary - A musical hasn't won this category in almost 60 years, and its because Oscar voters just don't think that music equates dialogue. La La Land actually has a lot of dialogue and even managed to win the Globe. But I don't think this is one that La La Land can count on, unless it manages to win the WGA tomorrow night. Lonergan is a beloved playwright, and Manchester is by far the best script of the bunch (with Hell or High Water not far behind). After winning the BAFTA, I think he will also win the WGA (as writers will recognize the merits), and even though they love La La Land, I think that the Academy as a whole will recognize Manchester as the real writing achievement of the bunch.