Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"
Kasi Lemmons and Gregory Allen Howard "Harriet"
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns "1917"
Quentin Tarantino "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
Scott Z. Burns "The Report"
Other Contenders - Jordan Peele "Us", Pedro Almodovar "Pain & Glory", Anthony McCarten "The Two Popes", Lulu Wang "The Farewell", Noah Baumbach "Marriage Story", Lena Waithe and James Frey "Queen & Slim", James Gray and Ethan Gross "Ad Astra", Scott Z. Burns "The Laundromat", Chinonye Chukwu "Clemency", Joe Talbot, Jimmie Falls, and Rob Richert "The Last Black Man in San Francisco", Andrea Berloff "The Kitchen", Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski "Dolemite is My Name", Rian Johnson "Knives Out", Brian C. Brown, Elliott DiGuiseppi, and Noah Hawley "Lucy in the Sky", Charles Randolph "Untitled Charles Randolph Project", Joanna Hogg "The Souvenir"
Commentary - Once again, I am not ready to make drastic changes to this category. I did move Jordan Peele's Us from the top five. It would be great to see him make another Academy run like he did with Get Out, but I fear that this time it is too much horror for voters. In its place, I moved in Sam Mendes WWI drama 1917. The first trailer dropped, and the buzz is high for this historical piece which could do well with the Academy's older voting block. Other than that, I am still sticking with the other four from my original predictions. We know Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is going to be a huge contender, The Report still has buzz from Sundance, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood's first trailer did not disappoint, and neither did Harriet's. I am watching for Almodovar, who has his best reviews in a long time (and has won a writing Oscar before). Lulu Wang's The Farewell is an art house hit. It will need a good campaign to keep in the awards conversation (and it deserves one). There is building buzz for indies like Queen & Slim, Marriage Story, Clemency, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, The Souvenir, and The Laundromat. I am also looking out for Knives Out, The Kitchen, Lucy in the Sky, The Two Popes, and Ad Astra. This race is shaping up to be a lot more competitive than its adaptive counterpart, and an exciting one to watch.