THE CONTENDERS: Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

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9/19 Thoughts: Thomas McCarthy is a national treasure and no one even knows it. Once again with “Win Win,” he gave us something unique and wonderful. The screenplay will be a focus for the Searchlight campaign, but can it muster the goodwill so long after release? Hopefully “Rampart” gets distribution, because it deserves to be right in the middle of this discussion.

Good bets:
1. “The Artist” (Michel Hazanavicius)
2. “Midnight in Paris” (Woody Allen)

Other possibilities:
3. “J. Edgar” (Dustin Lance Black)
4. “Young Adult” (Diablo Cody)
5. “Like Crazy” (Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones)
6. “50/50” (Will Reiser)
7. “Rango” (Story: James Ward Byrkit, John Logan, Gore Verbinski; Screenplay: John Logan)
8. “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (Sean Durkin)
9. “Take Shelter” (Jeff Nichols)
10. “The Iron Lady” (Abi Morgan)

Dark horses:
11. “Win Win” (Thomas McCarthy, Joe Tibani)
12. “Warrior” (Story: Cliff Dorfman, Gavin O’Connor; Screenplay: Cliff Dorfman, Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis)
13. “Anonymous” (John Orloff)
14. “Beginners” (Mike Mills)
15. “Contagion” (Scott Z. Burns)

The rest of the field:
“The Beaver” (Kyle Killen)
“A Better Life” (Story: Roger L. Simon; Screenplay: Eric Eason)
“Bridesmaids” (Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig)
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” (Dan Fogelman)
“The Lady” (Rebecca Frayn)
“Larry Crowne” (Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos)
“Melancholia” (Lars Von Trier)
“Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” (Christina Mengert, Joseph Muszynski)
“Rampart” (James Ellroy, Oren Moverman)
“Shame” (Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan)
“Source Code” (Ben Ripley)
“Super 8” (J.J. Abrams)
“Take This Waltz” (Sarah Polley)
“The Tree of Life” (Terrence Malick)
“Wanderlust” (Ken Marino, David Wain)
“W.E.” (Alek Keshishian, Madonna)
“The Whistleblower” (Eilis Kirwan, Larysa Kondracki)