Oscar nominations will be revealed on the 24th.  As arbitrary as the nominations can sometimes seem, there’s definitely method to their madness.  Over the next week, we’ll dive into the potential nominees in each of the big eight categories.  This time around: Adapted Screenplay.

VIRTUAL LOCK

  • Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, Story by Stan Chervin, Moneyball
  • Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, and Alexander Payne, The Descendants

I’ve given my thoughts on Moneyball elsewhere, but it is one of the best-reviewed films of the year, somehow.  And as I mentioned, they did do an admirable job figuring out how to turn the book into a film.  If you are suffering from Community withdrawal, you can be happy for Dean Pelton’s seemingly inevitable nomination.  As mentioned, I personally don’t see it.

GOOD BET

  • Tate Taylor, The Help

One path to winning big in Oscar is figuring out how to make a movie that nearly everyone loves while still considering it a “serious” movie.  Taylor got that down pat.

LIKELY IN

  • John Logan, Hugo

Logan has two prior nominations (Gladiator and The Aviator) and also wrote two other movies released this year (Corolianus and Rango).  More importantly, he co-wrote the new Bond movie, Skyfall.  Hugo is beloved, for reasons that elude me, the only reason Logan wouldn’t get the nomination is if people are so distracted by Scorsese and the visuals that they forget about the script.

ON THE BUBBLE

  • Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Steve Zaillian, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

O’Connor passed away at the age of 49 after finishing the script with Straughan, her husband.  A nomination would be a great story.  I thought Zaillian’s script was a big improvement over both the novel and the Swedish movie, and the film has been making a late awards surge.  How would Oscar voters feel about giving Zaillian two nominations in the category this year?

DARK HORSES

  • George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, The Ides of March
  • Richard Curtis and Lee Hall, War Horse
  • Eric Roth, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Ides of March has found late traction, and you should never count Clooney out, even if the movie didn’t really hit upon release.  War Horse‘s star has been fading fast, while Extremely Loud turned out to be the theoretical Oscar juggernaut that no one wanted to actually see.

SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED

  • Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, The Muppets
  • Ashley Miller, Zach Stenz, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn, story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer, X-Men: First Class
  • Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Captain America
  • Adrian Hodges, My Week with Marilyn
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