12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Will Win: Unless Wolf of Wall Street scores an upset, this probably goes to 12 Years a Slave.
Should Win: Two scripts that might seem undisciplined, but aren’t: the more-is-more of Terence Winter’s The Wolf of Wall Street overflows, appropriately; or the improvisatory but collaborative and writerly soul of Linklater/Hawke/Delpy’s Before Midnight.
Missing: I’d be happy to come up with alternatives to Philomena or Captain Phillips, but I’m just as happy to report that many of the year’s best movies were not adapted from outside sources. Of those that were: Prince Avalanche rings with David Gordon Green’s humor and sensibility and Short Term 12 rings with honesty and heart.
Dallas Buyers Club
Will Win: This seems like the category where Spike Jonze can be safely rewarded for Her, just as his buddies Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry got their Eternal Sunshine love here back in 2005. Maybe David O. Russell, who has turned into a professional Oscar Darling, will steal that thunder, but I’m guessing Jonze’s achievement feels a lot more screenplay-based (and probably is).
Should Win: Her would be the correct choice.
Missing: Not to keep beating the drum for Inside Llewyn Davis and Frances Ha, but… those, over Dallas Buyers Club or even Blue Jasmine any day, every day.