For the next seven days leading up to the Oscars, I'm going break the major categories down one-by-one, and tell you who will win, who should win, and why the two are (usually) mutually exclusive. Please - argue away!

Best Original Screenplay

John Logan, The Aviator
Charlie Kaufman, Pierre Bismuth and Michel Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Keir Pearson & Terry George, Hotel Rwanda
Brad Bird, The Incredibles
Mike Leigh, Vera Drake

Will Win:Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mindphoto_02.jpg

Right off the bat, we can throw out Vera Drake - as it's well known that Leigh approaches his films without a script, many find it odd that he was even nominated. Hotel Rwanda is too much of a downer for notoriously easily-offended voters. People love The Incredibles, but chances are Academy members will choose to reward it in the Animation Feature category and won't feel compelled to vote for it here. That leaves The Aviator and Eternal Sunshine, two films entirely dependent on risky, clever screenplays. But The Aviator still has a chance in many other categories, including Best Picture - it's very likely that the Academy will want to reward Kaufman and Gondry in their film's only winnable category.

Should Win: Eternal Sunshine
The Aviator
simply wouldn't have worked without Logan's careful wrangling of Howard Hughes' very messy life into a managable character study. But Kaufman's screenplay fulfills the wacky, meandering promises made by his previous films (Human Nature, Being John Malkovich) - Eternal Sunshine is both intellectually rigorous and absolutely heart-wrenching, and could not have been invented by anyone else. Kaufman shouldn't just get a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for this film - he should get a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Next up: Adapted Screenplay

categories Cinematical