- Argo- Chris Terrio
- Beasts of the Southern Wild- Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
- Life of Pi- Chris Magee
- Lincoln- Tony Kushner
- Silver Linings Playbook- David O. Russell
A fairly strong line-up with the race whittled down to three potentials-- Argo, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook. However, in my view, nothing tops Kushner's achievement in taking Lincoln and turning into a great American play of politics, all in the guise of a dressed up biopic. His language is something akin to great poetry and it's fortunate that the actors in Lincoln are capable and bold and grand enough to make it appear as light as they do. Aside from that, I believe it's the strength of Kushner's great American work that forced director Steven Spielberg to be at his most restrained, forcing the power of the language and the content to be front and center. The accomplishment, depth, understanding and the power to not just rip away at rusty co-webs in cementing Lincoln as a reverent, but also timeless creation is truly a testament to Kushner, one of the great Americans writers of our time, but that his work is also by extension, funny and witty and not all in any way a chore, or viewed as homework should be all but enough for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to all but hand him the Oscar.
There's another wild card, a slipperier one, that might stand in way of a Lincoln victory with Adapted Screenplay. That comes in the flakier form of Silver Linings Playbook, which surprisingly took home the prize at the BAFTAs last weekend. While questionable in some corners, it's absolutely true that the film is loved, and in nearly the same token as Argo, appears as one of the films of 2012 in which most can agree upon as well-liked-- sometimes more important than being loved. While the campaign for Silver Linings, upon a last stand for the Weinstein Company, has pulled out the stops trying to trump the film as not the lightweight romantic comedy in which it is, but a avid, heart warmer about mental illness. This feels a bit thorny, even if it's been orchestrated by the master of Oscar campaigners, but still, I wonder if all this last minute trumping might go towards a Silver Linings favor in a few categories come ten days from now.
So what is left of Lincoln...I plea for the members of the Academy to do the right thing here and remember the great American treasure that not only is Tony Kushner, but in his tremendous achievement for Lincoln, which will stand the test of time regardless of what ever occurs on February, 24th.