The Writers Guild have spoken. And the nominees for their awards are...
Best Original Screenplay
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - Burn After Reading
Dustin Lance Black - Milk
Woody Allen - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Thomas McCarthy - The Visitor
Robert Siegel - The Wrestler
Best Adapted Screenplay
Eric Roth - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan - The Dark Knight
John Patrick Shanley - Doubt
Peter Morgan - Frost/Nixon
Simon Beaufoy - Slumdog Millionaire
Thoughts: I have very little to say about the adapted screenplay nominations. There is a severe dearth in great adapted screenplays this year (with the exception of The Reader, perhaps). For adapted screenplay, this is probably your Oscar lineup. As far as original screenplay goes...I'm baffled. I (at the very least) like all of these screenplays, and I applaud the Writers Guild for honoring less obvious efforts like The Visitor and The Wrestler. But Burn After Reading? And over Rachel Getting Married?! Madness! In fact, Rachel Getting Married is better than each of these screenplays. I'm guessing that The Coen's latest effort is the weak link come Oscar time, and I'm still guessing that Jenny Lumet gets in. But if there's one organization I expected to get on board with Rachel Getting Married, it was the Writers Guild. Forshame. Forshame!!!
Predicted Winners: I guess it was a serious pipe dream thinking that Rachel Getting Married could actually pull an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and win Best Original Screenplay, with only two nominations (Best Actress being the other one). But alas, with this snub, Jenny Lumet will be lucky to get an Oscar nod at this point. I say that Dustin Lance Black wins handily in the Original Screenplay category for Milk, as it is the only nominee headed for a best picture nod. Though, a lot of people seem to love Burn After Reading...
WGA will award adapted screenplay to Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire. He will carry this win to Oscar night under this logic. Eric Roth and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are a likely spoiler, but Roth already has an Oscar for Forrest Gump and Benjamin Button is slated to clean up in a lot of the tech categories anyway. It's very unfashionable these days for a best picture nominee to go away totally empty-handed. Slumdog Millionaire is going to win best picture, but it needs another big win besides that. I have already said that I don't think Danny Boyle nor David Fincher will win best director. That will go to Gus Van Sant. So, Slumdog will win picture, screenplay, and probably editing. Button will win some other tech awards. Milk will win director and screenplay (and possibly actor, though I don't think so). The Dark Knight will win best supporting actor. If WALL-E is nominated, it will win best animated feature. And Frost/Nixon will probably win best original score. Everbody's happy.