Oscars 2013 Predictions: Best Screenplay Categories

With 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'Django Unchained' packing heat, who will win for Original Screenplay?

What would all those nominated actors say and which scenes would those great directors film if it wasn’t for the screenplays? They’d be pretty lost.

With a strong field of contenders this year at the Oscars, we’re blessed with an equally powerful group of nominated screenwriters, but the high quality makes predicting the outcomes all the more difficult to call.

We’ve done our best to make sense of the screenwriting categories, despite some “too close to call” races.

Adapted Screenplay

Who Should Win
While it is expertly directed and filled with incredible performances, “Lincoln” soars because of the brilliant screenplay from Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner. Every line of dialogue is imbued with a level of intelligence we simply do not see anymore. Plus, he wrote the line “Buzzards’ guts, man!”

Who Will Win
Count this as one of “Argo”‘s big wins of the night. Without a directing prize to give to the political thriller, the Academy will likely default to the smart script from Chris Terrio. It may not be the best of the bunch, but it’s a worthy winner. “Argo” f— yourself, right?

Original Screenplay

Who Should Win
Mark Boal accomplished something truly admirable with his screenplay for “Zero Dark Thirty.” He used dogged journalistic kill and took 10 years, boiled them down to 2 hour and 45 minutes, and made it into a tense, concise thriller/encapsulation of the entire hunt for Osama bin Laden. For that achievement alone, Boal deserves another win for a Kathryn Bigelow movie. It would also be a consolation prize for “Zero Dark Thirty,” which will likely walk away without any other major awards.

Who Will Win
If it doesn’t go to Boal, which it probably will, Quentin Tarantino will win his first Academy Award in 18 years. That’s right, the fanboy auteur hasn’t taken home an Oscar since he won with Roger Avary for the “Pulp Fiction” screenplay. He’s already lost to Boal once, so this could be a chance for some real-life redemption.

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Writer/editor for MTV. If it involves cowboys, spies, or hitmen, I'm there. All three would be ideal.