With the Academy Awards set to take place this Sunday, we are rolling out predictions all week long and naming the films, actors, directors and writers most likelt to win in eight major categories. Our focus today: Best adapted and original screeplay.

Post film critic Ann Hornaday and I recently sat down to analyze the odds for the Oscar nominees in the two screenplay competitions: original and adapted. Watch the video below to see and hear our conversation.

I’ve also named, in prose form, the screenplay most likely to win, that I personally would like to see win and one that the Academy unjustly overlooked this year. Watch and read on, then mark your personal Academy Awards 2012 ballot accordingly.

Best original screenplay

The nominees are:

“The Artist”


“Margin Call”

“Midnight in Paris”

“A Separation”

What will win: “Midnight in Paris.” Oscar oddsmakers are saying Woody Allen’s return to form will beat “The Artist” in this category, especially since that film has a better shot at being recognized for its greater strengths: directing and acting.

What I’d like to see win: Part of me wants to say “Bridesmaids,” if only to see writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo thank the Academy for praising a movie in which Melissa McCarthy empties her bowels in a bridal boutique sink. That would be a landmark moment. However, I must ultimately root for “Midnight in Paris,” which is the most simultaneously imaginative, intelligent and funny script in this category.

What should have been nominated but wasn’t: “50/50,” Will Reiser’s based-on-his-own-life-story that pulled off the feat of finding poignancy and comedy in a cancer diagnosis.

Best adapted screenplay

The nominees are:

“The Descendants”


“The Ides of March”


“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

What will win: “The Descendants.” With “The Artist” practically guaranteed to win best picture, a screenplay win will be the film’s biggest award of the night. And it will be a deserved victory. Plus, we’ll get to see Dean Pelton of “Community” — that’s Jim Rash, who co-wrote the screenplay with Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon — win an Oscar!

What I’d like to see win: I’m perfectly fine with “The Descendants” taking this thing. But I’d also be happy if “Moneyball” — with its whip-smart dialogue and accessible explanations of how to use statistics and data points to design the ideal baseball team — won the Oscar.

What should have been nominated but wasn’t: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Steven Zaillian did a fine job of telling the Lisbeth Salander story by plucking some relevant details from the Stieg Larsson novel that did not make it into the Swedish adaptation of this thriller.

Agree with these predictions? Make your own by posting a comment.