- Best Director
Most likely winner : Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. Without his directorial input, this film could be quite dull and just a person floating about waiting to try to not get hit by debris. It takes a concerted effort to create the tension of this film.
Backup Pick : Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave. A film that sticks in the memory and is very unsettling, as are all of McQueen's works so far. A necessary film and one that must have been very difficult to direct. An excellent reflectively meditative look at one of the most difficult topics.
Most deserving : Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. This is a film that is going to be mentioned as a changer in cinema. A vision of future cinema and another progression on what is possible using 3-D. To create a film that is both grandiose as well as subtle, is an immense achievement.
- Best Adapted Screenplay
Most likely winner : John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave. The script is very good and it has momentum going with it judging from the critics receptions even though it has been light on the awards. There can be no denying that some of the scenes created are masterpieces in screenplay as well as acting and direction. The one flaw is that the synergy of all aspects of the film is so good it may take away from recognition of the importance of the script.
Backup Pick : Ethan Hawke, Julie Delphy and Richard Linklater for Before Midnight. The best screenplay perhaps because the film is all dialogue driven. Feels less like a film than a fly on the wall. Completely improvisational feel and one of the wittiest and most absorbing films of the year. Everything about this movie is one which speaks to the importance of a screenplay. The camerawork and acting is great but really anyone can tell the screenplay is the driver of this.
Most deserving :Ethan Hawke, Julie Delphy and Richard Linklater for Before Midnight. They deserve this, as they have for all the films of the trilogy. It's one of the best series of our lifetime. To even make a sequel to Before Sunrise was exceedingly ambitious and to follow it up with two films that match up to the amazing quality of the first, is a testament to film making and screenwriting achievement.
- Best Original Screenplay
Most likely winner : Spike Jonze for Her. As far as original goes, this screenplay defines that. Set in a possibly near future it manages to give a story of robot-human love (not so original) but make it beautiful and tragic and very much real, instead parody or silly.
Backup Pick : Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell for American Hustle . David O. Russell has over the past few years brought back the character driven film. This one is another excellent study into four characters trying to get ahead. And it's a comedy drama which is excellent when done by Russell with a crime backdrop, which is my favourite genre.
Most deserving: Spike Jonze for Her. The originality of this story should be enough to win. Not outright original but the reworking of an idea as old as the Pygmalion myth set in modern times or future times, since the time frame is blurred. It's as much a study of current life and relationships as anything.