The three Oscar locks in this category have also cracked my personal top five of the year. The other two will almost certainly not be picked by the Academy. The Best Adapted Screenplays are:
Coraline, by Henry Selick
In adapting Neil Gaiman's deliciously creepy book, Henry Selick gives us a thoroughly entertaining and spooky film that's suitable for children but psychologically complex enough for adults. Freud would have been proud.
An Education, by Nick Hornby
Brimming with wit and subtle drama, Nick Hornby's take on the memoirs of Lynn Barber has a beautiful fluency and a purposeful pace. The dialogue clearly defines each character.
Precious, by Geoffrey Fletcher
Whether in voice over, spoken dialogue, or moments of complete silence, Geoffrey Fletcher's interpretation of Sapphire's Push reaches deep into a well of human emotion and comes out with something raw and powerful.
The Road, by Joe Penhall
Cormac McCarthy's bleak novel is given a terrific screen treatment by Joe Penhall, whose articulation of fear and paranoia in a desperate parent is as vivid yet stark as his unsettling descriptions of a devastated world.
Up in the Air, by Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner
This timely dramedy based on Walter Kim's novel taps into the collective consciousness of not only American audiences feeling the weight of a sagging economy, but anyone who has ever struggled to find identity, meaning, love, and happiness in their lives.
District 9, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Where the Wild Things Are.