And the five Best Original Screenplays of the year are:
(500) Days of Summer, by Scott Neustadter & Michael Weber
This clever script not only impresses with its creative story structure, but has a real sincerity and heart that elevates it above the unfair designation of "rom-com". It strikes a chord with both romantics and realists, lending some rare insight into that mysterious beast known as love.
The Hurt Locker, by Mark Boal
It's a shame more people didn't go to see this exceptional study of soldier psychology that stands way above any Iraq-set war film to date. Boal avoids lacing his script with any political agenda. It is simply a brilliant interplay of interesting characters looking for a way to cope with the hell of war.
Mary and Max, by Adam Elliot
One of the year's true gems, Elliot's screenplay confidently probes issues like alcoholism, mental disability, depression, sexuality, neglect, and substance abuse with a playfully innocent eye. The correspondence between the two title characters are as sensitive and revealing as any amount of physical interaction.
A Serious Man, by Joel & Ethan Coen
It's far more challenging and confounding than even their most inaccessible of films, but the screenplay is fraught with ideas and quandaries about religion, fate, and the insignificance of our very existence. As always, the Coen's dialogue is near-perfect, and always amusing.
Up, by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, & Thomas McCarthy
The master storytellers of Pixar never fail to deliver. And even if Up is not THE most brilliant and affecting film the studio has made, it still bears the stamp of their indelible originality, their bottomless well of humour, and very deep heart. Much like the excerpt above, dialogue is HILARIOUS!
Just missed: A Prophet, The Messenger, Bright Star.