Obviously, "The Social Network" is ahead in the Oscar race for best adapted screenplay, given its front-runner status as best picture and the vaunted reputation of Aaron Sorkin as master wordsmith. However, upsets are always possible at these quirkly Hollywood awards, of course.
"127 Hours" or "True Grit" could quickly jump ahead if one of them wins best picture from the film critics' awards in early December, which is quite possible. The creators of both films have been honored by them in the past and they also previously won the Oscars for best picture and screenplay in the past for "Slumdog Millionaire," "No Country for Old Men."
There's an obvious link between those two Academy Award categories. Over the past 10 years, five best pictures won best adapted screenplay ("The Departed," "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King," "A Beautiful Mind" in addition to "Slumdog" and "No Country") and two won best original screenplay ("The Hurt Locker," "Crash").
This year's other major rival for best picture, "The King's Speech," is over in the category for original scripts, so this category for adapted fare may be turned into a consolation prize, as often happens ("Precious," "Brokeback Mountain," "Sideways").
There's a lot of love for "Toy Story 3," animated films are overdue to prevail and Michael Arndt is a past Oscar fave ("Little Miss Sunshine"). Beware: "Toy Story 3" may even become a threat in the best picture battle.
Forget "Rabbit Hole." Yeah, yeah, it won the Pulitzer Prize, but voters must've been drunk. The script didn't deserve it.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
"127 Hours," Simon Beaufoy, Danny Boyle
"How to Train Your Dragon," William Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
"Love and Other Drugs," Marshall Herskovitz, Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick
"Rabbit Hole," David Lindsay Abaire
"The Social Network," Aaron Sorkin
"The Town," Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard
"Toy Story 3," Michael Arndt
"True Grit," Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
"Winter's Bone," Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Daniel Woodrell
"Fair Game," Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
"For Colored Girls," Nzingha Stewart
"The Ghost Writer," Robert Harris, Roman Polanski
"Never Let Me Go," Alex Garland
"Shutter Island," Laeta Kalogridis
"The Way Back," Peter Weir, Keith Clarke
"Barney's Version," Michael Konyves
"The Next Three Days," Paul Haggis
"Nowhere Boy," Matt Greenhalgh
"Tamara Drewe," Moira Buffini
Photos: "The Social Network" (Columbia), "True Grit" (Paramount), "127 Hours" (Fox Searchlight)