Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche, In the Loop
Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, District 9
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
Nick Hornby, An Education
*Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Poor Jason Reitman. For months, Up in the Air had a lock on Best Picture and Best Actor. Then The Hurt Locker dominated the critics' awards, Avatar won over reviewers and audiences, and Jeff Bridges somehow became the inevitable Best Actor. It now appears the former front-running film will take only this Oscar. For Reitman that will be bittersweet, or maybe just bitter, since the writer-director threw out the early treatment Turner did of the Walter Kirn novel and started from scratch. (Oh, that crazy Writers Guild.) Each of the awards-ceremony appearances of the two men has been choreographed like a press conference of feuding heads of state: Turner speaking first and thanking Reitman, followed by Reitman ignoring Turner. On Oscar night, look for a similar pas de deux at arms' length.
Oh, and kudos to the nominating committee for the other selections. Bold and enlightened, all of them.