Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: David Lee
January 07, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Best Original Screenplay 2005: Oscar’s likely contenders

It’s not easy to score an Oscar nod when your film was released three weeks after last year’s awards. But if there’s anyone who can overcome that hurdle, it’s Charlie Kaufman, writer of the trippily romantic Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. After two losses, the man with the most warped imagination in Hollywood just might find himself basking in the eternal sunshine of Oscar.

Still, four other slots are for the taking, and two are sure to go to The Aviator‘s John Logan and Kinsey‘s Bill Condon, who divined coherent story lines out of the messy lives of Howard Hughes and Alfred Kinsey, respectively. Since computer animation has often fared well in the screenplay races, expect The Incredibles‘ writer-director Brad Bird to be rewarded for his three-dimensional humor.

In a less competitive year, any of five writers — Ray‘s James L. White, Maria Full of Grace‘s Joshua Marston, Collateral‘s Stuart Beattie, and The Sea Inside‘s and Mateo Gil — would have an easier time scoring their first nominations. Likewise, past winners Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill — Vol. 2) and Pedro Almodóvar (Bad Education) may find themselves squeezed out. Though he technically doesn’t write his scripts, Vera Drake‘s Mike Leigh has competed in this race before. But we’re guessing the political timeliness of Hotel Rwanda will be enough to ensure that Keir Pearson and Terry George hear their names called on nomination day.

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