It's a crowded field this year, and there are a couple of scripts I really wanted to include in Best Original Screenplay, but five is the limit, and they are:
Another Year (Mike Leigh):
A devastating study of middle class monotony, manifested by a handful of beautifully written characters. His humour feels organic and genuine, his tragedy equally so. The character arcs are a subtle extension of character bakcstories that sneak up on the audience before the final crushing scenes.
Four Lions (Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, Christopher Morris, Simon Blackwell):
This wickedly funny farce about an incompetent quintet of British-Muslim suicide bombers not only features some of the year's most hilarious dialogue, but also a razor-sharp satirical edge, mocking the idiocy of multiple philosophies regarding terrorism in hysterically grotesque fashion!
Inception (Christopher Nolan):
An ingenious and wholly original concept from Nolan's head-spinning imagination is what gives rise to the roller coaster ride that is Inception. Beyond the cerebral heist storyline, his script is a complex and literally layered character study about grief, regret, and coming to terms with both, from which stems a surprisingly moving payoff.
The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg):
Void of snappy one-liners or bold dramatic flare, the comedy and tragedy of this story stem organically from the characters and the complex relationships they share with each other, lending the whole film an understated realism. The authenticity of the dialogue and characterizations is what makes the story so relatable and affecting.
Toy Story 3* (Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich):
Another wonderful yarn, brilliantly spun as always by Pixar's unrivaled storytellers. The script moves with purpose, pushing forward the many themes explored by the two originals while still preserving their charm and wit. A droll, insightful, and timeless fable that concludes with one of the most poignant and moving endings in recent memory.
Just missed: Black Swan, Blue Valentine, Fish Tank, The Illusionist, Inside Job
*Yes, I'm aware the Academy is classifying Toy Story 3 as Adapted, but I don't consider a sequel of an original concept to be an adaptation, especially since they had to concoct a completely new story for the film.