Strong crop this year. Here's what I deem the best Adapted Screenplays of the year:
Drive (Hossein Amini):
The irrepressibility of one's true nature is a theme that's startlingly made in Drive. Amini minimizes dialogue and focuses more on implied backstory to illustrate the driver's character.
The Ides of March (George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon):
Clooney et. al. realize that making the actual politics the meat of this story would either alienate or bore their audience, so they wisely keep it on the side, keeping the screenplay lean, polished, and efficient.
Moneyball (Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin):
While not one that always pops, the script does brim with ideas. The dialogue willfully revels in awkward beats that force unspoken characterization. Anyone who can make baseball stats interesting has to be a good writer!
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan):
This is a thoughtful and attentive screenplay that intentionally moves a bit slowly, but at least it allows its audience time to process all the little narrative cogs that compose the complex plot.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, Rory Kinnear):
The book's more objective narration is translated into a brilliant first-person character study that comes tinted with its character's guilt and confusion. Cleverly structured as a pseudo mystery.
Just missed: The Help, Project Nim, Tintin