The screenplay races sort of go back and forth every couple of years as to which — original or adapted — is the most competitive. Typically the adapted field is tough to crack because it's full of Best Picture contenders leaping off best-sellers or historical tomes, but this year, the original race seems to be the most impenetrable for anything not bringing the absolute goods. Interesting.

The Writers Branch will have a lot of respected top-tier names to choose from this season: The Andersons (Wes and Paul Thomas), Alejandro González Iñárritu, Richard Linklater, the Coen brothers (who could be nominated for a film they didn't direct for the first time ever), etc. How will it all shake out? The screenplay categories can be a great place for foreign films, critical favorites and early-year successes to register even if they don't pick up nominations this year, and there will certainly be a lot of that in play as well.

Click through the gallery story below to see our assessment of the 40 or so contenders across the two categories this season. And feel free to jump into the comments section and tell us your thoughts or give us your current predictions.

Kristopher Tapley has covered the film awards landscape for over a decade. He founded In Contention in 2005. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Times of London and Variety. He begs you not to take any of this too seriously.