Mark Boal, "Zero Dark Thirty"

In the Best Original Screenplay category, there are a number of exceptional screenplays, including the dark and gripping “flight,” scripted by John Gatins and the whimsical and unique homage to childhood that is  wes Anderson and Roman Coppola’s “Moonrise Kingdom.”

Yet the historical drama “Zero Dark Thirty,” penned by Mark Boal, which focuses on the operation to assassinate Osama Bin Laden, deserves to win the Oscar due to its terse, no-nonsense dialogue and its timely and critical look at the U.S. war on al-Qaeda. It is a film that leaves its audience with more questions than it answers. In doing so it becomes more than a source of entertainment, and instead evolves into a vehicle for social commentary.

Boal won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker,” and he has once again crafted a strong script.

—Staff writer Ola Topczewska can be reached at