1 Woody Allen, MatchPoint

Maybe Allen needed a change of location to get his mojoback, since his London-set thriller about the randomness of luck is one of hisbest-reviewed in a decade. It features an amoral plot worthy of PatriciaHighsmith and one of the most delicious endings in his 35-film oeuvre.

2 Noah Baumbach, TheSquid And The Whale

Baumbach has been sweeping up awards for his eloquent,stinging portrait of a family in crisis during a divorce. Based on Baumbach'schildhood, this wonderfully tight script has been named the year's best by boththe New York and LA critics' groups.

3 George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Good Night, And Good Luck

Winners of the best screenplay award at Venice this year,Clooney and Heslov should have no trouble picking up end-of-year nominationsfor their intelligent, articulate recreation of life in the CBS news studioduring the on-air battle between Edward R Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy.

4 Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, Crash

Haggis and Moresco, who worked together on TV's EZ Streets,crafted a complex web of stories all relating to racial intolerance in LosAngeles in their Crash screenplay. Their experience in TV informed the urgent,compelling nature of the writing and drew a dream cast to play in the resultingfilm.

5 Guillermo Arriaga,The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada

Employing the fractured time structure which has become histrademark after Amores Perros and 21 Grams, Arriaga's script for Three Burialsis his most subtle to date, looking at issues such as friendship and the racialdivide in the format of an unconventional road movie. The winner of the bestscreenplay prize at Cannes this year.

6 Shane Black, KissKiss, Bang Bang

Black's deliriously energetic and in-jokey screenplay, aneccentric comedy noir set against the cutthroat backdrop of Hollywood, was oneof the year's more offbeat pleasures. An homage to the pulp novel and the worldof the private eye, the script fuses together the contemporary and classic tocreate a tone somewhere between Kill Bill and The Big Sleep.

7 Martin Sherman, MrsHenderson Presents

Bent playwright Sherman crafted a witty script from the truestory of Laura Henderson and the wartime antics at her Windmill Theatre,creating amid the comedy a surprisingly poignant story of life, love and lossduring wartime.

8 Jim Jarmusch, BrokenFlowers

Few writer-directors are as distinctive or as frugal withdialogue as Jarmusch, whose most commercial film to date is anything but achange in style. Then again, the essence of his characters lurks between thelines on the page.

9 Cliff Hollingsworth and Akiva Goldsman, Cinderella Man

Hollingsworth wrote the story and collaborated with ABeautiful Mind Oscar-winner Goldsman on thescreenplay for Ron Howard's film about legendary 1930s boxer Jim Braddock,which works both as a sports saga and a family drama.

10 Angus Maclachlan,Junebug

Maclachlan's insightful script captures the values andvernacular of a working-class family in North Carolina as seen from theperspective of a cosmopolitan gallery owner from Chicago who comes into theirhousehold.

The other contenders

Judd Apatow and Steve Carell, The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Steve Box and Nick Park, Mark Burton and Bob Baker, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of TheWere-Rabbit

Craig Brewer, Hustle& Flow

Steven Conrad, TheWeather Man

Frank Cottrell Boyce,Millions

Jeffrey Hatcher and Kimberly Simi, Casanova

Miranda July, MeAnd You And Everyone We Know

Richard Shepard, TheMatador

Duncan Tucker, Transamerica

Ben Younger, Prime