The Writers Guild Of America (WGA) has unveiled its feature nominees in a year when the major talking points will turn to the list of notable absentees.

500 Days Of Summer writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber will contest the original screenplay category with James Cameron for Avatar, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore for The Hangover, Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker, and Joel and Ethan Coen for A Serious Man.

While the inclusion of Cameron’s screenplay for Avatar is the big surprise, the omission of Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds and Peter Docter for Up will also raise eyebrows.

Tarantino is excluded because he does not belong to the WGA (nor the DGA), while Up is out because Pixar, like all animation companies, is not a signatory to guild agreements.

Similarly Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox falls is ineligible in the adapted screenplay category, as are two other contenders that were either not written under the guild’s guidelines or whose writers are not WGA members: Tom Ford for A Single Man, and Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for District 9.

Nick Hornby is excluded for his adapted screenplay of An Education due to a new WGA rule that came into effect after production had wrapped that renders ineligible anyone who is not a member of their native country’s writers’ guild. Hornby has been a card-carrying member of the WGA for a decade but does not belong to the British guild.

Nonetheless all the omitted writers will be eligible for the Academy Awards when those nominations are announced on February 2.

The adapted screenplay nominees are: Scott Cooper for Crazy Heart; Nora Ephron for Julie & Julia; Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious; Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman for Star Trek; and Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up In The Air (pictured).

Documentary screenplay nominees are: Richard Trank for Against The Tide; Michael Moore for Capitalism: A Love Story; Mark Monroe for The Cove; Robert Stone for Earth Days; Chris Rock, Jeff Stilson, Lance Crouther and Chuck Sklar for Good Hair; and Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman for Soundtrack for A Revolution.

The winners will be announced at the WGA’s awards shows in Los Angeles and New York on February 20.