The Dark Knight

Warner Brothers

The Dark Knight might not be an Oscar dark horse after all.

Christopher Nolan's gritty comic book caper picked up some key pre-Oscar love today, scoring nominations from the writers guild for its screenplay and the cinematographers union for its camera work.

Nolan wrote the screenplay with brother Jonathan based on a story by David S. Goyer. Their Gotham opus is contending for Best Adapted Screenplay against  Eric Roth's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald story), John Patrick Shanley's adaptation of his play Doubt, Peter Morgan's movie version of his play Frost/Nixon and Simon Beaufoy's script for Slumdog Millionaire, based on the novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup.

Up for the WGA's Best Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen for the spy spoof Burn After Reading; Dustin Lance Black for Milk; Woody Allen for his return to form in Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Tom McCarthy for his surprise indie hit The Visitor and former Onion editor Robert Siegel for The Wrestler.

Meanwhile, Dark Knight 's director of photography, Wally Pfister, is up for the American Society of Cinematographers' top feature film award. He'll face off against shooters for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Claudio Miranda), Slumdog Millionaire (Anthony Dod Mantle), Revolutionary Road and The Reader (Hollywood vet Roger Deakins shot both, with an assist from Chris Menges on The Reader).

The ASC will name its winner on Feb. 15, with Christopher Nolan receiving the society's Board of Governors Award for his "significant contributions to advancing the art of filmmaking" for a resume that also includes Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins and The Prestige.

The WGA Awards will be presented Feb. 7 in a ceremony simultaneously held in New York and Los Angeles. Here's the complete list of contenders.

Original Screenplay

  • Burn After Reading, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen,                
  • Milk, Dustin Lance Black   
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen                    
  • The Visitor, Tom McCarthy                  
  • The Wrestler, Robert Siegel

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, screenplay by Eric Roth; story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord               
  • The Dark Knight, screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer
  • Doubt, screenplay by John Patrick Shanley
  • Frost/Nixon, screenplay by Peter Morgan
  • Slumdog Millionaire, screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Documentary Screenplay

  • Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker,
  • Chicago 10, Brett Morgen
  • Fuel, Johnny O'Hara
  • Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Alex Gibney (from the words of Hunter S. Thompson)
  • Waltz With Bashir, Ari Folman
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