The movies will also battle family dramas The Kids Are All Right and Please Give for the best original screenplay prize.
Meanwhile, writer Aaron Sorkin earned a nomination for best adapted screenplay thanks to his work on Facebook.com-inspired film The Social Network. True Grit, 127 Hours, I Love You Phillip Morris and The Town will also compete in the category.
Earning nods for best documentary screenplay are Enemies of the People, Freedom Riders, Gasland, Inside Job, The Two Escobars and Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?
The shortlists for the feature and documentary film categories were announced by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) on 4 January (11).
The nominations do not necessarily point to Oscar nods as the WGA only recognises productions that are guild signatories or have been shot under agreements with an affiliated international guild.
Awards season favourites including The King’s Speech, Toy Story 3, Winter’s Bone, Blue Valentine and Another Year were ineligible for WGA honours this year (11).
The winners of the 2011 Writers Guild Awards will be unveiled at dual ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles on 5 February (11).