The Writers Guild will announce their nominees this Thursday, along with the USC Scripter awards.

The screenplay categories are a lynchpin to see which handful of films the guilds will begin to support.  While the WGA isn’t really a make or break, particularly since there are always those screenplays that don’t qualify for them, it can help in terms of sussing out what films can WIN. Unless your script is not eligible, like the The King’s Speech, failure to earn a WGA nomination is not a good thing.   Even Avatar got a WGA nod the year it was up for the award. That it then didn’t get a screenplay nod from AMPAS was a clear indicator that it could not win Best Picture.  Your Best Picture winner, in truth, needs support from the writers, the directors and the actors primarily.  From there, the below the line support can help a lot.  But a movie like The King’s Speech, with a whopping 12 nominations, could lose everything else and still win Screenplay, Director, Actor and Picture.

Nonetheless, judging how the WGA goes on Thursday we should find out whether some projects will lay or play.  I will be particularly watching for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, War Horse, The Help (where Tate Taylor might get his first guild nod), Tree of Life, Bridesmaids, and Drive.  I’m assuming The Artist won’t be eligible, but we’ll have to wait and see.

I do expect nominations for most, if not all of those films.  The easy bets are Moneyball, The Descendants, and Hugo.

I do feel that original screenplay at the WGAs is wide open.  The general thinking is that it will go:
The Artist (if eligible)
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Will Reiser, 50/50
Tree of Life

A longer shot here would be Tom McCarthy for Win/Win, Diablo Cody for Young Adult, Oren Moverman and James Ellroy for Rampart,  I will guess that Asghar Farhadi won’t be eligible to be nominated for A Separation.

My hope is that JC Chandor will be recognized for his marvelously dense Margin Call, or Abi Morgan and Steve McQueen might get something for Shame.  Finally, Scott Z Burns deserves a lot more credit for Contagion.  Appreciation for that script might show up there.

Adapted Screenplay will probably go:
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash,The Descendants
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, Stan Chervin, Moneyball
Lee Hall, Richard Curtis, War Horse
John Logan, Hugo
Tate Taylor, The Help

I am also not counting out Steve Zaillion’s adaptation of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Clooney, Heslov and Willimon for Ides of March, and Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I’m also wondering about Eric Roth for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Yes, the film was harshly reviewed by the critics but Roth is so esteemed in the community I am not entirely sure it’s out.

The USC Scripter honors both the book and the script and here is where I think Extremely Loud could pop up.  But with all of the adapted screenplay predictions you see above, they could just as easily get in with the Scripters too, as all of those are beloved books.

Naturally, last year The Social Network won the Script and the WGA and everything else.  But the year before it was Jason Reitman for Up in the Air — the book and the screenplay won.  Prior to that it was an easy call with Slumdog Millionaire and before that, No Country for Old Men.

Unfortunately, what is glaringly missing here is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. A nomination at the WGAs or the Scripters might help to foist that film into the race in a significant way. But I am not confident that it will get in here if it didn’t get into the PGAs.

Either which way, we wait, we wait.  We’ll put out more formal predictions some time tomorrow

The charts:

won WGA | won Oscar *nominated for Best Picture +won Best Picture

Original WGA Oscars
Black Swan* The King’s Speech+
Please Give Another Year
The Fighter The Fighter*
The Kids Are All Right The Kids Are All Right*
Inception Inception*
The Social Network The Social Network*
127 Hours 127 Hours*
True Grit True Grit*
I Love You Phillip Morris Winter’s Bone*
The Town Toy Story 3*
Original WGA Oscars
The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker+
A Serious Man A Serious Man*
500 Days of Summer Up*
The Hangover The Messenger
Avatar Inglourious Basterds*
Adapted WGA Oscars
Up in the Air Up in the Air*
Crazy Heart In the Loop
Star Trek District 9*
Precious Precious*
Julie & Julia An Education*
Original WGA Oscars
Milk Milk*
Burn After Reading Frozen River
The Visitor Happy-Go-Lucky
The Wrestler In Bruges
Vicky Cristina Barcelona Wall-E
Adapted WGA Oscars
Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire+
Doubt Doubt
Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon*
Benjamin Button Benjamin Button*
The Dark Knight The Reader
Original WGA Oscars
Diablo Cody, Juno* Diablo Cody, Juno*
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton*
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl
Judd Apatow, Knocked Up Brad Bird, Ratatouille
Adapted WGA Oscars
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood*
Joel, Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men Joel, Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men+
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Sean Penn, Into the Wild Sarah Polley, Away from Her
James Vanderbilt, Zodiac Christopher Hampton Atonement*
Original WGA Oscars
Babel Babel*
The Queen The Queen *
Stranger than Fiction Letters from Iwo Jima*
Little Miss Sunshine Little Miss Sunshine *
United 93 Pan’s Labyrinth
Adapted WGA Oscars
The Departed The Departed+
Thank You for Smoking Notes on a Scandal
Little Children Little Children
Borat Borat
Devil Wears Prada Children of Men
Original WGA Oscars
40 Year Old Virgin Syriana
Crash+ Crash+
Cinderella Man Match Point
Good Night, and Good Luck Good Night *
Squid and the Whale Squid and the Whale
Adapted WGA Oscars
Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain*
Capote Capote*
Constant Gardener Constant Gardener
History of Violence History of Violence
Syriana Munich*
Original WGA Oscars
The Aviator The Aviator*
Eternal Sunshine Eternal Sunshine
Garden State Vera Drake
Hotel Rwanda Hotel Rwanda
Kinsey The Incredibles
Adapted WGA Oscars
Before Sunset Before Sunset
Mean Girls Finding Neverland*
Million Dollar Baby Million Dollar Baby+
Sideways Sideways*
Motorcycle Diaries Motorcycle Diaries
Original WGA Oscars
Bend it Like Beckham The Barbarian Invasions
Dirty Pretty Things Dirty Pretty Things
In America In America
Lost in Translation Lost in Translation*
The Station Agent Finding Nemo
Adapted WGA Oscars
American Splendor American Splendor
Cold Mountain City of God
Mystic River Mystic River *
Seabiscuit Seabiscuit*
Original WGA Oscars
Far From Heaven Far From Heaven
Gangs of New York Gangs of New York*
Antwone Fisher Talk to Her
My Big Fat Greek Wedding Greek Wedding
Bowling for Columbine Y Tu Mama Tambien
Chicago Chicago+
The Hours The Hours*
About Schmidt The Pianist*
Adaptation Adaptation
About a Boy About a Boy
Original WGA Oscars
Gosford Park* Gosford Park*
The Man Who Wasn’t There Amelie
Monster’s Ball Monster’s Ball
Moulin Rouge Memento
The Royal Tenenbaums The Royal Tenenbaums
Adapted WGA Oscars
A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind+
Black Hawk Down Shrek
Bridget Jones’s Diary In the Bedroom*
Ghost World Ghost World
The Fellowship of the Ring Fellowship of the Ring*
Original WGA Oscars
Erin Brockovich Erin Brockovich*
Almost Famous Almost Famous
Best In Show Gladiator+
Billy Elliot Billy Elliot
You Can Count On Me You Can Count On Me
Adapted WGA Oscars
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon*
Chocolat Chocolat*
High Fidelity O Brother Where Art Thou?
Traffic Traffic*
Wonder Boys Wonder Boys
Original WGA Oscars
American Beauty American Beauty+
Being John Malkovich Being John Malkovich
Magnolia Magnolia
The Sixth Sense The Sixth Sense*
Three Kings Topsy-Turvy
Adapted WGA Oscars
The Cider House Rules The Cider House Rules*
Election Election
The Insider The Insider*
October Sky The Green Mile*
The Talented Mr. Ripley The Talented Mr. Ripley
Original WGA Oscars
Bulworth Bulworth
The Opposite of Sex Life Is Beautiful *
Shakespeare In Love* Shakespeare In Love+
Saving Private Ryan Saving Private Ryan*
The Truman Show The Truman Show
Adapted WGA Oscars
Gods and Monsters Gods and Monsters
A Civil Action The Thin Red Line*
Primary Colors Primary Colors
A Simple Plan A Simple Plan
Out Of Sight* Out Of Sight

WINNERS CHART +Won Best Picture *nominated for Best Pic WGA | OSCAR

2008: Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire+
Milk Milk*
2007: No Country for Old Men No Country for Old Men+
Juno Juno*
2006: The Departed The Departed+
Little Miss Sunshine Little Miss Sunshine*
2005:Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain*
Crash Crash+
2004: Eternal Sunshine Eternal Sunshine
Sideways Sideways*
2003: Lost in Translation Lost in Translation*
American Splendor Return of the King+
2002: The Hours* The Pianist*
Bowling for Columbine Talk to Her
2001: A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind+
Gosford Park Gosford Park*
2000: Traffic Traffic*
You Can Count on Me Almost Famous
1999: American Beauty American Beauty+
Election The Cider House Rules*
1998:Shakespeare in Love Shakespeare in Love+
Out of Sight Gods and Monsters
1997: L.A. Confidential L.A. Confidential*
As Good as it Gets Good Will Hunting*
1996: Sling Blade Sling Blade
Fargo Fargo*
1995: Braveheart The Usual Suspects
Sense and Sensibility Sense and Sensibility*
1994: Forrest Gump Forrest Gump+
Four Weddings/Funeral Pulp Fiction*
1993: Schindler’s List Schindler’s List+
The Piano The Piano*
1992: The Crying Game The Crying Game *
The Player Howards End*
1991: The Silence of the Lambs The Silence of the Lambs+
Thelma and Louise Thelma and Louise
1990: Dances with Wolves Dances with Wolves+
Avalon Ghost*
1989: Driving Miss Daisy Driving Miss Daisy+
Crimes and Misdemeanors Dead Poets Society*
1988: Dangerous Liaisons Dangerous Liaisons*
Bull Durham Rain Man+
1987: Roxanne The Last Emperor+
Moonstruck Moonstruck*
1986: A Room with a View A Room with a View*
Hannah and Her Sisters Hannah and her Sisters*
1985: Witness Witness*
Prizzi’s Honor Out of Africa+
1984: The Killing Fields Amadeus+
Broadway Danny Rose Places in the Heart*
1983: Tender Mercies Tender Mercies*
Reuben, Reuben Terms of Endearment+
1982: Missing Missing*
Tootsie Gandhi+
1981: Reds Chariots of Fire+
On Golden Pond On Golden Pond *
Rich and Famous
1980:Ordinary People Ordinary People+
Airplane, Private Benjamin
Melvin and Howard Melvin and Howard
1979: Kramer vs. Kramer Kramer Vs. Kramer+
Breaking Away Breaking Away*
The China Syndrome, Being There
1978: Midnight Express Midnight Express*
Coming Home Coming Home*
Heaven Can Wait
Movie, Movie
1977: Annie Hall Annie Hall+
Julia Julia*
The Turning Point, Oh, God
1976: All the President’s Men All The President’s Men*
Network Network*
Pink Panther Strikes Again
1975: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest+
Dog Day Afternoon Dog Day Afternoon*
The Sunshine Boys
1974: Godfather Part II Godfather Part II+
Chinatown Chinatown*
Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Blazing Saddles
1973: A Touch of Class The Exorcist*
Save the Tiger, Paper Moon The Sting+
1972: The Godfather The Godfather+
The Candidate The Candidate
What’s Up, Doc? Cabaret
1971: The French Connection The French Connection+
The Hospital The Hospital
Kotch; Sunday, Bloody, Sunday
1970: Patton Patton+
M*A*S*H M*A*S*H*
I Never Sang for My Father, The Out-of Towners
1969: Midnight Cowboy Midnight Cowboy+
Butch Cassidy Butch Cassidy/Sundance Kid *
Goodbye, Columbus; Bob, Ted, Carol and Alice
1968:Lion in Winter The Lion in Winter*
The Producers The Producers
Funny Girl, Odd Couple
1967: The Graduate In the Heat of the Night+
Bonnie and Clyde Guess Who’s Coming… *
Thoroughly Modern Millie
1966: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe? A Man for All Seasons+
The Russians are Coming A Man and a Woman
1965: A Thousand Clowns Dr. Zhivago*
The Sound of Music, The Pawnbroker Darling*
1964: Becket Becket
Dr. Strangelove, Mary Poppins Father Goose
1963: Hud Tom Jones+
Lillies of the Field How the West Was Won
1962: The Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird *
That Touch of Mink, Music Man Divorce Italian Style
1961: the Hustler Judgment at Nuremberg
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, West Side Story Splendor in the Grass
1960: The Apartment The Apartment+
Elmer Gantry Elmer Gantry
The Bells are Ringing
1959: The Diary of Anne Frank Room at the Top *
Some Like it Hot, Five Pennies Pillow Talk
1958: Gigi Gigi+
The Defiant Ones The Defiant Ones
Me and the Colonel
1957: 12 Angry Men Bridge on the River Kwai+
Love in the Afternoon Designing Women
Les Girls
1956: Around world/80 Days Around world/80 Days+
The King and I The red Balloon
Friendly Persuasion
1955: Marty Marty+
Mr. Roberts Interrupted Melody
Love Me/Leave Me
1954: On the Waterfront On the Waterfront+
Sabrina, Seven Brides/Seven Bros. The Country Girl
1953: From Here to Eternity From Here to Eternity+
Lili, Roman Holiday Titanic
1952: High Noon, The Quiet Man Lavender Hill Mob
Singing in the Rain Bad and Beautiful
1951: An American in Paris An American in Paris+
A Place in the Sun A Place in the Sun*
Father’s Little Dividend
1950: All About Eve All About Eve+
Sunset Boulevard Sunset Boulevard *
Broken Arrow, Annie Get Your Gun
1949: All the King’s Men All the King’s Men+
A Letter to Three Wives, on the Town Battleground*
1958: The Snake Pit Treasure of the Sierra Madre*
Sitting Pretty, Easter Parade
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  • Daveylow

    I thought I read a while ago that The Artist and Shame weren’t eligible.

    1. Midnight in Paris
    2. 50 / 50
    3. Beginners
    4. Young Adult
    5. Bridesmaids

    NGNG – The Artist doesn’t make the cut even if it is eligible.
    WOULD LOVE TO SEE IN THE TOP5 – Take Shelter, The Tree of Life, Win Win

    1. The Descendants
    2. Moneyball
    3. The Help
    4. Hugo
    5. War Horse

    NGNG – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Kloves would deserve it)
    WOULD LOVE TO SEE IN THE TOP5 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jane Eyre

    (For what it’s worth if Bridesmaids and The Ides of March sneak in, they will probably get the bp-nods, too.)

  • Too Many AJs

    I’ve definitely read that The Artist, Shame, and Margin Call are not eligible (nor are Beginners, Martha Marcy May Marlene, or Take Shelter, and I’m not sure, but I’m betting A Separation is ineligible too). The WGA has been so kind to us prognosticators as to disqualify all dark horse Original Screenplay contenders, as well as the frontrunner for the Oscar, and leave us with very few films with any real chance of a nomination. I think Original will be:

    Midnight in Paris
    Tree of Life
    Win Win

    As for Adapted, I’m wondering if Ides of March doesn’t sneak in instead of War Horse. There are many great things about War Horse, but its script sure isn’t one of them, and hopefully the Writers’ Guild will recognize that. Plus it definitely seems like support for Ides is stronger than we’d realized.

  • Alfredo

    This one is hard for me to call because I’m not 100% sure what is or isn’t eligible. Is there a list somewhere? I’m sure there is I’m just too lazy to google.

    Of the things I’m certain of…

    Original Screenplay
    Bridesmaids (WGA is notorious for nominating comedies. They nominated Mean Girls, Knocked up, 40 year old virgin and The Hangover.)
    Midnight in Paris (it’s Woody Allen, nuff said.)

    Adapted Screenplay
    The Descendants
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    The Help

    Alt: War Horse

  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive are also ineligible

  • Jake G.!

    How could Hugo get an adapted nod over the girl with the dragon tattoo!? Dragon Tattoo is much better adapted!

  • Could someone explain to me what makes a lot of great scripts, that are contenders everywhere else, ineligible for the WGA ? It happens every single year, I just don’t know why. Is this why for example Sorkin hates them ?

  • Alfredo

    phantom I’m not 100% sure but I believe it has something to do with being in the writer’s guild. If you’re not a dues paying member you will not get a nomination much less an award from the guild. This is just a guess though.

  • what makes a lot of great scripts, that are contenders everywhere else, ineligible for the WGA ?

    phantom, it’s usually pretty simple — they only consider scripts written by WGA members. So that automatically eliminates most UK screenwriters or writers from other dubious countries.

    [everybody is typing faster than me tonight. I give up! g’nite.]

  • Thanks Alfredo/Ryan…so they are basically not considering the ‘best’ they are considering the ‘best’ in the ‘club’…well, that sounds arrogant.

  • so they are basically not considering the ‘best’ they are considering the ‘best’ in the ‘club’…well, that sounds arrogant.

    let’s not think about the broader implications of that attitude.

    you’re shaking my faith in the whole system — and democracy itself.

  • Bob Burns

    interested whether both Hugo and War Horse make it.

  • steve50

    While I’m generally impressed year to year with the writing nominations from AMPAS, the WGA is a bit anal when it comes to eligibilty. This year, they are excluding a number of top films:

    Thins the herd a bit too much for the results to be taken seriously, imo.

  • Gregoire

    There are so many disqualifications and ineligibles that Bridesmaids has become a lock and 50/50 stands an excellent chance.

  • Sofia

    Just a note, Titanic didn’t have a screenplay nomination. So it’s still possible to win Best pic with a screenplay that hurts your ears.

  • Sasha Stone

    Just a note, Titanic didn’t have a screenplay nomination. So it’s still possible to win Best pic with a screenplay that hurts your ears.

    Wow, you’re right! I don’t know why I forget that every year.

  • chrisw

    Is anyone else appalled that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy isn’t getting love? Or is it just me?

  • Artie

    That Avatar got a WGA nod and HP will mostly likely miss it is laughable. I guess Avatar is just “better” than HP….maybe blue aliens re-enacting pocahontas just doesn’t have the same childish stigma attached.

  • OCO300

    @Artie or because they sometimes don’t nominate sequels or they did see the movie when it first released?

  • It’s still pisses me off that The Aviator took the Oscar over Eternal Sunshine. Mind-blowing…

  • chrisw

    No it didn’t. That’s Eternal’s only Oscar.

  • OCO300

    Hey do you guys think the Academy should honor the Harry Potter franchise at this year’s Oscars?

  • chrisw


    To a degree, yes. I think it should win a few techs. I wouldn’t mind seeing a supporting nom for Rickman or Fiennes since the supporting fields aren’t that packed, and I wouldn’t be angry if it got a best pic nom. I think that’s generous and deserved.

  • OCO300

    I think a best picture, best adapted screenplay, best supporting actor (either Rickman or Fiennes) + the expected tech nods would be a decent tribute. And though the best director category seems full, if someone like Tate Taylor will sneak in, I will also think Yates should have had a better shot, too. Nothing against ‘The Help’, but ‘Deathly Hallows Part II’ is one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2011 and ‘The Help’ just isn’t, so I think it would deserve much more traction than it actually gets.

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