Best Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Best Documentary: Brian Knappenberger, The Internet’s Own Boy
Best Longform Adapted: Jane Anderson, Olive Kitteridge
Best Longford Original: Melissa Carter, Deliverance Creek
Best Drama Series: Nic Pizzolatto, True Detetective
Best Comedy Series: Louis CK, Louie
Best New Series: Nic Pizzolatto,, True Detective
Best Drama Episode: Robert King & Michelle King, The Good Wife, “The Last Call”
Best Comedy Episode: Louis CK, Louis, Louie, “So Did the Fat Lady”
Best Animated: Brian Kelley, The Simpsons, “Brick Like Me”
Best Variety/Special: Barry Adelman, 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards
Best Variety/Comedy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Best Children’s Script: Bob Smiley, Haunted Heartthrob
Best Daytime Drama: General Hospital
The Writers Guild will be held tonight. We will be updating the winners as they come in.
The first thing you need to know about the WGA awards tonight is that Gone Girl got screwed for the Oscar. It now holds the record as the only film to get as many precursor nominations and not get an Oscar nomination. The ways the Academy has rejected Fincher’s work is something that will swim back and bite them in the ass years down the line. I don’t know much about the world but that is something I do know. They also shut out James Vanderbilt for Zodiac, believe it or not.
The second thing to know is that no film that hasn’t been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars has won either the WGA or the Oscar in the screenplay category since 2004, around the time Academy switched their date back one month. When they did that, all of the other bodies shifted their dates back. Now, there is little time for contemplation, little time to build up momentum. That means, since then, no film has won without a Best Picture nomination.
Before that you had great and original wins like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Bowling for Columbine, etc. Thing is, with more than five nominees it is even more likely only a Best Picture nominee will win.
That means that in the Adapted screenplay category, barring some freakish occurrence, either The Imitation Game or American Sniper are the only two scripts in the adapted category that can win tonight.
It’s a toss-up there, actually. Both films have been hit with controversy. Both films are loved. The Imitation Game won the Scripter, though Sniper was not nominated for that (can you imagine?). I am not sure which controversy will hurt more but Anne Thompson is predicting Sniper and I think that’s a good prediction. Let it be said again that had Gone Girl been nominated, and not stopped in its tracks by very narrow minded industry people, it would be winning everything – without breaking a sweat. Nothing would be more thrilling than to see her glide to a win but people just want to be on the side that’s winning and if the grand jury that is the Academy turned up their noses well, you can expect everyone else (except the Critics Choice) to follow suit. Ain’t that a shame.
Original is a little more complicated. Birdman is not nominated – that means there’s a good chance The Grand Budapest Hotel will take the award tonight. The three that have the best shot to win are Boyhood, Grand Budapest and Whiplash. Since Budapest has been winning things left and right it seems like it can’t lose. I’m hoping for Boyhood but there’s this sense that it wasn’t really “written” so much as improvised. I think that’s nuts but regardless, you know writers.
The real showdown is going to be between Birdman and Grand Budapest (both Fox Searchlight) for the Oscar. For the WGA, Budapest – the winner of the Eddie and the BAFTA, could probably have this.
Adapted: American Sniper (alt. Imitation Game)
Original: Grand Budapest (alt. Whiplash)
The Writers Guild will announce their winners tomorrow AM. Where in previous years the WGA’s rules disqualified many of the writers who were up for Oscar nominations, this year, there doesn’t seem to be too much of a disconnect, with the exception of Selma and The Theory of Everything, neither of which are eligible for WGA nods.
The WGA can sometimes spring a wild card into the race. In that way, we kind of look for surprise but in the end, find that the consensus is kind of the consensus.
Still, since it’s such a strange year I don’t know how this thing is going to play out. But I’ll go with these as predictions:
Wes Anderson, Grand Budapest Hotel Alejandro Inarritu et al, Birdman Not eligible
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher
Alt. JC Chandor, A Most Violent Year
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Paul Thoman Anderson, Inherent Vice
Nick Hornby, Wild
Jason Hall, American Sniper
Alt. Coens et al, Unbroken
Pete Hammond reports that there will be a disconnect between Whiplash’s category confusion. The Academy has decided the film’s script should be adapted since a short film existed before the feature film. The film was taken from Damien Chazzelle’s original screenplay as a feature. The short is the adaptation. The Writers Guild has deemed it original. Hammond got this desperate email from the screenwriter of Flight:
“I just tried to vote for Whiplash for a Screenplay Oscar nom and I couldn’t find it as a selection on my ‘help list’—I searched and searched—I finally switched to the ADAPTED CATEGORY and I found it there. The Academy has made a HUGE mistake!!! They are gonna have to ask the writers’ branch members to re-vote….and it makes this whole voting process off kilter. HELP!!!…Unless Whiplash is NOT an original–am I crazy? Haven’t I read 100 articles about Damien wherein he tells the story of his life being the inspiration for the flick?”
The question then becomes whether voters will vote for something else in original and then see Whiplash in adapted and NOT vote for it there because it isn’t in original. Yeah, I don’t get it. I think Whiplash’s chances of a nomination are WAY higher in adapted. Here’s why.
Here are the original frontrunners:
Wes Anderson, Grand Budapest Hotel (LOCKED)
Alejandro Inarritu et al, Birdman (LOCKED)
Richard Linklater, Boyhood (LOCKED)
E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher
Paul Webb, Selma (NOT WGA eligible)
JC Chandor, A Most Violent Year
Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner (NOT WGA eligible)
Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, Interstellar
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (The LEGO Movie)
Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias, Love is Strange
Gina Pryce Bythwood, Beyond, the Lights
Dear White People, Justin Simien (NOT WGA eligible)
Compare that to Adapted:
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl (LOCKED, hopefully)
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game (LOCKED)
Paul Thoman Anderson, Inherent Vice+*
Anthony McCarten, The Thoery of Everything* (NOT WGA eligible)
Nick Hornby, Wild*
You can see that adapted is much more wide open than original, and with Selma out of the original for the WGA Damien Chazelle and Whiplash should have no problem getting in, no matter what category it’s in.
Best Original Screenplay
Her, Written by Spike Jonze Best Adapted Screenplay
Captain Phillips, Written by Billy Ray Best Documentary Screenplay
Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley Best New Series
House of Cards Comedy Series
Veep Drama Series
Breaking Bad Continue reading…
It is sometimes the case that scripts that are ineligible for the WGA can go on to win the Oscar. It depends on whether that film is a Best Picture frontrunner or not, like The King’s Speech for instance. The general rule of thumb with screenplay, of course, is that the hotter the Best Picture contender the more likely it is to win for its screenplay, witness the debacle of last year where Tony Kushner’s marvelous screenplay was supplanted by Chris Terrio’s very charming and entertaining Argo. There is and never will be a question in my mind as to which script should have won last year — but Argo’s script was certainly the kind of script lots of people like – snappy dialogue, memorable and quotable lines, etc.
Zero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark Boal; Columbia Pictures
Argo, Screenplay by Chris Terrio; Based on a selection from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and the Wired Magazine article “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman; Warner Bros. Pictures
Searching for Sugar Man, Written by Malik Bendjelloul; Sony Pictures Classics
4,500 PGA members, 100,000 SAG members and 14,500 DGA members went ass over elbow for Argo. It hardly seems likely that the WGA will do any differently. Funny how uniform this has all become. It didn’t used to be that way. But a consensus vote is a consensus vote and the voters have decided that Argo is the best picture of 2012. It is no doubt a bittersweet success because no one will know for sure whether it was the movie or the perceived snub. But perhaps being able to look at those awards every year for the rest of his life will soothe the pain a bit.
Here is what we do know about the nominees.
Adapted Screenplay * Tony Kushner, Lincoln: New York Film Critics, National Society of Film Critics, Boston Society of Film Critics, Broadcast Film Critics, Central Ohio Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics, San Francisco Film Critics * Chris Terrio, Argo: Los Angeles Film Critics, Austin Film Critics, Florida Film Critics, Kansas City Film Critics, San Diego Film Critics, Southeastern Film Critics, Scripter
Flight, Written by John Gatins; Paramount Pictures Looper, Written by Rian Johnson; TriStar Pictures The Master, Written by Paul Thomas Anderson; The Weinstein Company Moonrise Kingdom, Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola; Focus Features Zero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark Boal; Columbia Pictures
Argo, Screenplay by Chris Terrio; Based on a selection from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and the Wired Magazine article “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman; Warner Bros. Pictures Life of Pi, Screenplay by David Magee; Based on the novel by Yann Martel; 20th Century Fox Lincoln, Screenplay by Tony Kushner; Based in part on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin; DreamWorks Pictures The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Screenplay by Stephen Chbosky; Based on his book; Summit Entertainment Silver Linings Playbook, Screenplay by David O. Russell; Based on the novel by Matthew Quick; The Weinstein Company
The Central Park Five, Written by Sarah Burns and David McMahon and Ken Burns; Sundance Selects The Invisible War, Written by Kirby Dick; Cinedigm Entertainment Group Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, Written by Alex Gibney; HBO Documentary Films Searching for Sugar Man, Written by Malik Bendejelloul; Sony Pictures Classics We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Written by Brian Knappenberger; Cinetic Media West of Memphis, Written by Amy Berg & Billy McMillin; Sony Pictures Classics
The Writers Guild will announce their winners some time this morning. Usually those come out around 10am. This is one of those years where many of the most talked about scripts aren’t eligible for the WGA. And it doesn’t really matter anyway since these nominations won’t have been released in time to effect Oscar votes.
On Thursday, January 3rd, the Producers Guild, Art Directors Guild and Writers Guild all announce their nominees. It is he same day as Oscar ballots are due. The Writers Guild is a fairly good indicator of Best Picture at the Oscars usually. This is a year where a lot of the best screenplays, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere are all ineligible. That means we could see something similar to last year’s Original Screenplay category where only two made it through to the Oscars. Everything is ass-backwards this year because usually these nominations are released before the Academy’s ballot deadline, thus, the WGA, DGA, PGA will not be the guidepost for Oscar voters.
That means you can’t get a bump from a screenplay that might have been snubbed by the WGA. As you can see by the charts below, the WGA and Oscars match quite often for wins, particularly in the original screenplay category. As the date for Oscar has been pushed back (circa 2003), those matches were somewhat more rare. After that, you can see how closely they matched. That’s because there is simply less time for contemplation. Everyone votes roughly at the same time, so what wins one place tends to win another.
A juicy exclusive by Kris Tapley over at In Contention pointing out this year’s WGA drop-offs – Beasts of the Southern Wild, Middle of Nowhere, Amour, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Rust and Bone and more. It happens every year, which is part of the reason why the WGA doesn’t predict Oscar for nominees. Most of the time, the winners do end up matching, though obviously not all – as Tapley points out, The King’s Speech wasn’t eligible for the WGA but still ended up winning Best Original Screenplay.
But the two strongest contenders in both adapted and original do qualify, Tony Kushner’s Lincoln and Mark Boal’s Zero Dark Thirty. In Contention.
Boardwalk Empire, Written by Dave Flebotte, Diane Frolov, Chris Haddock, Rolin Jones, Howard Korder, Steve Kornacki, Andrew Schneider, David Stenn, Terence Winter; HBO
Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC
Game of Thrones, Written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, George R. R. Martin, Vanessa Taylor, D.B. Weiss; HBO
Homeland, Written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Meredith Stiehm; Showtime
Mad Men, Written by Lisa Albert, Semi Chellas, Jason Grote, Jonathan Igla, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Brett Johnson, Janet Leahy, Victor Levin, Erin Levy, Frank Pierson, Michael Saltzman, Tom Smuts, Matthew Weiner; AMC
50/50, Written by Will Reiser; Summit Entertainment Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig; Universal Studios Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics Win Win, Screenplay by Tom McCarthy; Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni; Fox Searchlight Young Adult, Written by Diablo Cody; Paramount Pictures
The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming; Fox Searchlight The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian; Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, originally published by Norstedts; Columbia Pictures The Help, Screenplay by Tate Taylor; Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett; DreamWorks Pictures Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan; Based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; Paramount Pictures Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin; Based on the book by Michael Lewis; Columbia Pictures
The WGA will announce some time tomorrow. And the Scripter too.
The following scripts are ineligible: The Artist, Shame, Martha Macy, Albert Nobbs, Drive, Margin Call, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Iron Lady and My Week with Marilyn all ineligible. That happens every year and it is the main reason you don’t have a perfect match-up with Oscar. At any rate, my predictions – Ryan will add his a bit later – Kris Tapley’s are here.
Midnight in Paris
Rampart (just gonna go for it)
Super 8 Alt. Tree of Life, Young Adult
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Alt: The Ides of March, War Horse
Please add yours here if you feel like – we’re not running a contest.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
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.
Boardwalk Empire, Written by Bathsheba Doran, Dave Flebotte, Howard Korder, Steve Kornacki, Itamar Moses, Margaret Nagle, Terence Winter; HBO
Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC
Game of Thrones, Written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, George R.R. Martin, D.B. Weiss; HBO
The Good Wife, Written by Courtney Kemp Agboh, Meredith Averill, Corinne Brinkerhoff, Leonard Dick, Keith Eisner, Karen Hall, Ted Humphrey, Michelle King, Robert King, Steve Lichtman, Matthew Montoya, Julia Wolfe; CBS
Homeland, Written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Gideon Raff, Meredith Stiehm; Showtime
Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Inception Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network Documentary Writing: Inside Job WGA New Media Original Award: Anyone But Me Best Long form Television, adapted: The Pacific Long form Original: The Special Relationship
Episodic Drama: Mad Men Episodic Comedy: 30 Rock Drama Series: Mad Men Comedy Series: Modern Family Comedy/Variety (Talk) Writing Award: Colbert Report Animation Writing Award: Futurama ‚ÄòPrisoner of Benda‚Äô
There is, believe it or not, going to be a tiny bit of a battle between writers when the Scripter and the WGA play out tonight and tomorrow night. [Sorkin & Meznier won the USC Scripter Friday night]
On to the WGA. Those wacky writers. My favorite joke about writers is a Polish joke. And those have been selected out due to (justified) political correctness (I am part Polish so I don’t mind making the joke). But suffice it to say it has something to do with coming to Hollywood, being Polish, and sleeping with the writer to get ahead.
God only knows what the WGA will do. One thing we know for sure, though: This is one award The King’s Speech can’t win since it was ineligible. So, let’s look at the nominees for this: