The film awards calendar continues to fill up with Thursday’s announcement by the Writers Guild that the 66th annual edition of their kudos will take place on Feb. 1. Simultaneous ceremonies will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles and Gotham’s Edison Ballroom.
Only scripts written under the guild’s guidelines or those of several international partners are allowed to vie for these awards. As such, they are of limited use as signposts for the Oscars.
Last year, 282 films were in the running for Best Picture at the Oscars, but only 68 of these had original scripts that could vie for WGA recognition while just 44 had adapted screenplays that could contend.
Two of the five nominees for the Original Screenplay Oscar — eventual winner “Django Unchained” by non-guild member Quentin Tarantino and “Amour” from writer-director Michael Haneke — were out of the running with the WGA. Also disqualified by the WGA were “Middle of Nowhere,” “Brave,” “The Intouchables” and “Seven Psychopaths.” “Zero Dark Thirty” won over the WGA voters.
Likewise, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” was one of the five contenders for the Adapted Screenplay Oscar but couldn’t make the cut with the WGA. Also MIA from the WGA roster of potential contenders were “Les Miserables,” “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Anna Karenina” and “Quartet.” Both the WGA and Oscar went to “Argo.”
In 2011, only five of the 10 WGA nominees went on to contend at the Oscars. In 2010, six of the 10 WGA nominees went on to compete at the Oscars while only four managed to do this in 2009.
Three of last year’s Oscar nominees for Best Original Screenplay — “The Artist,” “Margin Call” and “A Separation” — were ineligible with the WGA as was one of the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar contenders — “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”
Both of last year’s WGA winners went on to repeat at the Oscars. “Midnight in Paris” won Woody Allen his fifth Original Screenplay award from the WGA while Alexander Payne claimed his third Adapted Screenplay prize for “The Descendants,” along with collaborators Nax Faxon and Jim Rash.
In 2010, Aaron Sorkin won Best Adapted Screenplay at both kudos for “The Social Network.” He edged out the adapters of “127 Hours” and “True Grit” for both awards. However, two of his Oscar rivals — “Toy Story 3” and “Winter’s Bone” — were ineligible to contend at the WGAs.
The eventual Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay — “The King’s Speech” — was also ineligible for the WGA award as was another Oscar nominee — “Another Year.” Oscar contender Christopher Nolan won that prize for “Inception” edging out, among others, Oscar rivals “The Fighter” and “The Kids Are All Right.”
And in 2009, the four WGA contenders deemed Oscar worthy were: WGA winner “The Hurt Locker” which repeated at the Oscars and “A Serious Man” on the original front and eventual champ “Precious” and WGA winner “Up in the Air” on the adapted side. Two of the eventual five Oscar nominees for Best Original Screenplay — “Inglorious Basterds” and “Up” — were ineligible for WGA consideration. Likewise, three of the Best Adapted Screenplay contenders — “District 9,” “An Education” and “In the Loop” — were left out of the running by the WGA.