The Writers Guild of America revealed nominations on Friday (Jan. 4) for the 65th annual edition of its awardsfest. Because these kudos only consider scripts written under the guild’s guidelines or those of several international partners, several leading Oscar contenders are missing.
Reaping WGA bids were our frontrunner for the Original Screenplay Oscar — “Zero Dark Thirty” — as well as those films in third (“The Master“), fourth (“Moonrise Kingdom“), sixth (“Flight“) and seventh (“Looper“) places.
Our number two choice — “Django Unchained” by non-guild member Quentin Tarantino — as well as our fifth place film “Amour” from writer-director Michael Haneke — were out of the running with the WGA. Also disqualified by the WGA were Oscar hopefuls “Middle of Nowhere,” “Brave,” “The Intouchables” and “Seven Psychopaths.”
WGA NOMINEES: ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Flight,” by John Gatins
“Looper, by Rian Johnson
“The Master,” by Paul Thomas Anderson
“Moonrise Kingdom,” by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
“Zero Dark Thirty,” by Mark Boal
The WGA roster includes our top three frontrunners for the Adapted Screenplay Oscar — “Lincoln,” “Argo” and “Silver Linings Playbook” — as well as our fifth pick (“Life of Pi“) and seventh slot (“#Perks of Being a Wallflower#”)
Our fourth place choice (“Beasts of the Southern Wild“) and sixth place pick (“Les Miserables“) were not in the running with the WGA. Also ineligible for the WGA award were: “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Anna Karenina” and “Quartet.”
WGA NOMINEES: ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“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
“Life of Pi,” Screenplay by David Magee; based on the novel by Yann Martel
“Lincoln,” screenplay by Tony Kushner; based in part on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” screenplay by Stephen Chbosky; based on his book
“Silver Linings Playbook,” screenplay by David O. Russell; Based on the novel by Matthew Quick; The Weinstein Company
While 282 films are eligible for Best Picture at the Oscars, only 68 of these had original scripts that could vie for WGA recognition while just 44 had adapted screenplays that could contend. Winners will be revealed in joint ceremonies on Feb. 17 at the Marriott in Los Angeles and B.B. Kings in New York.
Last year, 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.
The WGA also recognizes the achievements of the scripters of feature length documentaries. Among those cited by the WGA are “Searching for Sugar Man,” our first place pick for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars, as well as our number four choice (“The Invisible War“) and our sixth slot (“Mea Maxima Culpa Silence in the House of God“). The WGA also nominated the Oscar-snubbed “The Central Park Five,” “We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists” and “West of Memphis.”
WGA NOMINEES: DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY
“The Central Park Five,” by Sarah Burns and David McMahon and Ken Burns
“The Invisible War,” by Kirby Dick
“Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” by Alex Gibney
“Searching for Sugar Man,” by Malik Bendejelloul
“We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists,” by Brian Knappenberger
“West of Memphis,” by Amy Berg & Billy McMillin