Every year, the Writers Guild of America confounds Oscar watchers when it rules a slew of screenplays ineligible for the WGA Awards. Only scripts written under the guild’s guidelines or those of several international partners are allowed to vie for these awards. Nominations for this year’s 70th annual WGA Awards will be announced on Jan. 4 with the ceremony set for Feb. 11 to be held simultaneously in both New York and Los Angeles.
While the number of films in contention at this year’s Oscars numbers a record 341 Best Picture entries, only 59 original and 47 adapted screenplays are in the running for these precursor prizes. Those counts for the eligible contenders for the WGA Awards are down from last year’s 60 original and 55 adapted screenplay submissions.
Among those ineligible for consideration this year are some of the leading Oscar contenders, including the original screenplays for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Darkest Hour.” The former is by writer/director Martin McDonagh, who was also spurned by the guild in 2008 for his Oscar-nominated script for “In Bruges.” And the latter was penned by Anthony McCarten, who was also ineligible for the WGA Award back in 2014 for his Oscar-nominated adaptation of “The Theory of Everything.” Both films ran afoul of the requirement that foreign production companies prove their eligibility via a cumbersome process.
Last year, Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos reaped an Oscar bid for their original script for “The Lobster” after being denied a chance to contend at the WGA Awards. This year, they face the same shut-out as their original screenplay for “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is likewise ineligible for the guild honors.
William Nicholson reaped Oscar bids for his adaptation of “Shadowlands” (1993) and original script for Best Picture winner “Gladiator” (2000). While he is a strong possibility in the original screenplay race again this year for “Breathe,” he isn’t eligible to enter it for consideration by the guild. Likewise for 2001 Oscar nominee Lee Hall (“Billy Elliot”) and his current adapted screenplay “Victoria and Abdul.”
Which adapted screenplays do you think will reap Oscar bids. Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions in that category as well as the 23 others. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.