2022 WGA Awards: ‘Don’t Look Up’ upsets, ‘CODA’ closes in on Oscar

The 74th Writers Guild of America Awards took place Sunday, one of the last guild stops of Oscar season (the American Society of Cinematographers Awards were the same night). Did they provide clarity on two of the closest Oscar contests, Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay?

The thing about the WGA Awards, of course, is that the guild’s rigid rules stipulate that only members can compete, rendering numerous Oscar contenders ineligible every year. And there were quite a few this go-round. Ineligible original scripts include “Annette,” “Belfast,” “A Hero,” “Mass,” “Parallel Mothers,” “Pig” and “The Worst Person in the World.” Adapted screenplays forced to sit out include “Cyrano,” “Drive My Car,” “The Lost Daughter,” “Passing” and “The Power of the Dog.”

In original, the WGA nominated “Being the Ricardos” (Aaron Sorkin), “Don’t Look Up” (Adam McKay & David Sirota), “The French Dispatch” (Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola & Hugo Guinness & Jason Schwartzman), “King Richard” (Zach Baylin) and “Licorice Pizza” (Paul Thomas Anderson). At the Oscars, “Belfast” (Kenneth Branagh) and “The Worst Person in the World” (Joachim Trier & Eskil Vogt) replaced “Being the Ricardos” and “The French Dispatch.”

SEE Jane Campion, Maggie Gyllenhaal or Sian Heder would end long Oscar dry spell for female screenwriters

Only two of the WGA’s adapted screenplay nominees correlate with the academy’s. The guild went with “CODA” (Sian Heder), “Dune” (Eric RothJon Spaihts & Denis Villeneuve), “Nightmare Alley” (Guillermo del Toro and Kim Morgan), “Tick, Tick… Boom!” (Steven Levenson) and “West Side Story” (Tony Kushner). The Oscars shortlisted “Drive My Car” (Ryusuke Hamaguchi & Takamasa Oe), “The Lost Daughter” (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and “The Power of the Dog” (Jane Campion) in lieu of “Nightmare Alley,” “Tick, Tick… Boom!” and “West Side Story.”

Our odds foresaw victories for “Licorice Pizza” and “CODA,” both of which won BAFTAs last weekend but lost at the Critics Choice Awards to “Belfast” and “The Power of the Dog,” respectively. Last year, the WGA Awards and the Oscars honored the same original script, Emerald Fennell‘s “Promising Young Woman,” but differed in adapted as the eventual Oscar winner, “The Father,” by Christopher Hampton & Florian Zeller, was ineligible at WGA, which awarded “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”

On the TV side, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Hacks,” “Only Murders in the Building,” “Ted Lasso” and “What We Do in the Shadows” were up for comedy series. “Ted Lasso” was seeking its second consecutive win. The drama lineup featured “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Loki,” “The Morning Show,” “Succession” and “Yellowjackets.” “Handmaid’s” (2018) and “Succession” (2020) are former winners in the category. The WGA Awards also honor new series, individual drama and comedy episodes, among others.

Below, check out our minute-by-minute report on this year’s WGA winners. (All times ET.)

7:10 p.m.: Best Adapted Screenplay goes to Sian Heder for “CODA.” Big weekend for “CODA” — PGA and WGA to go along with SAG ensemble and the BAFTA for adapted screenplay. It only faced off against one other Oscar nominee here, “Dune,” but it beat the exact Oscar lineup at BAFTA. The academy membership is different, of course, but “CODA” is looking good to go three for three at the Oscars.

7:12 p.m.: Best Adapted Short Form Media goes to “Debunking Borat.”

7:13 p.m.: “Succession” wins Best Episodic Drama for “Retired Janitors of Idaho,” written by Tony Roche & Susan Soon He Stanton, aka the imaginary dead cat episode.

7:15 p.m.: “Baking It” takes Best Quiz and Audience Participation.

7:18 p.m.: “Planteau” from “Tuca & Bertie” wins Best Animation. It’s the first non-“Simpsons” and non-“Bojack Horseman” winner since “Bob’s Burgers” in 2016.

7:25 p.m.: “Hacks” scores Best Comedy Series, denying “Ted Lasso” a second straight win in the category. Lest we forget, it beat “Ted” in writing at the Emmys (where “Ted” did have multiple nominations). It’s also a show about writing.

7:27 p.m.: Best Children’s Episodic, Long Form or Specials goes to “The Tale of the Midnight Magic” from “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”

7:32 p.m.: “Exposing Muybridge” wins Best Documentary Screenplay.

7:34 p.m.: “Full Frontal Wants to Take Your Guns” nabs Best Comedy/Variety Specials. This is the “Full Frontal” team’s second win in the category after taking it two years ago for “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents: Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Part 2.”

7:36 p.m.: “Men’s Rights Asians” Think This Is Their Moment” from Slate.com wins Best Digital News.

7:39 p.m.: “Mare of Easttown” continues its guild domination with a victory in Best Original Long Form for Brad Ingelsby. Its only major loss this winter was at DGA, to “The Underground Railroad’s” Barry Jenkins (who received the Paul Selvin Award at WGA). If the SAG Awards had an ensemble category for limited series, you can bet it would’ve won that too.

7:42 p.m.: “Maid” wins Best Adapted Long Form. The Netflix series has kind of underwhelmed this winter, so this is a big get for it.

7:54 p.m.: “Alone At Last” from “The Great,” written by Tony McNamara, scores Best Episodic Comedy. Nice consolation in light of the series snub.

7:57 p.m.: “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” wins Best Comedy/Variety Sketch Series. It previously won in 2020.

8:00 p.m.: “The Unequal Recession” from “60 Minutes” is named Best News Script — Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, or Breaking News Report. “60 Minutes” gets another win minutes later when “Handcuffed to the Truth” scores Best News Script — Analysis, Feature, or Commentary.

8:03 p.m.: “Succession wins Best Drama Series, its second victory in the category. It won PGA on Saturday, DGA last weekend and SAG last month, making it the third drama to sweep the top four guilds in one year after “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” Waystar Royco indeed went full beast.

8:06 p.m.: “Days of Our Lives” takes home its fourth award for Best Daytime Drama.

8:14 p.m.: “The Healthcare Divide” from “Frontline” wins Best Documentary Script — Current Events, while “Citizen Hearst, Part One” from “American Experience” nabs Best Documentary Script — Other Than Current Events.

8:20 p.m.: “Conan” wins Best Comedy/Variety Talk Series. This is the show’s first win in the category, but it’s Conan O’Brien‘s seventh as “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” holds the record with six awards, including the inaugural one in 1997. A nice farewell hug to a late-night titan.

8:22 p.m.: Best New Series goes to “Hacks.” Hardly a shocker, especially after its comedy series win.

8:23 p.m.: “Don’t Look Up” wins Best Original Screenplay for Adam McKay and David Sirota. McKay now has WGA victories in both film categories while PTA is still awaiting his first. So, uh, what’s winning the Oscar? “Licorice Pizza” took BAFTA, “Belfast” (ineligible here) took Critics Choice, and now “Don’t Look Up” has WGA. “Don’t Look Up” is definitely the most “original” of the three, and when the guild and the academy have disagreed in recent history, it’s usually because the eventual Oscar-winning script is ineligible at WGA, or we have a situation like three years ago when the Oscar-snubbed “Eighth Grade” won WGA over soon-to-be Oscar winner “Green Book.” You have to go back 21 years to find a WGA original screenplay winner, “You Can Count on Me,” that lost the Oscar to a fellow WGA nominee, “Almost Famous.” That was also the first year BAFTA became an Oscar precursor and the Brits went with “Almost Famous” while “You Can Count on Me” was ineligible.

PREDICT the 2022 Oscar winners by March 27

Oscar odds for Best Original Screenplay
'Licorice Pizza' is ahead

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