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Will one of the 10 WGA nominees win best picture at the Oscars?

January 11, 2010 | 12:36 pm

With the Writers Guild of America having ruled ineligible four of the leading best picture contenders -- Producers Guild of America nominees "An Education," "District 9," "Inglourious Basterds" and "Up" -- the importance of the WGA award in predicting the outcome of the Oscars may have taken a serious knock.

Wga-award Of the six PGA nominees eligible for WGA consideration, five reaped bids -- the original screenplays of "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" and the adapted screenplays of "Precious," "Star Trek" and "Up in the Air." Only the adaptation of the PGA-nominated "Invictus" did not earn a WGA nod. Coupled with the DGA snub of helmer Clint Eastwood, the support for "Invictus" could well be waning. The PGA champ will be announced Jan. 24, and the WGA winners will be unveiled Feb. 20.

All four of those ineligible screenplays of PGA nominees could earn Oscar nods and even put an end to the five-year pattern of both WGA champs repeating at the Oscars. Prior to this streak, the last time that happened was in 2001 when "Gosford Park" and "A Beautiful Mind" were both repeat winners. Before that, it was 1996 when "Fargo" and "Sling Blade" were both double champs.

The list of WGA nominees not in contention at the PGA -- "(500) Days of Summer," "Crazy Heart," "The Hangover," "Julie & Julia" and "A Serious Man" -- could well include several best picture nominees. Since 1989 -- when the PGA  began handing out prizes -- no film has won the Academy Award for best picture after being snubbed by both the PGA and the WGA. Though films ignored by the producers' and writers' guilds have rallied to score a best picture nomination -- "The Thin Red Line" (1998), "The Green Mile" (1999), "The Pianist" (2002), and "Ray" (2004) -- none of them went on to win.

Best original screenplay:

"(500) Days of Summer" -- Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

"Avatar" -- James Cameron

"The Hangover" -- Jon Lucas & Scott Moore

"The Hurt Locker" -- Mark Boal

"A Serious Man" -- Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Over the last 13 years, eight WGA-winning original scripts went on to prevail at the Oscars: "Fargo," "Shakespeare in Love," "American Beauty," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Crash" "Little Miss Sunshine," "Juno" and last year's champ, "Milk."

Best adapted screenplay:

"Crazy Heart" -- screenplay by Scott Cooper, based on the novel by Thomas Cobb

"Julie & Julia" -- screenplay by Nora Ephron; based on the books "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell and "My Life in France" by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme

"Precious" -- screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher; based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire

"Star Trek" -- screenplay by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman; based on "Star Trek," created by Gene Roddenberry

"Up in the Air" -- screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner; based on the novel by Walter Kirn

Over the last 13 years, the adapted-screenplay WGA winner went on to claim an Oscar nine times: "Sling Blade," "L.A. Confidential," "Traffic," "A Beautiful Mind," "Sideways," "Brokeback Mountain," "The Departed," "No Country for Old Men" and last year's champ, "Slumdog Millionaire."

Photo: Writers Guild of America award. Credit: WGA

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Why were they ruled ineligible?


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