The Envelope Logo

Gold Derby

Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: WGA

2010 derby: Key award dates

August 4, 2010 | 12:01 pm

Here are some of the important kudos dates we know so far:

Derby Horses Oscar statuette

Aug. 9 – Teen Choice Awards
Aug. 29 – Primetime Emmys
Sept. 12 -- MTV Video Music Awards
Nov. 22 -- International Emmys
Nov. 29 – Gotham Awards
Dec. 8 – WGA TV nominees announced
Dec. 16 – SAG nominations
Jan. 4, 2011 – WGA film nominees announced
Jan. 16, 2011 – Golden Globes
Jan. 22, 2011 – Producers Guild of America Awards
Jan. 25, 2011 – Oscar nominations
Jan. 30, 2011 – Screen Actors Guild Awards
Feb. 5, 2011 – Writers Guild of America Awards
Feb. 13, 2011 – BAFTA
Feb. 13, 2011 – Grammys
Feb. 27, 2011 – Oscars

Illustration by Ty Wilson

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.

WGA unveils its award calendar

August 19, 2009 |  2:57 pm

Here's the timetable for the awards bestowed by the Writers Guild of America.

TV eligibility period: long form, episodic, animation and children's script categories:
First broadcast between Dec. 1, 2008 and Nov. 30, 2009

WGA Award

All other script categories:
First broadcast between Oct. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2009

Screen eligibility period:
Theatrically exhibited in Los Angeles for at least one week during 2009
Oct. 23 — Deadline for online submission of TV series

Nov. 6 — Preliminary TV online balloting begins (drama, comedy and new series)

Nov. 27 — Deadline for online submission of theatrical screenplays

Continue reading »

One of the 10 WGA nominees will win the Academy Award for best picture

January 7, 2009 |  4:25 pm

No film has gone on to win the Academy Award for best picture after being snubbed by both the Producers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America. As all five PGA nominees also scored WGA nominations today, that means this year's top Oscar champ should be drawn from the pool of 10 films in contention for a WGA kudo. The only wrinkle in applying this rule might be "Wall-E," which failed to make the final five with the PGA and was not eligible for WGA consideration. The PGA winner will be announced Jan. 24 while the WGA winners will be unveiled Feb. 7.


That critical darling "Wall-E" might well score a best-picture bid when Oscar nominations are announced Jan. 22. In the past, films snubbed by the producers' and writers' guilds have rallied and scored a best picture nomination. "Ray," "The Pianist," "The Green Mile" and "The Thin Red Line" all did just that, but none of them went on to win. Could "Wall-E" be the exception to the rule and go on to win the big prize?

Nominated for best adapted screenplay:

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (PGA nominee) — screenplay by Eric Roth, screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald;

"The Dark Knight" (PGA nominee) — screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, based on the DC Comic created by Bob Kane;

"Doubt" — screenplay by John Patrick Shanley based on his stage play;

"Frost/Nixon" (PGA nominee) — screenplay by Peter Morgan based on his stage play; and

"Slumdog Millionaire" (PGA nominee) — screenplay by Simon Beaufoy based on the novel "Q & A" by Vikas Swarup.

Nominated for best original screenplay:

"Burn After Reading" — screenplay by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen;

"Milk" (PGA nominee) — screenplay by Dustin Lance Black;

"Vicky Cristina Barcelona" — screenplay by Woody Allen;

"The Visitor" — screenplay by Tom McCarthy; and

"The Wrestler" — screenplay by Robert Siegel.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Gold Derby nuggets: Get 20 Grammy nominees on one CD! | Will 'Bride Wars' be Hathaway's Oscar undoing? | Week's Guild noms = Super Bowl of Oscar influencing

January 6, 2009 |  4:33 pm

• The New York magazine Vultures make merry with the seeming obsession of certain scribes at the New York Times with this year's 'It' girl Anne Hathaway: "First, the section featured a half-page appreciation of Hathaway's rehearsal-dinner toast scene in 'Rachel Getting Married' in which silver-tongued cinephile Stephen Holden tries flattery: 'Her gaze wide-eyed with panic, her attitude cheerfully sardonic, Anne Hathaway, playing Kym Buchman, gives a brave performance that doesn't ask to be liked; only to be believed. By turns bizarrely perky, hostile and self-pitying, her rambling four-minute toast at the rehearsal dinner for the wedding of her sister, Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt), offers an indelible, if sometimes repellent portrait of a recovering addict who makes people squirm.' Next, all three critics, Manohla Dargis, Holden and A.O. Scott, name Hathaway as their top choice for a best actress nomination." Finally, reports Lane Brown, "only the Times' venerable Carpetbagger David Carr is able to actually land a date with Hathaway, which begins well enough ('When Anne Hathaway shows up for an interview at a coffee shop on Melrose, her smile precedes her'), but then he nearly screws up everything by asking too many questions about her ex ('Her onetime live-in boyfriend, Raffaello Follieri, was arrested and convicted on fraud and money-laundering charges in the last year, and her personal journal, along with jewelry he had given her, became part of the case. She won't talk directly about it today')." NEW YORK


• Put your pre-orders in now for the Grammys' annual composite CD, which includes 20 top tunes in competition for awards to be bestowed Feb. 8. The newest disc has these tunes up for best record and/or song: "Viva La Vida" (Coldplay), "Paper Planes" (M.I.A.), "Please Read the Letter" (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss), "Love Song" (Sara Bareilles) and "American Boy" (Estelle featuring Kanye West), plus music by best new artist contenders the Jonas Brothers, Duffy and Adele. GRAMMY NOMINEES 2009

Rope of Silicon is also interested in Anne Hathaway but wonders whether her upcoming comedy "Bride Wars" could torpedo her Oscar hopes, much as many say "Norbit" did for Eddie Murphy two years when he competed for "Dreamgirls." The logic goes thus: "'Bride Wars' obviously won't be offensive, and it may not necessarily be bad, but it could be perceived as a sign Hathaway perhaps hasn't shed that 'Princess Diaries' mold she seemed to fit. The mold 'Rachel Getting Married' and 'Get Smart' to some extent seemed to shed. A mold not prone to excite the academy." Then, the theory goes, " 'Rachel Getting Married' is a Sony Pictures Classics release and in October Sony Pictures released, but hid from EVERYONE, another Hathaway starrer called 'Passengers' in which she starred with such high-profile names as Patrick Wilson, David Morse, Andre Braugher and even Dianne Wiest. The film was buried by Sony to the tune of $292,437 at the box after two weeks and 125 theaters and a 21% RottenTomatoes rating from the 19 reviews counted. Was Sony trying to hide a bad film to protect their Oscar-destined star? Perhaps there is something to this 'guilty by association' theory. Obviously this is all speculation, but if the academy is so petty as to snub Eddie Murphy for an Oscar -- a theory a lot of people subscribe to -- what would make anyone think Hathaway's bounce back to a harmless matrimonial rom-com would be any different for an actress trying to prove she is all grown up?" ROPE OF SILICON


Pete Hammond delivers his usual punchy report with a rundown of the week ahead: "Box-office hits and misses aside, by this time next week we should have a pretty clear picture of where this season is heading. The effect on academy voters should be interesting to note as their balloting continues through Jan. 12 during a period where five, count 'em, five groups hold their official award galas and six guilds announce their nominations (including the all-important PGA, DGA and WGA). Call it all the Super Bowl of Oscar influencing." And, as Pete concludes, "then it will all be over, a week that will live in glittering infamy. Contenders will take a rest and wait until 5:38 a.m. on Jan. 22 to see if any of this pre-Oscar awards whirlwind means squat to the all-knowing, all-seeing and, hopefully (for the sake of potential nominees), all-impressionable Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Check this space for coverage of all the fun. It IS fun, right?" NOTES ON A SEASON

Steven Zeitchik of the Hollywood Reporter examines the connection between recent news events and current Oscar contenders: "With the war in Gaza intensifying, "Waltz With Bashir" is now the third fall movie to resonate eerily (after the Mumbai attacks did the same for "Slumdog Millionaire" and the passage of Prop 8 did that for "Milk"). Ari Folman's diary of his experiences during another Israeli war and another time of racial and military confusion doesn't need to be seen as reflecting on the current Middle East hostilities -- but it's hard not to consider your own positions on the contemporary fighting after seeing the film, no matter what side of the aisle you're on. And it's hard to view the film without your feelings about the current war playing into them." For Zetichik, this trio of films about topical subjects differs from past efforts to explain current events because "this year's group, which were all intent on telling their own stories and just happened to anticipate the headlines, are sailing along despite (because of?) the news. 'Slumdog,' which shines an at times uncomfortable light on sectarian violence in India even as troops and passions again stir between Pakistan and India, has earned nearly $30 million by the close of the weekend. 'Milk,' released in a time of outrage over Prop. 8, is fast approaching the $20-mil mark. Will 'Bashir' also ride the news wave? It's too early to tell thus far; the movie has earned $10,000 per-screen averages in two weeks of very limited release, but the real indication will come when it begins to widen. With the war in the Middle East not likely to go away anytime soon, its performance will be an almost test tube experiment for how a conflict playing out on the small-screen news affects a big screen take." HOLLYWOOD REPORTER


Sasha Stone of does her usual superb job analyzing the upcoming WGA nominations for the best scripts of the year. And she offers her own predictions: "This year, the screenplay races feel very wide open. Here are the best bets, as far as I can tell. Original - 'Milk,' 'Happy-Go-Lucky,' 'Rachel Getting Married,' 'Synecdoche,' 'The Wrestler,' 'Gran Torino' or 'In Bruges' ('Wall-E' will be here for the Oscars). And Adapted - 'Frost/Nixon,' 'Benjamin Button,' 'Slumdog Millionaire,' 'The Dark Knight' (maybe?), 'Revolutionary Road' (a hunch)." As she readily admits, "These are fairly lackluster predictions but I'm struggling to think of any better ones." AWARDS DAILY

T.L. Stanley of the Hollywood Reporter weighs in on the PGA nominations: "We don't care so much that the producers have left off "Gran Torino," "The Wrestler" or -- egads! -- "The Reader." But we think locking out "Doubt" is a mistake that Oscar will not make. Lots of "Frost/Nixon" fans out there, and it's obviously a quality product. But better than "Doubt"? Naw. It's digging-in-our-heels time, and "Doubt" stays. (Not so incidentally, the PGA has a more-than-decent track record for shoring up the academy contenders -- they choose correctly more than three-quarters of the time)." GOLD RUSH

• On Feb. 2, the Daytime Emmy pre-nom process begins as soap actors start choosing two peers from their shows to run in each performance category. There are slight changes in some rules and categories. This website has the scoop — WELOVESOAPS

Photos: Rhino Records, WGA

Will the DGA deal save the Oscars?

January 17, 2008 |  5:57 pm

Now that an agreement has been struck so quickly between DGA and Hollywood producers (click here for details), it makes you wonder: Was Oscarcast producer Gil Cates — who is a chief negotiator for DGA — counting on this all along to save his awards show?

He seemed very confident the other day when assuring reporters that the Oscarcast would go on, rain or shine, heck or high Dgapqwater, on Feb. 24. He hinted that the academy had a Secret Plan in the works for an alternative telecast, but refused to reveal details. Frankly, I think he was bluffing. I think his secret plan is the same as Nixon's to end the Vietnam war, which he dangled, brilliantly, on the eve of the U.S. presidential elections in 1972. In other words: it's a shrewd stall tactic till the crunch period ends. What could Cates' secret Plan C possibly be? A taped clip-show alternative didn't work for the People's Choice Awards. The Golden Globes' televised press conference was slammed. And what happens if the WGA strike doesn't get settled and he suddenly has show us the alleged TV trick up his sleeve?

But Cates sure seemed supremely confident the other day when chatting with reporters, then — wham, bam — a DGA/ producers' deal was struck a day or so later. Clearly, that those things are linked.


Now some observers are saying that "pattern bargaining" may apply to the writers, who may have just been waiting for the helmers to come up with a template that may apply to them. The directors agreed to twice the compensation they previously got for TV shows downloaded on the internet "and raised the rate for movie downloads by 80 percent," reports "What's more, directors will be compensated for advertising-supported streaming of shows for the first time."

Would that be sufficient for writers? They currently get .3 percent (yes, point-three percent; there's a decimal point in front of that number) of DVD sales and are asking for 2.5 percent of those sales plus web and mobile-device revenues in the future.


Continue reading »

Has WGA — oops — tattled on its award winners?

January 10, 2008 |  2:04 pm

Hmmm. It looks like the Writers Guild of America may have accidentally revealed its award winnersWga1 when announcing its nominees. Below, check out our screen shot of what is currently at the guild's website (and CLICK HERE to see the original page, if still posted).

Notice that there's no apparent order to the lists — they're not arranged alphabetical by author's last name or film title.

Instead, the films that most pundits believe are frontrunners — "Juno" and "No Country for Old Men" — are perched on top, suggesting that this order may reflect the ranking of how many votes they got. Rumor has it has last year the guild inadvertently spilled beans this same way, but rearranged the lists alphabetically as soon as the goof was pointed out.


PODCAST: Globe nominee Hampton on adapting 'Atonement' to film

December 25, 2007 |  9:50 pm

Oscar champ Christopher Hampton ("Dangerous Liaisons") adapted the popular British novel "Atonement" to the screen "with great difficulty and with many, many tries over a long period of time with help from (book author) Ian McEwan and with director Joe Wright who knew exactly what he wanted, which is always a huge help for a writer."


That's what he told me back in September at the Toronto Film Festival where "Atonement" debuted to rapturous response from journos and film-industry chiefs. Listen to our podcast chat — CLICK HERE to Download the MP3 File. (Note: You may need to hold down your computer's control key while clicking.)

When he tackled the writing task at first, many other Hollywood scribes considered the book unadaptable, so when I asked Hampton how many revisions he toiled at, he said at first, "Maybe 17 drafts," then added that six were probably "proper."

By comparison, "Dangerous Liaisons" was "a three-week job," he added, somewhat jokingly, but, in that case, he'd already written the Broadway play "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" (which he'd adapted from the book by Choderlos de Laclos), so he was intimately familiar with the source material and its dramatic subtleties. Of "Atonement," he said, "I'd written a draft before I met (Joe Wright) and I'd done certain things. I had the authorial voice over all the way through, which is kind of an obvious way of dealing with complex problems. Joe said, 'Let's try and do it without voiceover. Let's try and do it without explaining everything.'"


Continue reading »

Will 'Juno' be shut out of DGA and Oscars' best-pic races?

October 22, 2007 |  8:10 pm

"Juno" and "Diving Bell and the Butterfly" are two small pix with big, legit hopes to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars. But one of them may be sabotaging its chances.

That top category always has a few small artsy pix. Sometimes they're highbrow biopics like "Capote," "The Queen" or "Good Night, and Good Luck." Or low-budget fare with a political theme like "Babel." Sometimes they can just be a feel-good romp like "Sideways," "Chocolat" or "The Full Monty." Or they can even be in a foreign language like "Letters From Iwo Jima" or "Il Postino," if the movie's message is urgent enough.


What's key in all of those cases is that the films must have a strong rooting contingent behind them. When voting for nominations, Oscar voters rank their choices 1 (best) to 5 in the best picture race, but, the way that the accounting system works, only number 1 votes count. Two movies that have such passionate support include "Juno" (this year's "Little Miss Sunshine," everyone says and they're right) and "Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (this year's "The Sea Inside," a pic about a paraplegic that won best foreign film in 2004).

Originally, "Diving Bell" made the mistake, like another indie pic with high Oscar hopes, "The Savages," of planning to open in mid-December just like most top contenders used to, back before the Oscar ceremony moved up from March and April to February in 2004 and everything else had to move up with it on the calendar. Nowadays the big prestige flicks like "Charlie Wilson's War" and "Sweeney Todd" can stay there because everybody's going to see them, but that can be a dead zone for the lil indies. Studio chiefs caught the mistake in time and moved up the releases of "Diving Bell" and "Savages" to late November. Not perfect perhaps, but certainly an improvement.

Let's recall that movies that won 7 of the top 8 Oscars last year (picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actor and both screenplay prizes) were already released to theaters at this time of year — yes, mid-October: "The Departed," "The Queen," "Last King of Scotland," "Little Miss Sunshine." Only "Dreamgirls" (supporting actress, Jennifer Hudson) was still on the shelf.

Voting for the guild awards — directors, writers, producers, actors, etc. — begins in early December. How many voters will catch up with "Juno" in mid-December when it's only in limited release, not yet rolled out to cities like San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C., where thousands of DGA's 13,000 members live? Remember, DGA members are not permitted to receive DVD screeners and the vast majority of voters work in TV, not feature films, and gads of them do not reside in L.A. or New York. Sure, there are screenings of "Juno" going on in those cities, but how frequently? And how many members, let's be honest, will make it a priority to attend little-known "Juno" before they see some of the sexier, big pix?

What's the big deal, you ask? "Juno" has no shot to be nommed for best director, you think? Oh, yeah? The nobodies (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris) who helmed the movie that "Juno" is most frequently compared to — "Little Miss Sunshine" — reaped DGA noms last year, which immediately bolstered its Oscar potential. They got bypassed by Oscar voters in the directors' race, yes, but their film made the high five for best picture.

"Juno" is directed by quite a somebody, Jason Reitman, whose "Thank You for Smoking" recently won best directorial debut from the National Board of Review, best screenplay from the Indie Spirits and was nommed by the Writers Guild of America. (Reitman also wrote the script.)

Continue reading »

'Departed' and 'Sunshine' win WGA laurels

February 11, 2007 |  8:15 pm

This news sure pushes "The Departed" and "Little Miss Sunshine" closer to a best-pic smackdown at the Oscars! And I don't think that Borat guy is laughing much tonight. To see the full list of winners of prizes bestowed tonight by the Writers Guild of America — CLICK HERE!

I'm toooooo zonked tonight to write more about these wins. Let's pick this up tomorrow, kids.

My WGA predix: 'Sunshine' and 'Borat'

February 11, 2007 | 12:17 pm


When predicting who'll win the awards bestowed by the Writers Guild of America, the first rule is: eliminate films that aren't nominated at the Oscars. So that means you can, literally, write off "United 93" and "Stranger Than Fiction" from this lineup for original works:

"Babel," Guillermo Arriaga
"Little Miss Sunshine," Michael Arndt
"The Queen," Peter Morgan
"Stranger Than Fiction," Zach Helm
"United 93," Paul Greengrass

"Babel" has a serious chance, but its prospects are hurt a bit by the fact that much of its dialog is in Spanish. Therefore, "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Queen" have the best shots. "The Queen" has claimed the most leading precursor awards, including those bestowed by the New York and L.A. Film critics, plus the Golden Globes. Tonight it'll probably win BAFTA, too. "Sunshine" has won some second-tier critics' awards, but it's also bursting with bright, big-hearted charm. I think "Sunshine" has the edge. That's a shame, actually. Not only is "Queen" a better script, but its creator Peter Morgan is the Writer of the Year, also having penned "The Last King of Scotland."

Over the past 10 years, 5 WGA-winning scripts went on to win the equivalent prize for original works at the Oscars: "Fargo," "Shakespeare in Love," "American Beauty," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Crash."

In the separate race for adapted screenplays, these are the contenders:

"Borat," Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer. Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines and Todd Phillips. Based on a character created by Sacha Baron Cohen
"The Departed," William Monahan. Based on the motion picture "Infernal Affairs" by Alan Mak and Felix Chong
"The Devil Wears Prada," Aline Brosh McKenna. Based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger
"Little Children," Todd Field,Tom Perrotta. Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta
"Thank You for Smoking," Jason Reitman. Based on the novel by Christopher Buckley

Two entries are not up for the equivalent Oscar: "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Thank You for Smoking." So let's concentrate on the other three. Of those, "Little Children" is the best script, so that probably dooms it in tasteless Hollywood. This is a race between "The Departed" and "Borat." When calculating odds, "Departed" probably has the advantage because it's a frontrunner to win the Oscar for best picture. But I think "Borat" will prevail for two reasons. The writers voting on this award are subversive/ rebel/ anarchist types by nature — just like author Sacha Baron Cohen. They will want to embrace one of their devilish own. Also, let's be honest: Sacha will be hilarious at the podium when giving thanks — just like he was at the Globes. Every voter wants to see that.

Over the past 10 years, this category has agreed with the Oscar outcome 6 times: "Sling Blade," "L.A. Confidential," "Traffic," "A Beautiful Mind," "Sideways," "Brokeback Mountain."

'Brokeback' and 'Crash' win scribe awards; Are Oscars next?

February 5, 2006 | 10:55 am

WGA Awards

The Writers Guild Awards went according to script, with victories for "Crash" (best original screenplay) and "Brokeback Mountain" (best adapted) on Saturday night, thus firming up what we already knew: They're the front-runners in the Academy Award race for best picture and the likely winners of the two screenplay Oscars.

Last year the two sets of kudos lined up, but neither of the champs bagged best picture — "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (original) and "Sideways" (adapted) — but that's unusual. The best pic champ usually claims a screenplay Oscar about two-thirds of the time. Only in the past 21 years have the Oscars and WGA had similar, mirror categories. Since then, 25 guild champs snagged one of 42 screenplay Oscars. That's roughly 60%.

'Crash' hits WGA and PGA noms at 100 m.p.h.

January 4, 2006 |  2:56 pm


Since no film has won the Oscar for best picture after being snubbed by the Producers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America, today's nominations by those groups reveal that the winner of the next top Academy Award will be "Brokeback Mountain," "Crash," "Capote" or "Good Night, and Good Luck" — the only films appearing on both new lists.

The guild nominations hit Hollywood like a head-on collision. Wiped out were four films that began this year's gold derby as front-runners: "King Kong," "Match Point," "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Munich."

What's happened since then is truly strange since two of those films had received rave reviews and were directed by showbiz gods: Peter Jackson ("King Kong") and Woody Allen ("Match Point"). Some reviewers were disappointed in "Munich," sure, but it got thumbs-up from Roger Ebert, the Hollywood Reporter and other major media.

What happened? In the case of "Match Point," it's possible that Hollywood couldn't forgive Woody for going to the U.K. to make his big comeback film. Or perhaps they just won't forgive his personal scandals.

In the cases of "Munich" and "King Kong," timing may be to blame. The filmmakers delivered their movies so late in the year that DVD screeners couldn't be shipped to voters till the end of December and some groups, like PGA and BAFTA, didn't get them at all.

Obviously, Hollywood — the world capital of storytelling — had forgotten that classic tale of a hare demonstrating too much hubris in a race: he lost to a tortoise. That's "Crash." The durable film turtle never ceased to plod forward since its release last May, crashing through all obstacles that usually halt award contenders released that early in a calendar year.

Photo: A little $6.5 million indie had big impact on Hollywood today.

Continue reading »



In Case You Missed It...

Stay Connected:

About the Blogger

Pop & Hiss



In Case You Missed It...