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Category: Writers Guild of America

Writers Guild unveils awards calendar

July 27, 2010 | 10:22 am


Long-form, episodic, animation and children's script categories: First broadcast between Dec. 1, 2009, and Nov. 30, 2010

All other script categories: First broadcast between Oct 1, 2009, and Sept 30, 2010


Theatrically exhibited in Los Angeles for at least one week during 2010


Friday, Oct. 15: TV-Radio and Paul Selvin Award scripts

Friday, Oct. 15: Online submissions for drama/comedy/new TV series

Tuesday, Oct. 26: Preliminary drama/comedy/new TV series online voting begins


Friday, Nov. 19: Theatrical screenplays

Tuesday, Nov. 23: Documentary screenplay and video-game writing submissions

Tuesday, Nov. 30: Preliminary drama/comedy/new TV series online voting

Continue reading »

'The Hurt Locker' and 'Up in the Air' win Writers Guild of America Awards

February 20, 2010 |  7:44 pm
Hurt Locker up in the air WGA Writers Guild of America Awards

The Writers Guild of America Awards went, well, according to script with victories by "Up in the Air" (best adapted screenplay) and "The Hurt Locker" (best original screenplay).

Both films are leading contenders for the Oscars too, but "Hurt Locker" faces formidable foes disqualified from guild competition: "Inglourious Basterds" and "Up."

Disqualified by the WGA from the adapted race were these three Oscar nominees that will compete against "Up in the Air": "An Education," "District 9" and "In the Loop."

In the WGA contest, "Hurt Locker" beat "(500) Days of Summer," "A Serious Man," "Avatar" and "The Hangover." "Up in the Air" soared above "Crazy Heart," "Julie & Julia," "Precious" and "Star Trek."

"The Hurt Locker" by Mark Boal

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

"The Cove" by Mark Monroe

Photos: "The Hurt Locker" (Summit), "Up in the Air" (Paramount)


Tom O'Neil's "fearless, peerless, 100% accurate Oscar predictions"

Oscar predictions: best animated and live-action shorts

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars nixed 'Bruno' for host | Dave Karger BAFTAs predix | WGA Awards preview

Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

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Gold Derby nuggets: Santa Barbara filmfest report | Mark Harris on 'Oscar campaign' | Emmys could be live nationwide

February 8, 2010 |  3:58 pm

Santa Barbara Film Festival LogoSteve Pond is aces at summing up the goings on so far at the 25th edition of the Santa Barbara filmfest. "Two dozen nominees, with 30 nominations between them, have either already shown up or will participating in the 10-day festival, which began last Thursday and runs through Feb. 10. So far, the festival has feted Best Actress nominees Sandra Bullock and Carey Mulligan; weathered scheduling snafus caused by California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger; unveiled the little-seen animated Irish film 'The Secret of Kells,' a surprise nominee for Best Animated Feature; celebrated the career of James Cameron; and then crowned Cameron’s Best Picture and Best Director competitor Kathryn Bigelow 'king and queen of the world' while she was sitting next to Cameron." THE ODDS

• Also from Santa Barbara, Jeff Wells writes, "I was reminded of three or four things during last night's  tribute to Sandra Bullock. One, she's whip-smart but uncomplicated -- she had a clean and concise answer for every question thrown her way, but she's not into soul-baring. Two, she worked long and hard to prove her way out of the romantic-comedy prison she felt trapped in about ten years ago. Three, she didn't want to portray her 'Blind Side' character (the real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy) because she felt she was an unrealistic construct -- but she changed her mind after meeting her." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

• "Fish Tank" landed the best picture prize at the Evening Standard British Film awards Monday night. Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education") lost the best actress prize to Anne Marie Duff for the John Lennon biopic "Nowhere Boy" while Andy Serkis won best actor for "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll." The Oscar-nominated screenplay for political satire "In the Loop" won on its home turf while Sacha Baron Cohen won the Peter Sellers Award for comedy for his alter-ego, the Austrian fashion reporter Bruno. Baron Cohen won the same award in 2006 for Borat. BBC

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air UpMark Harris delivers a must-read analysis of the current awards season. As he writes, "There is a reason why they call the run-up period to the Academy Awards the 'Oscar campaign.' It is, to use a familiar analogy, like an election, with an electorate of 5,777 people (the size of McKenzie County, North Dakota), unwilling to be influenced by anything but their own opinions, yet still, perhaps, more swayable than they’d like to admit. There is no war room, per se, but there are early front-runners that fade, grassroots insurgencies, even primaries. Ultimately, most of the nominees emerge from a combination of good planning, good movies, and good luck." NEW YORK

• Oscarcast co-host Alec Baldwin confesses to Jay Bobbin that he is "nervous" about the gig. As for his day job on "30 Rock," Baldwin says series creator, producer and star Tina Fey has his fate in her hands. "It's Tina's house, so to speak," Baldwin says, "and she has so many other options as a writer. I mean, Tina's going to go off and become Nora Ephron or Elaine May. She'll write films and probably direct films. She is so poised to go off and replicate the success of this show in so many other areas. Her book is coming out; she's very fertile in that way. There's so many things she can do." ZAP 2 IT

Brian Moylan makes merry with the five nominees for best animated feature at the Oscars. As he writes, "The Oscars are on a campaign to ruin the psyche's of America's children. How? By nominating seriously scary movies for the Gee Willickers Awesome Cartoon Trophy. Beware what you're doing to your kids by taking them to see these. Before you rush out and get all the nominees on DVD thinking that you're giving your kids an artistic experience, just stop yourself. Remember, many of us had traumatic childhood experiences by watching movies that were way too creepy and adult for us at too young an age." Brian then recounts the plot of each of the pictures as well as the psychological symptoms and cures before recommending a fictional psychiatrist. GAWKER

• The East Coast branch of the WGA will fete Alan Zweibel with the Ian McLellan Hunter lifetime achievement prize during the 62nd annual awardsfest on Feb. 20 in Gotham. As per the announcement: "One of 'Saturday Night Live's original writers, Alan Zweibel has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild, and TV Critics awards for his work in television, which also includes 'It’s Garry Shandling’s Show' (co-creator and executive producer), 'Monk,' and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'" WGAE

Paul Gaita points the way to an op-ed penned by James Cameron about NASA that ran recently in the Washington Post. As Paul notes, " Cameron, who served on the agency's Advisory Council from 2003 to 2005 (did you know?), outlines the financial problems that faced the U.S. space program but ends on a positive note by stating that President Obama's current budget for NASA will allow for private industry to fund space exploration -- which might lead not only to jet packs for everyone (like on the Jetsons!), but also the chance for directors with serious financial clout (like Mr. Cameron) to shoot their future projects in outer space. It's not that far-fetched an idea, and I mean, if you're gonna top 'Avatar,' that's your only likely venue." THE CIRCUIT

Emmysintl11James Hibberd reports that, "after airing the Golden Globes live coast-to-coast for the first time last month, NBC is considering doing the same for the Emmys. The network is discussing with affiliates a plan to air the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards live on Sunday Aug. 29. Tape-delaying certain entertainment programs for the West Coast has been a longtime practice, but with fans increasingly getting their entertainment news on the Internet, Web-savvy Emmy viewers have to go out of the their way to keep from being spoiled during the telecast. (The Oscars are traditionally telecast live)." THR

• Attention all would-be Joe Gillis types: The academy is now accepting applications for the $30,000 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Five of these fellowships will be awarded in November to individuals who have never earned more than $5,000 from the sale or option of a screenplay or teleplay. The entire application process, including the submission of entry scripts, will be online and all details are available at

Anne Thompson and Jack Mathews debate the question of whether Quentin Tarantino has achieved auteur status. As Anne notes, the director told a London audience that with "Inglourious Basterds," "he has established a body of work that can be analyzed as a whole and as a product of his unique vision. Recalling his experiences watching the films of Howard Hawks, he said: 'My aim is that some kid in 50 years time has the same experience with me and my films.'" Mathews and Thompson disagree about "whether QT’s films actually form a body of work or remain a work in progress." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

Top photo: Santa Barbara International Film Festival logo. Credit: SBIFF

Middle photo: Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo: Emmy Award. Credit: ATAS

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Can 'Up in the Air' turn USC Scripter into a win at Oscars?

February 7, 2010 |  8:29 am

Up in the Air poster "Up in the Air" won the USC Scripter Award on Saturday, competing against three of its competitors at the Oscars -- "District 9," "An Education" and "Precious" -- as well as "Crazy Heart." The fifth Oscar nominee is the adapted script for "In the Loop."

As this award, now in its 22nd year, precludes stage-to-screen adaptations and foreign-language films, it is not surprising that the winner of the Scripter has gone on to take the Oscar just six times. But two of those instances came recently:  last year, with "Slumdog Millionaire," and the year before, with "No Country for Old Men." The other repeat winners were "A Beautiful Mind" (2001), "L.A. Confidential" (1997), "Sense and Sensibility" (1995) and "Schindler's List" (1993).

Historically, the WGA Awards lineup has been a far better harbinger of both the Oscar nominees and the eventual winner, with the WGA champ taking the Oscar six times in the last decade, including each of the last five years.  This year, however, several of the leading adapted-screenplay contenders were ruled ineligible by the WGA, including the Oscar-nominated "District 9," "An Education" and "In the Loop."

The Scripter, administered by USC, honors "the written word, creative collaboration and the profound results of transforming one artistic medium into another." The award is shared by the original author and adapter -- in the case of "Up in the Air," Walter Kim, who wrote the source material (the novel of the same name) as well as Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman, who handled the adaptation.

The nominating committee considered 68 films to determine the final five nominees. It is chaired by Oscar-nominated writer Naomi Foner ("Running on Empty") and included three-time Oscar-nominated scribe Lawrence Kasdan ("The Big Chill," "The Accidental Tourist" and "Grand Canyon") and Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner ("Angels in America").

Compare the nominees of both awards over the last five years (with "X" denoting the winner):

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Iron Man"
"The Reader"
"Revolutionary Road"
X  — "Slumdog Millionaire"

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
X  — "Slumdog Millionaire"

"Into the Wild"
X — "No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

"Away From Her"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
X — "No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Continue reading »

Oscars guided by guild awards in nominations

February 2, 2010 | 10:01 am

Oscars New Members movie news 1357986 This year, 19 of the 20 SAG acting nominees are contending at the Academy Awards. The only one not to make the cut was SAG supporting actress contender Diane Kruger ("Inglourious Basterds"), who was replaced on the Oscars ballot by Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Crazy Heart").

Last year, 18 of the 19 SAG acting nominees repeated at the Academy Awards. As double SAG nominee Kate Winslet was bumped up by the Oscars from supporting to lead for "The Reader," she was denied a lead nod for "Revolutionary Road." However, that film's Michael Shannon managed to knock SAG nominee Dev Patel of "Slumdog Millionaire" out of the supporting race.

Two years ago, 15 of the 20 SAG nominees went on to compete at the Oscars. Three years ago, it was also 19 of the 20 with the one variation coming from the same film -- "The Departed" -- as SAG nominee Leonardo DiCaprio was replaced at Oscar time by Mark Wahlberg.

Four of the five SAG-nominated ensembles appear in Oscar-nominated best pictures with only "Nine" not making it into the top 10. Last year, four of the five SAG-nominated ensembles also did so, with SAG contender "Doubt" replaced by "The Reader." "Slumdog Millionaire" won both awards. Two years ago, only one SAG ensemble nominee -- "No Country for Old Men" -- made it into the best picture race, although that film won both prizes as well. Three years ago, it was three of five, with "Little Miss Sunshine" taking the SAG prize but losing the top Oscar to "The Departed."

Last year, all five of the lead actress nominees also competed for both awards. Two years ago, it was four of five as the only SAG nominee not needing a babysitter come Oscar night was Angelina Jolie ("A Mighty Heart"), whose spot went to "The Savages" star Laura Linney.

As with this year, last year's supporting actress race matched up only four to five as the promotion of Winslet for "The Reader" left room at the Oscars for the addition of Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler"). Two years ago, this race was also four for five with SAG nominee Catherine Keener ("Into the Wild") replaced by Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement").

Last year, lead actor also matched up perfectly. Two years ago, it went three for five with the SAG nominees as relative newcomers Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild") and Ryan Gosling ("Lars and the Real Girl") were replaced at the Oscars by Hollywood vets Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd") and Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah").

Last year's supporting actor race was four for five with Shannon replacing Patel. Two years ago, SAG nominee Tommy Lee Jones ("No Country for Old Men") was replaced by Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Charlie Wilson's War").

This year, the DGA lineup is repeated at the Oscars. Last year's DGA picks for best director matched up with four of the five academy choices as DGA nominee Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight") was edged out at the Oscars by Stephen Daldry ("The Reader"). Two years ago, DGA nominee Sean Penn ("Into the Wild") lost his Oscar slot to Jason Reitman, who helmed best pic nominee "Juno."

Of this year's 10 PGA nominees for best picture, eight of them earned Oscar nods. The exceptions: One box office champ -- "Star Trek" -- was replaced by another -- "The Blind Side" -- and one set of Oscar favorites -- Clint Eastwood and "Invictus" -- was replaced by another -- the Coen brothers and "A Serious Man."

Last year, the PGA went four for five with the Oscar contenders as "The Dark Knight" was bumped by "The Reader." Two years ago, it was also four for five with PGA nominee "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" replaced by "Atonement."

This year, only two of the five WGA nominees for original screenplay -- "The Hurt Locker" and "A Serious Man" -- are contending at the Oscars. Last year, just one of the five WGA nominees for original screenplay made it into the Oscar race -- eventual winner Dustin Lance Black ("Milk"). Two years ago, the WGA picks lined up with the Oscar nominees except for "Knocked Up," which was knocked out of the competition by the team that whipped up "Ratatouille."

The adapted screenplay Oscar race only includes two of the WGA nominees as well -- "Precious" and "Up in the Air." Last year, the Oscars went four for five with only the WGA nominees for "The Dark Knight" bumped by David Hare, who adapted "The Reader." Two years ago, Sean Penn, who wowed the WGA with his adaptation of "Into the Wild," was snubbed at the Oscars as was the scripter for "Zodiac." They were replaced by "Atonement" adapter Christopher Hampton and first time writer-director Sarah Polley.

The Oscar nominees for best cinematography line up with the American Society of Cinematographers choices with the exception of "Nine" lenser Dion Beebe, who was replaced by "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" shooter Bruno Delbonnel. Last year, ASC nominee Roger Deakins ("Revolutionary Road") was replaced at the Oscars by Tom Stern for "Changeling." Two years ago, the ASC went five for five.

This year, the Oscar nominees for editing include just three of the American Cinema Editors' picks as the cutters for "Inglourious Basterds" and "Precious" replace those for "Star Trek" and "Up in the Air." Last year, the nominees lined up, and two years ago, ACE nominee "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" was replaced by "Michael Clayton."

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.



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