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Oscar Watch: WGA Eligibility Issues Dog An Education, Weinstein Films

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 6, 2010 at 9:51AM

It's good to get an Oscar boost from the various guilds, but eligibility requirements often make that attention and credibility lift impossible.
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Thompson on Hollywood

It's good to get an Oscar boost from the various guilds, but eligibility requirements often make that attention and credibility lift impossible.

To whit: An Education, which wasn't eligible for the WGA award because Brit author Nick Hornby, who is a 10-year-member of the WGA, wasn't a member of the British local where An Education was filmed. The rule was imposed after the film was shot, according to a spokesperson for Sony Pictures Classics. UPDATE: A high-ranking WGA exec tells me that the guild tries to accommodate high-profile movies (like eventual Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola's In Translation) and it's usually a question of making things right financially. A non-union movie would have to pay up retroactively, in effect. With a high-profile writer like Hornby, the Oscar nomination will go through, in all likelihood, without a WGA boost.

Steve Pond explains why three Weinstein Co. films including likely Oscar nominee Inglourious Basterds were not eligible for WGA awards as well.

UPDATE: And Kris Tapley reports that District 9 and In the Loop are also ineligible.

Also missing from the WGA eligible films list is Me and Orson Welles, because the writers weren't WGA members. And animated films are never eligible, so don't be surprised when Up doesn't turn up. It's a question of belonging to another union.

The ballots are due by noon this Friday. The noms will be announced Monday, January 11, around noon.

This article is related to: Awards, Independents, Studios, Stuck In Love, Oscars, Weinsteins, Sony/Screen Gems/Sony Pictures Classics, Screenwriters


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.