Writers Guild Nominations Leave Out 'War Horse,' 'Tree of Life," Plus Many Ineligible Oscar Contenders

Awards
by Anne Thompson
January 5, 2012 1:17 PM
4 Comments
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The Descendants Fox Searchlight

On the Writers Guild ballot, voters could choose from 33 adapted screenplays and 55 originals. Getting a boost in the Oscar race from Writers Guild nominations in the adapted category are expected Oscar contenders "The Descendants," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "The Help," "Hugo," and "Moneyball." (Notable omissions include "The Adventures of Tintin," "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," ""The Ides of March" and "War Horse.") The nominees for originals leaned toward comedy: "50/50," "Bridesmaids," "Midnight in Paris," "Win Win" and "Young Adult." (Omitted are "Contagion," "J. Edgar," "Super 8" and "The Tree of Life.")

Steve Zaillian is a happy man today, as he was nominated twice, for "Dragon Tattoo" as well as "Moneyball," with Aaron Sorkin. And there is cause for concern that Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" was omitted. It's one thing for a Best Picture contender that is shot mostly outdoors not to get a nomination from the Art Directors Guild. But missing a writing nod--especially in a winnowed field--is an issue. Among the comedies, Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and raunchy R-rated comedy "Bridesmaids" continue to show strength in the awards race.

Fact is the WGA nominees announced Thursday do not include many projects that were ineligible because they are not signatories to the WGA. This is the usual deal, and it's unfortunate, because a range of low-budget indie and foreign-made films won't get the extra attention they deserve. (Last year's Oscar-winner for best picture and original screenplay, "The King's Speech," like many Weinstein Co. films, was not eligible either.) Thus each year the list of WGA nominees does not reflect the actual award field.  We should note that with the exception of "Tintin" most animated writers are not represented by the WGA.

Among those left out are original screenplays for "The Artist," "Beginners," "The Iron Lady," "The Lady," "Like Crazy," "Margin Call," "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "Melancholia," "Rango," "Shame" and "Take Shelter." And on the adapted side: "Albert Nobbs," "Carnage," "Drive," "Jane Eyre," "My Week with Marilyn," "Sarah's Key," "The Skin I Live In" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

50/50, Written by Will Reiser; Summit Entertainment

Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig; Universal Studios

Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics

Win Win, Screenplay by Tom McCarthy; Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni; Fox Searchlight

Young Adult, Written by Diablo Cody; Paramount Pictures

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming; Fox Searchlight

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian; Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, originally published by Norstedts; Columbia Pictures

The Help, Screenplay by Tate Taylor; Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett; DreamWorks Pictures

Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan; Based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; Paramount Pictures

Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin; Based on the book by Michael Lewis; Columbia Pictures

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

Better This World, Written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega; Loteria Films

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Written by Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek; Oscilloscope Pictures

Nostalgia for the Light, Written by Patricio Guzmán; Icarus Films

Pina, Screenplay by Wim Wenders; Sundance Selects

Position Among the Stars, Script by Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich, Leonard Retel Helmrich; HBO Films

Senna, Written by Manish Pandey; Producers Distribution Agency

The 2012 WGA West awards show, yet again executive produced by Spike Jones, Jr., will be held on February 19,  at the Hollywood Palladium. Guy Nicolucci ("Late Night with Conan O’Brien") also returns as head writer of the WGAW’s West Coast awards show. The WGA EAst awards show will be held simultaneously at B.B. King Blues Club in New York City.

Awards
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4 Comments

  • Abbi | January 6, 2012 2:49 AMReply

    Glad to see 50/50 and Young Adult kickin' butt! I'm predicting they will both get in at the Oscars alongside The Artist, Bridesmaids, and Midnight in Paris. If one falls out maybe it's 50/50 in place of Win Win but hopefully YA stays put... Cody should be recognized for one of the sharpest and most challenging screenplays of the year.

  • ST | January 6, 2012 12:32 AMReply

    The Writers Guild is a union. It concerns itself with health care and pensions for writers; works to make sure residuals across the globe are tracked and paid to the people who earned them; guarantees that hard-earned screen credits are arrived at fairly rather than awarded at the whim of executives; and undertakes grueling negotiations to establish minimum compensation. The above article takes the Guild to task for not considering non-Guild projects, which is puzzling: Why would a group, dedicated to protecting screenwriters, honor films which failed to provide these basics working conditions to the men and women who penned them?

  • Amy D. | January 5, 2012 1:53 PMReply

    "Margin Call" script was terrific - smart, propulsive, topical and timely - wish it had been recognized.

  • ska-triumph | January 5, 2012 3:31 PM

    With all due respect, did you mean the ACTUAL script or the one that could be "extracted" from the film? On paper, the story, plot and (especially) the dialogue didn't have the specificity or kick of a Tarantino, Allen or Sorkin. It felt to me quite boring, flat and general. (I won't argue your timely or topical point.) The cast really brought out any strength that story had, in my opinion.

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