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.”
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
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
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.