The trick with parsing the Writers Guild nominees is to remember which of the ones in contention for the Oscar are not WGA eligible: that includes Brit productions "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and Working Title's "Les Miserables" and "Anna Karenina," Weinstein Co.'s "Django Unchained" (Quentin Tarantino has never joined the guild), foreign imports "Amour," "Rust and Bone," and "The Impossible," and Fox Searchlight's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" among others. Animated players are usually not guild signatories. Oscar nominations are due today, so the majority of ballots have already been submitted; the announcement comes January 10. (Full WGA nominations list below.)
The WGA did nominate original screenplays "The Master," by Paul Thomas Anderson, "Looper," by Rian Johnson, "Flight," by John Gatins, "Moonrise Kingdom," Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola and "Zero Dark Thirty," by Mark Boal, as well as adapted screenplays "Argo," by Chris Terrio, "Life of Pi," by David Magee, "Lincoln," by Tony Kushner, "Silver Linings Playbook," by David O. Russell and "Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Steven Chbosky.
Of the originals non-eligible "Amour" or "Django Unchained" could take the place of "Looper" or Flight." Of the adapted screenplays, "Les Miserables" could replace "Perks of Being a Wallflower."
The WGA voters chose from 112 eligible screenplays — 44 in the adapted and 68 in the original category. Some 12,000 guild members will vote on these nominations; the WGA will reveal winners February 17 in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.
The Golden Globe screenplay nods were: "Argo," "Django Unchained," "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty."
As the writers branch represents about 7% of Academy voters, WGA wins often do reflect Oscar strength as they match up most of the time. WGA winner Woody Allen went on to win the Oscar last year for original script "Midnight in Paris," and adapted WGA winners Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash also wonthe Oscar for "The Descendants."
Weinstein Co.'s "The Artist" and "The King's Speech" both managed to make it to the Best Picture Oscar without the benefit of a WGA nomination. Thus TWC doesn't care about getting the extra spotlight for such films as "Quartet" and French Oscar entry "The Intouchables."
Of the six docs nominated, three were not shortlisted for the Oscar, "We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists," "West of Memphis" and "Central Park Five." The others are considered frontrunners for an Oscar nom: Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War," Alex Gibney's "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God," and Malik Bendejelloul's "Searching for Sugar Man."
Flight, Written by John Gatins; Paramount Pictures
Looper, Written by Rian Johnson; TriStar Pictures
The Master, Written by Paul Thomas Anderson; The Weinstein Company
Moonrise Kingdom, Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola; Focus Features
Zero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark Boal; Columbia Pictures
Argo, Screenplay by Chris Terrio; Based on a selection from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and the Wired Magazine article “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman; Warner Bros. Pictures
Life of Pi, Screenplay by David Magee; Based on the novel by Yann Martel; 20th Century Fox
Lincoln, Screenplay by Tony Kushner; Based in part on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin; DreamWorks Pictures
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Screenplay by Stephen Chbosky; Based on his book; Summit Entertainment
Silver Linings Playbook, Screenplay by David O. Russell; Based on the novel by Matthew Quick; The Weinstein Company
The Central Park Five, Written by Sarah Burns and David McMahon and Ken Burns; Sundance Selects
The Invisible War, Written by Kirby Dick; Cinedigm Entertainment Group
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, Written by Alex Gibney; HBO Documentary Films
Searching for Sugar Man, Written by Malik Bendejelloul; Sony Pictures Classics
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Written by Brian Knappenberger; Cinetic Media
West of Memphis, Written by Amy Berg & Billy McMillin; Sony Pictures Classics