The Writers Guild of America
presented the winners Saturday of the 2015 Writers Guild Awards
for outstanding achievement in writing for film, television, new media, videogames, news, radio, promotional, and graphic animation categories at simultaneous ceremonies at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles and the Edison Ballroom in New York City.
As expected Wes Anderson
won Original Screenplay for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,”
which could take home three or four Oscars on Sunday, February 22; it won the BAFTA writing prize as well. Anderson was as charming as usual, giving a history of Century City hotels. “I can think of no greater neighborhood to accept this award in.”
(His presenter Lawrence Kasdan is all done with “Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” and is enjoying working on a standalone spin-off with his son Jake.)
In the Adapted Screenplay category, rookie Graham Moore won for “The Imitation Game,” which took the USC Scripter Award but lost to “The Theory of Everything” at the BAFTAs. (That WGA non-signatory film wasn’t eligible here.) In an upset, Best Documentary went to Participant Media’s “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz,” which is not Oscar nominated.
made a poised and hilarious host. The evening was balanced between sincerity and witty banter from film and TV actors and writers (“what Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal thought they were doing,” said Kudrow). “I don’t recognize any of you,” said Kudrow, pointing at a smiling Keira Knightley
impersonator sitting at “The Imitation Game” table –who looked a lot like Knightley. Kudrow joined the WGA thanks to her work on “The Comeback,” for which she wasn’t nominated, she reminded. “I guess I’m bitter. That means I’m a writer.” This was the ongoing theme of the night.
Another big wheel in the room was Ben Affleck
, who accepted the Valentine Davies humanitarian award (“They told me Matt Damon won it!”) for founding the Eastern Congo Initiative which is pushing economic and social development of such crops as cocoa and coffee in the Congo. Affleck gave a thoughtful, personal, heartfelt but winning speech –if admittedly a tad long– about the road leading to that move, which included his Liberal intellectual Boston parents who taught him about the holocaust, and his Middle Eastern studies in college. “We are not going to love all our neighbors but we can respect one other,” he said.
(“The Imitation Game” editing Oscar nominee William Goldenberg –who won for “Argo”– is finally prepping to edit Affleck’s next directing gig, “Live By Night.” If Affleck hadn’t gone off to play Batman, however, Goldenberg wouldn’t have been able to do “The Imitation Game.”)
Also on the side of the Angels was the winner of the Paul Selvin Award for the spirit of civil rights and liberties, Margaret Nagle, who pushed through setbacks to reclaim rights to “The Good Lie” in turnaround and get it made. The Lost Boys of Sudan movie was well-reviewed but under-marketed.
The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement went to “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes
. Presenter Scott Foley reminded that “Olivia Pope is the first African-American female lead on primetime since 1978. Shonda did that.” Rhimes said, “I’ve only been doing TV for 12 years. I’m not jaded.”
Winning two awards each: “Louie,”
for Comedy series and Episodic Comedy, while HBO’s “True Detective”
beat out Amazon’s “Transparent” for both New Series and Drama Series. Writer Nic Pizzolatto is halfway through filming season two, he said. “I hope you like it, it could be the end of me. So thanks.”
Robert and Michelle King won Drama Series for “The Good Wife,” thanking the writers who fought through every script in the writer’s room. Long-form adapted went to Jane Anderson for HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge,” directed by Lisa Cholodenko.
Screenwriter Howard Rodman gave a terrific intro to absent Spanish Jean Renoir Screenwriting Award winner Pedro Almodovar, who accepted via video.
Winner for animation was Brian Kelly for the Lego episode “Brick Like Me,” one of four “The Simpsons” nominees. The WGA presented Harold Ramis the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement posthumously. His wife and three kids accepted for him.
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness; Fox Searchlight
The Imitation Game, Written by Graham Moore; Based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges; The Weinstein Company
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, Written by Brian Knappenberger; FilmBuff
TELEVISION AND NEW MEDIA WINNERS
True Detective, Written by Nic Pizzolatto; HBO
Louie, Written by Pamela Adlon, Louis C.K.; FX
True Detective, Written by Nic Pizzolatto; HBO
“The Last Call” (The Good Wife), Written by Robert King & Michelle King; CBS
“So Did the Fat Lady” (Louie), Written by Louis C.K.; FX
LONG FORM ORIGINAL
Deliverance Creek, Written by Melissa Carter; Lifetime
LONG FORM ADAPTED
Olive Kitteridge, Teleplay by Jane Anderson, Based on the novel by Elizabeth Strout; HBO
SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA – ORIGINAL
“Episode 113: Rachel” (High Maintenance), Written by Katja Blichfeld & Ben Sinclair; helpingyoumaintain.com
“Brick Like Me” (The Simpsons), Written by Brian Kelley; Fox
COMEDY / VARIETY (INCLUDING TALK) – SERIES
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Writers: Kevin Avery, Tim Carvell, Dan Gurewitch, Geoff Haggerty, Jeff Maurer, John Oliver, Scott Sherman, Will Tracy, Jill Twiss, Juli Weiner; HBO
COMEDY / VARIETY – MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES – SPECIALS
71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, Written by Barry Adelman; Special Material by Alex Baze, Dave Boone, Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Jon Macks, Sam Means, Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Mike Shoemaker; NBC
QUIZ AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
Hollywood Game Night, Head Writer: Grant Taylor; Writers: Alex Chauvin, Ann Slichter; NBC
General Hospital, Written by Ron Carlivati, Anna Theresa Cascio, Suzanne Flynn, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Korte, Daniel James O’Connor, Elizabeth Page, Katherine Schock, Scott Sickles, Chris Van Etten; ABC
CHILDREN’S SCRIPT – EPISODIC & SPECIALS
“Haunted Heartthrob” (Haunted Hathaways), Written by Bob Smiley; Nickelodeon
DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT – CURRENT EVENTS
“United States of Secrets: The Program (Part One)” (Frontline); PBS; Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS
DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT – OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS
“League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS
TV NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“Nelson Mandela: A Man Who Changed the World” (World News with Diane Sawyer), Written by Dave Bloch, Lisa Ferri, Diane Sawyer; ABC News
TV NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Nowhere to Go” (60 Minutes), Written by Oriana Zill de Granados, Scott Pelley, Michael Rey; CBS
“Three Shots Rang Out: The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” Written by Darren Reynolds; ABC News Radio
RADIO NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“World News This Week,” Written by Andrew Evans; ABC News Radio
RADIO NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Civil Rights at 50,” Written by Jane Tillman Irving; WCBS Radio
PROMOTIONAL WRITING WINNER
ON-AIR PROMOTION (TELEVISION, NEW MEDIA OR RADIO)
“How I Met Your Mother,” Written by Dan Greenberger; CBS
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN VIDEOGAME WRITING
The Last of Us: Left Behind, Written by Neil Druckmann; Sony Computer Entertainment