Writers Guild Names Contenders for 2002 Screenplay Awards; Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" Is First Doc to be Nominated

by Brian Brooks

"Bowling for Columbine" director/writer Michael Moore who's film has received a nomination for outstanding achievement, Original Screenplay by the Writers Guild of America.

Courtesy of United Artists

The Writers Guild of America, East and West announced their 2002 nominations for outstanding achievement in screen as well as television and radio yesterday. There were 201 films that qualified for nomination in the categories of original screenplay and adapted screenplay.

The five nominees in each category have received critical accolades during the year. Michael Moore's hit documentary on the proliferation of America's gun violence, "Bowling for Columbine," received a nomination for best original screenplay, marking the first documentary to have been nominated by the WGA.

Also nominated in the same category is writer-director Todd Haynes' widely heralded Sirk-inspired "Far From Heaven," (Focus Features); Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" (Miramax), written by Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, and Kenneth Lonergan (story by Jay Cocks); and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" written by scribe and star Nia Vardalos. Rounding out the five original screenplay nominations is Antwone Fisher for the Denzel Washington-directed film based on his life, "Antwone Fisher."

Universal Pictures' "About a Boy," with a screenplay by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz, and Paul Weitz, based on the novel by Nick Hornby, received a nomination for outstanding achievement for adapted screenplay. Other nominees in the adapted category are Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for "About Schmidt," based on the novel by Louis Begley. "Adaptation," based on the Susan Orlean novel, "The Orchid Thief" is also among the five nominations in the category. The WGA listed Charlie Kaufman as well as Donald Kaufman for screenplay credits, although it has never been substantiated that Donald Kaufman is an actual person. There has been speculation Donald Kaufman is a penname for someone, but neither director Spike Jonze nor Charlie Kaufman has publicly commented on the subject.

Also named is Bill Condon's screenplay adaptation on the musical play "Chicago" (book by Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb, play by Maurine Dallas Watkins). Finally, "The Hours" based on the novel by Michael Cunningham received a nom for screenplay writer David Hare.

Eligible films for the 2003 Writers Guild Awards were released in 2002 under the jurisdiction of the Writers Guild of America, East and West and affiliate guilds in Australia, French and English-speaking Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and New Zealand.