The Writers Guild of America has released the ballots for their film categories for their annual WGA Awards, and while it is always notable what scripts are deemed ineligible due to the guild’s more restrictive qualifications, this year has a wide variety of significant cuts.
Looking at the Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay categories in particular, the WGA requires that a film be written under the WGA Minimum Basic Agreement, or under a similar collective bargaining agreement with a WGA-approved organization for international titles. Consequently, many independent, international, and animated features are left out of contention including already decorated scripts like Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin,” an NYFCC Best Screenplay winner, and Charlotte Wells’ “Aftersun,” the Best Screenplay winner at this year’s British Independent Film Awards.
More Original Screenplay contenders making noise this awards season that will not be a part of the WGA Awards are Ruben Ôstlund’s “Triangle of Sadness,” Sam Mendes’ “Empire of Light,” S.S. Rajamouli’s “RRR,” and Elegance Bratton’s “The Inspection.”
With Best Adapted Screenplay, the notable absences from the WGA Awards race will be Samuel D. Hunter’s script for “The Whale,” Kazuo Ishiguro’s script for “Living,” Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell’s script for “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Guillermo del Toro, Gris Grimly, Patrick Hale, and Matthew Robbins’ script for “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” Dean Fleischer-Camp, Elisabeth Holm, and Nick Paley’s script for “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” and Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller’s script for “The Son.”
While the restrictive WGA Awards rulings often don’t affect the chances of auteurs like Tarantino who have collected multiple Best Original Screenplay Oscars without ever becoming a DGA signatory, this year’s decision does affect the momentum of early Best Adapted Screenplay nomination favorites like Hunter or Ishiguro, who now have one less major awards show where they can mingle amid a crowd full of Oscar voter peers paying special attention to the screenplay categories.
Though the WGA Awards should not have too great an effect on the Best Original Screenplay race, as “TÁR,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and “The Fabelmans” are still eligible, and “The Banshees of Inisherin” feels all but certain for a nomination even without Writers Guild recognition, this year’s WGA Awards nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay could shake up the similar category at the Oscars, elevating the prospects of films like “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Bones and All,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” or “Avatar: The Way of Water” to make it in alongside major contenders like “Women Talking,” “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” and “She Said.”
The WGA Film nominations will be announced on Wednesday, January 25.