The Writers Guild of America has just announced its nominations for best original, adapted and documentary screenplays, bringing together some of the industry’s finest screenwriters in what could be a good indication of Oscar wins come February. And with a track record that includes having its winners go on to win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar nine out of the past 14 years and an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay 10 out of the past 14 years, there’s a very good chance that the big winners at the WGA awards, taking place February 7th simultaneously at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles and the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York, will be giving a much deserved acceptance speech two weeks later at the Academy Awards.
In the category of original screenplay, Woody Allen has earned his 19th nomination for Vicky Cristina Barcelona with the possibility of a fifth win for the legendary moviemaker. Joel and Ethan Coen have received their fourth nomination with Burn After Reading while Thomas McCarthy gets his second nod for The Visitor. First-time contenders this year include Dustin Lance Black for Milk and Robert Siegel for The Wrestler.
The adapted screenplay category has another pair of brothers up for an award with Jonathan and Christopher Nolan’s work on The Dark Knight receiving a nod. Eric Roth grabs his fourth nomination with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Simon Beaufoy nabbed his second with Slumdog Millionaire. The nominations of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt and Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon proved that their transition from stage to screen was a much welcomed one.
Lastly, the documentary category has Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker up for Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, last year’s winner, Alex Gibney, for Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Brett Morgen for Chicago 10, Johnny O’Hara for Fuel and Ari Folman for his animated feature, Waltz With Bashir.
With screenwriting veterans up against some of the newest and brightest, it looks as though the 12,000 WGA members voting on the winners will have some tough choices to make. But with nominations selected from a total of 155 eligible original screenplays and 100 for adapted screenplays, the nominees are the screenwriting cream of the crop.