Los Angeles – Acclaimed screenwriter-director-actor Paul Mazursky is set to receive the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2014 Screen Laurel Award, honoring lifetime achievement in outstanding writing for motion pictures. The award will be presented to Mazursky, among other honorees, at the WGAW’s 2014 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony to be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014, at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.
“Paul Mazursky’s talents as an actor (he was in Stanley Kubrick’s first film) and filmmaker (one of the signature directors of the 1970s) should not be allowed to obscure a central fact: he is among our greatest living screenwriters. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Blume in Love, Harry and Tonto, Next Stop, Greenwich Village, An Unmarried Woman – five films in six years, any of which can make you laugh and cry, break and mend your heart. His voice is strong, unique, hilarious, wise, unmistakable. He is fearless about his characters’ flaws, but always has the generosity of spirit to make us see the ways in which they are far more like us than not. His work in the ’80s and ’90s – Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Scenes from a Mall – only deepens that generosity. And his adaptations of Shakespeare (Tempest) and I. B. Singer (Enemies: A Love Story) are at once unflinching and celebratory. With appreciation and respect, we take this moment to celebrate an American master,” said WGAW Vice President Howard A. Rodman.
A five-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Writers Guild Award winner, Mazursky’s screenwriting credits include acclaimed films such as Enemies, A Love Story (1989, Screenplay by Roger L. Simon & Paul Mazursky, Based on the novel by Isaaac Bashevis Singer), for which he received an Academy Award nomination (Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium), as well as earned Best Director Award at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards; Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), for which he shared a WGA nomination for Adapted Screenplay (Screenplay by Paul Mazursky & Leon Capetanos, Based on the film Boudu Sauve Des Eaux by Rene Fauchois); his ground-breaking, ’70s era-defining divorce drama An Unmarried Woman (1978), for which he received two Academy Award nominations (one as a producer for Best Picture, shared with Anthony Ray, and another for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen), a WGA nomination (Screen: Original Drama), and two Golden Globe nominations (Best Screenplay and Best Director – Motion Picture), as well as taking home Best Screenplay trophies at the National Society of Film Critics Awards, New York Film Critics Circle Awards, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards; Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), which earned Mazursky a Writers Guild Award for Screen: Original Comedy and a Best Screenplay Award at the National Society of Film Critics Awards, as well as Oscar (Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Material Not Previously Published or Produced) and BAFTA (Best Screenplay) nominations, both shared with co-screenwriter Larry Tucker; Harry and Tonto (1974), for which he shared Academy Award (Best Writing, Original Screenplay) and WGA (Screen: Original Drama) nominations with co-screenwriter Josh Greenfeld, and his screenwriting debut, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968), for which he shared a WGA Original Screenplay nomination with co-screenwriter Larry Tucker.
A ten-time Writers Guild Award nominee over the course of his career, Mazursky’s additional screenwriting credits include many films he also directed, including The Pickle (1993), Scenes from a Mall (1991), Moon Over Parador (1988), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), Tempest (1982), which won the People’s Choice Award at the 1982 Toronto International Film Festival, Willie & Phil (1980), Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976), which earned him a WGA Screen: Original Comedy nomination and was nominated for the Palme D’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, Blume in Love (1973), which earned him a WGA Screen: Original Comedy nomination, and Alex in Wonderland (1970), many of which he also produced. In recent years, he has directed telefilms such as Coast to Coast (2003) and Winchell (1998), as well as features films such as Faithful (1996), which was nominated for a Golden Berlin Bear Award at the 1996 Berlin Film Festival, and the documentary Yippee (2006).
A WGAW member since 1963, Mazursky launched his career as a television writer, garnering his first Writers Guild Award in 1966 for The Danny Kaye Show (with Art Carney) and a WGA nomination for The Danny Kaye Show (with Fred Gwynne) that same year, as well as shared Emmy nominations for his work on The Danny Kaye Show in 1964 and 1966 for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy or Variety.
Born “Irwin” Mazursky on April 25, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York, he made his film debut as an actor in Stanley Kubrick’s first feature, Fear and Desire (1953), changing his name to “Paul,” and appearing as a juvenile delinquent in 1955’s The Blackboard Jungle. In 1965, he collaborated with frequent writing partner Larry Tucker to pen the pilot for The Monkees TV series, in which both appeared in cameos. Since then, Mazursky’s burgeoning acting career has blossomed over several decades, having landed featured roles in films such as Deathwatch (1966), A Star is Born (1976), Punchline (1988), Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989), Man Trouble (1992), Carlito’s Way (1993), Miami Rhapsody (1995), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), and Crazy in Alabama (1999), as well as appearing in numerous TV shows, including The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Once and Again, The Twilight Zone, The Detectives, The Rifleman, Channing, and Frasier, and telemovies such as Weapons on Mass Distraction, not to mention supporting roles in many of his own films, ranging from An Unmarried Woman and Down & Out in Beverly Hills to Moscow on the Hudson and Moon Over Parador, where he memorably played a dictator’s mother…in drag.
Among his many industry accolades, Mazursky received the L.A. Film Critics Association’s Career Achievement Award in 2010, the Costume Designer Guild’s Distinguished Director Award in 1999, and the Cinema Audio Society’s Filmmaker Award in 2009. Just this past month, on December 13, Mazursky received his own “Star” on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in front of legendary industry watering hole Musso & Frank Grill. He continues to serve on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS), Directors Branch.
Awarded to a Writers Guild member who has advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter, the WGAW’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement has been presented in past years to such screenwriters as David Mamet, Lawrence Kasdan, Robert Benton, Barry Levinson, Steven Zaillian, Eric Roth, and Tom Stoppard.ams, seminars, and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, West, visit http://www.wga.org. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit http://www.wgaeast.org.