WGA Continues Strong Awards Season For 'Wall Street', 'Hustle', 'Dallas' & Woody, But 'Gravity', '12 Years' & Coens Not Invited To The Party

wgaawards4It continues to be a good week for American Hustle, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Her, Captain Phillips, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska. All followed up yesterday’s Producers Guild nominations with WGA noms this morning, making it 2-for-2 in the early guild contests of this new year. The WGA also gave a much-needed shot of adrenaline to August: Osage County, which was bypassed by the PGA but had three SAG nominations earlier and now an adapted screenplay bid for Tracy Letts that keeps it alive. But the news continues to be bad for the Coen brothers, who are usually awards darlings.

Related: An Early Look At A Crowded Best Picture Oscar Race

After being snubbed by SAG and yesterday’s PGA announcement, the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis also was bypassed by the WGA, even though it was eligible to be nominated for Original Screenplay. LLEWYNDAVISThat’s the biggest surprise of the day. (Read the full list of WGA Awards nominees below.) Writers have loved their work in the past. Since the guilds often closely parallel Oscar nominations and have many of the same members, it does not bode well for the chances of the CBS Films release, which started the season by winning the Grand Prize (2nd) at Cannes but has not gotten much traction since. One source close to the film’s campaign told me this morning they think Inside Llewyn Davis will fare better under the more specialized Academy preferential voting system as opposed to the popularity contests of the guilds. Passionate fans of the film will have a better chance to be heard by giving it first-place votes.

Related: Will Critics & Precursor Awards Carry More Weight In A Jam-Packed Year?

Among other films eligible under WGA rules but omitted from the list: Nicole Holofcener’s most acclaimed film to date, Enough Said, was overlooked for Original Screenplay — a surprise given that the WGA nominated her previous film, Please Give, in 2010. Danny Strong’s ambitious script for Lee Daniels’ The Butler also missed the cut as it the film itself did at PGA and the Golden Globes. It is nominated for three SAG awards. And Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron’s original script for one of Oscar’s front-runners, Gravity, failed to impress the writers, who perhaps saw it as more of a technical achievement. Warner Bros has been trying to change that perception and has widely circulated the intricate and complex script but to no avail, at least as far as the WGA is concerned.

Related: Year-End: How A Growing Global Mandate And Franchise Fever Led To Movie Studio Tsuris

Although they offered a strong list of contenders this morning, the Writers Guild Of America’s nominations have to be kept in check since the guild only includes those screenplays that were produced under their signatory agreements. That generally means many independent films, foreign productions and others are not even considered. Among the victims 12-Years-A-Slaveof the policy this year are Fox Searchlight’s awards juggernaut 12 Years A Slave. The John Ridley screenplay adapted from Solomon Northup’s book fell victim to the guild’s guidelines but almost certainly will be Oscar-nominated, even possibly a front-runner. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope’s adapted script for Philomena also should figure strongly in the Oscar race, though ineligible here. And Ryan Coogler’s acclaimed original screenplay for Fruitvale Station, also WGA-ineligible, will continue to have a shot at Oscar. Several other original indie scripts — notably Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12 (which has an Academy connection as it won its homegrown Nicholl Fellowship Award) and Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color, also not allowed to compete at WGA — might have a better chance on when Oscar nominations are announced January 16, though competition for a slot as Original Screenplay is particularly fierce.

Related: ‘Philomena’ Box Office Surprise: Heading to $45M Worldwide?

Here’s the full list of WGA Awards nominations:

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

American Hustle, Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell; Columbia Pictures
Blue Jasmine, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics
Dallas Buyers Club, Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack; Focus Features
Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.
Nebraska, Written by Bob Nelson; Paramount Pictures

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

August: Osage County, Screenplay by Tracy Letts; Based on his play; The Weinstein Company
Before Midnight, Written by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke; Based on characters created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan; Sony Classics
Captain Phillips, Screenplay by Billy Ray; Based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty; Columbia Pictures
Lone Survivor, Written by Peter Berg; Based on the book by Marcus Lutrell with Patrick Robinson; Universal Pictures
The Wolf of Wall Street, Screenplay by Terence Winter; Based on the book by Jordan Belfort; Paramount Pictures

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

Dirty Wars, Written by Jeremy Scahill & David Riker; Sundance Selects
Herblock – The Black & The White, Written by Sara Lukinson & Michael Stevens; The Stevens Company
No Place on Earth, Written by Janet Tobias & Paul Laikin; Magnolia Pictures
Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks; Written by Alex Gibney; Focus Features

  1. Happy to see Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska looking good for a Best Picture Oscar berth.

    Looks like Lee Daniels’ Butler & Philomena are long shots now.

  2. It would be nice to include a comedy category.
    I don’t enjoy paying to go to a movie for 2 hrs unless it’s happy, even tho I can appreciate the art of the films listed here.

    1. Wait… Gravity had writing? Well…someone did have to write Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah about four thousand times.

      1. And of course by all that I meant that it had no business being invited to the party so good on you WGA

  3. Blue Jasmine was a great role not a great script. Nebraska was neither. Frances Ha, The Way, Way Back both better by far.

    1. Agreed. Although Blue Jasmine’s “great role” is essentially a hybrid of Cate Blanchett doing Streetcar (which she did quite well) and Gena Rowlands’ astounding turn in Woman Under the Influence.
      And glad to see Llewyn Davis getting passed over: depressing, directionless script. How many times can you sustain gaps in your 2nd act with a “cat gag” joke.

      1. Agree completely about Blue Jasmine being a hybrid though I am less kind — it’s a re-tread of both films. Why is there this cult-like adoration of Allen as a writer? He hasn’t done anything I’ve admired in decades. Also agree with you about Llewyn Davis, as does almost everyone I’ve spoken to who has seen the film.

    1. he went fi core in 2008. didn’t have the strength of his convictions to just quit the wga outright, however. he wants to have his cake and eat it too.

      1. He went fi core so he could work during the strike. But I also think fi core members get to keep their pension and health insurance which are pretty substantial benefits.

        1. “so he could work during the strike” ie: union busting.
          strikes are the only real strength that unions have. so if you are not willing to sacrifice and want to do whatever you want then drop out of the union for real. don’t half a** it. as for benefits and pension. those were gained (as well as overtime pay, safe and sanitary conditions, residuals, etc…)by previous strikes and negotiations.
          i have no problem with him and others wanting to work non-union. my problem is wanting it both ways and reaping the rewards of new contracts off the backs of others. happens in SAG all the time too.

      2. Gilded–You can’t quit the WGA and still work in Hwd, that’s why Ridley went FiCore. If you COULD quit and still earn a living, the stampede to the WGA exits would hit an 8 on the Richter Scale.

        1. The Fi-core option was originated to protect blacklisted writers and the Guild during the Red Scare. Now, it is used by cowards, traitors and self-important a**holes who do not understand that a union cuts a swath of protection for its members and does not play favorites and have non-voting slaves (like the DGA).

          Mr. Ridley is a sellout to his race, his union and his art. Since going fi-core to work with union hater George Lucas on Redtails he has been prostrating himself and kissing every ass he can to get back in. He will not. He has tainted and otherwise good production with his treachery and I hope the movie wins nothing so no one will want to work with this douche.

        2. you can quit. no one is holding a gun to your heads. and if you’re right about the numbers who want out they should all quit en masse and the wga would no longer exist. ridley and the others can then create their own union (or not) and make a fine living. it’s called revolution (or union busting).

          1. In fact, there are some prominent film and TV writers who are talking–tentatively, and certainly confidentially at this point–about doing just that: Starting a new guild for writers, not to “union bust” but to do the opposite, to bring muscular advocacy to writers in a way the WGA has egregiously failed to do. I got wind of this quite accidentally, and have not been asked to be a part of these incipient efforts, but boy would I love to be. Meanwhile, I wish these folks Godspeed.

          2. Yes, starting another Guild and fracturing Writers bargaining power is the way to help writers get a better deal. And, of course, this guild representing a far smaller portion of the writers will be able to steamroll the Studios. And why does this need to be all hush, hush. What can the WGA do to members who are dissatisfied? Nothing.

  4. Happy to see Lone Survivor make the cut, and hope it is the beginning of some well deserved recognition. It is a very well done film. Peter Berg did a wonderful job writing and directing.

    1. Agreed. Much deserved nod for this intense and harrowing true account of a Navy Seal mission gone awry. Hope the movie does well when its release expands. Kudos to the filmmakers for keeping the memory of these brave men alive.

  5. Was ’12 Years A Slave’ ineligible? Surprised it’s not on here. Surely John Ridley is a guild member?

      1. Thanks, gilded_hand. Drag that he worked during the strike. ’12 Years’ is a solidly well written movie, and it couldn’t have been easy.

    1. Surprising omission, and surprising that there was no mention of its omission either. The script by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith is heartfelt, funny and absolutely deserving of a nomination. Otherwise, pretty good choices.

    2. Where the hell is Walt Disney in ‘Saving Mr. Banks’? His ‘character’ is a studio whitewash to all who knew the real Walt. What you’re seeing is Tom Hanks with a mustache – nothing more.

  6. All I can say about “Blue Jasmine” is ugh. Absolutely fantastic performance(s)…but only so well received because it’s Woody.

    “Gravity’s” script is far underrated, but not surprised it didn’t show up here.

    Perhaps “Llewyn” isn’t showing up with the Guilds because it’s so gosh darn boring. General viewers don’t like watching paint dry, no matter who wrote it. It’s not necessarily a bad film, but it’s also not wrong if non-critics aren’t interested in it.

    1. If the WGA voters don’t dig dull how did Nebraska get up there? Same reason Woody’s there. Mediocre scripts by very esteemed writer/directors. (I wonder how many WGA members even realize Alexander Payne is not credited as the writer for Nebraska?)

    1. A-Freaking-men. If the academy had real taste and some serious onions, Before Midnight would be up for best pic as well as actress in addition to screenplay

  7. Some really, really bad choices. Writers need to actually go to the movies instead of relying on screeners.

  8. here here on Lone Survivor, I saw it last week and was blown away, far superior to all these twee films…When did the academy awards become the Independent spirit awards?

  9. Three of the nominated originals are written or co-written by famous writer /directors (Her, Hustle and Jasmine) one was written for a famous writer/director (Nebraska). I hope my fellow guild members aren’t just checking off the biggest names, but are voting only on terms of merit. We’re not the Golden Globes, you know.

  10. “Inside Llewyn Davis” cuts too close to the bone about failure in show business for guild members.

  11. Thank goodness the WGA members saw through all the usual Coen Bros. hype and did not nominate Inside Llewyn Davis. Dreadfully boring and uninteresting, maybe a half-hour’s worth of story, easily one of their weaker and more self-indulgent efforts. Hopefully the Academy members will follow suit.

    I think it’s great that the Coens can get pretty much anything they want financed with complete creative freedom. They are supremely talented filmmakers. Next time just make an actual movie.

  12. Ignoring INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS for the grossly overated HUSTLE and BLUE JASMINE, so obviously influenced by STREETCAR it’s hardly original, is completely ridiculous.

  13. Ridley has done well for himself minus the WGA.

    His Oscar chances are a real black-eye for the guild.

  14. You can quit the Guild any time you like. Employers are happy to work with non-Guild members. They don’t have to pay an additional 17% into health and pension for one. But for writers it’s free health insurance and a pension for starters. So why would anyone leave?

    1. Free? My WGA health insurance isn’t free. I’ve paid in tens of thousands of dollars more than I’ll ever get back for that “free” WGA insurance…which gets worse every year (fewer prescriptions covered, etc.)

      1. The WGA dues are 1.5% of your writing income. Or $15,000 for every $1 million you make. If you’ve paid in “tens of thousands of dollars more than you’ll ever get back” then you have made many millions of dollars as a writer? Have you? Now subtract what you would have to pay to buy your own health insurance which could easily be a $1,000 a month or more if you have a family for far inferior insurance. If you subtract the $12,000 a year you would be paying for your own health insurance, you would need to be probably making over $10 million in career income to be losing money. Have you? But if you have been that successful, you would also have a pension plan worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that you paid in exactly nothing and which will support you in retirement until you die and then pay your spouse half your pension until he/she dies. At that level of income, your pension will be roughly 200K per year (capped by the Federal Gov’t.) So unless you’ve made tens of millions of dollars (with a single employer which allows them to cap off pension contributions), you will receive far more from the guild then you paid in financially. But please keep badmouthing the Guild.

        1. Well, I for one, HAVE made millions of dollars in writing fees as a WGA member…some lean years when I started, a few here and there since, but I’ve been blessed (and that’s what it is, because I’m far from the most talented writer around)…blessed to have worked fairly steadily–overall deals, showrunner on a few series, some feature script sales, etc. But at 1 1/2 percent of my writing income, I have always felt that WGA dues were excessive for the services the guild renders, such as residual collection, which is often very late and quite sloppy, and the enforcement of MBA contract provisions, which are nonexistent as far as I can tell. As for the health and pension stuff, I give it a solid B. The folks who administer it are lovely and hard-working, always happy to help…the coverage, pretty good but declining–maybe that’s par for the course these days. But I’d rather have my dues money back to invest myself in health care and life insurance (the rates you quote for private coverage are way off, even in a post-Obamacare world). It’s not “guild bashing” to observe that the WGA is a profligate and remarkably lame steward of our hard-earned resources. Every writer I know thinks so.

          1. OK, as far as Healthcare goes, when is the last time you bought it for yourself and do you have dependents? I live in NYC and have kids and had years I qualified for WGA healthcare and years I didn’t. I qualified again for 2014, but before that in 2013 I was on a STATE SUBSIDIZED plan which was $996/month included no prescription benefits, no dental, no vision, a very high deductible and covered an annual physical ONCE every 3 years. This was, by far, the best coverage I could get at that price. Non-subisidzed coverage was over $4,000 a month. The WGA coverage is infinitely superior and free for the WGA member and $50 month for all your dependents. Don’t compare catastrophic health insurance which covers you only if you get hit by a bus to real health insurance.
            And you’re nuts if you think you can get even catastrophic insurance for $50 a month for a family.
            If you have no dependents, you pay exactly zero to the Guild for pretty good health insurance.
            As far as the pension goes, you are getting roughly 8% added to your salary which goes into a fund in which you contribute zero. So you are paying out 1 1/2%, but, if you are being honest about your income, will eventually get a six figure pension for life. How can you possibly argue you’re better off financially without the Guild. My suspicion is you don’t really understand the value of the benefits you have. Your actual pension contributions depend largely on how many employers you have had over the years (the more, the better, for pension purposes) but i suspect it is mathematically impossible to not come out way ahead. Finally, though, there is nothing keeping you in the Guild (unless you just want the end-of-year screeners). You can quit any time you like, but check in with your accountant first. He will tell you you’re bat-shit crazy and then you can post me an apology.

  15. If there was a comedy listed wouldn’t it be like a great scape goat for all this movie critics.
    At least new media is included.Probably difficult to determine good from view numbers.

  16. If 12 Years was not eligible, it was not snubbed or “not invited to the party” in the same way Gravity and the Coens were not included, so your headline is misleading.

  17. Maybe ten years ago it was 1000 mo w no family no one has a pension since manufacturing went overseas you need a different book.

    1. WGA writers who have vested (earned above a minimum in 5 separate years) are guaranteed a pension. You’re right, it’s an increasingly rare benefit. Go to their web site for more info.

Comments are closed.