Leaked victory irks writers

WGA Award news leaks to L.A.

Holding simultaneous award shows in different cities is a tricky proposition.

Some attendees of Saturday’s Writers Guild Awards ceremony in Los Angeles were irritated when word spread that “Slumdog Millionaire’s” Simon Beaufoy had won the adapted screenplay award more than an hour before the category was revealed at the Century Plaza hotel.

The winner was publicly announced at the Gotham ceremony, so email and news reports quickly made their way via Blackberry and text messages to attendees of the L.A. ceremony.

Traditionally, the original screenplay and adapted screenplay feature awards are the last awards presented at the WGA fetes — at this time of year, it’s all about presaging the Oscars — but the WGA East agreed to bump up the adapted screenplay category much earlier in the night to accommodate a time constraint for some nominees, including Beaufoy, who needed to hop a plane ASAP to make it to Sunday’s BAFTA Awards ceremony in London.

Because Beaufoy had made it known to the WGA that should he win, he really wanted to accept the award in person, both guilds agreed to allow the WGA East to present the adapted screenplay category early at its ceremony. The host of the WGA East fete, “Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver, even joked in his opening remarks about how attendees should not email or text their friends on the West Coast with news of the winners. But once the adapted screenplay winner was revealed publicly in Gotham, there was no way to hold back Variety, the New York Times and other outlets from reporting “Slumdog’s” latest victory.

“To the best our ability we try to sync up the shows, but these things happen,” WGA East spokeswoman Sherry Goldman said. “It’s unfortunate but it in no way diminishes the award or (Beaufoy’s) achievement.”

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