'Burn,' 'Milk,' 'Vicky,' 'Wrestler' in the running

The Writers Guild recognized both veteran and first-time contenders in the nominees for this year’s kudos — along with two sets of brothers.

In Wednesday’s announcement of the 15 nominated scripts in three categories are some notable achievements, including Woody Allen, who scored his 19th WGA screenplay bid, for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”; Eric Roth, with his fourth career nom, for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”; and Joel and Ethan Coen, who also chalked up their fourth, for “Burn After Reading.”

The newbie feature nominees include “The Dark Knight” writers Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, and three in the original-screenplay race: “Milk” scribe Dustin Lance Black, and the “The Wrestler’s” Robert Siegel.

Rounding out the original race are Allen, the Coens and Tom McCarthy for “The Visitor.”.

In the adapted race are Roth (up for screenplay, with story by Roth and Robin Swicord); the Nolan brothers (story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer); Simon Beaufoy for “Slumdog Millionaire”; and two cited for adapting their own stage plays, John Patrick Shanley for “Doubt,” and Peter Morgan for “Frost/Nixon.”

There are five noms for documentaries: Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker for “Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story”; Brett Morgan for “Chicago 10″; Johnny O’Hara for “Fuel”; Alex Gibney for “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson”; and Ari Folman for “Waltz With Bashir.”

Among the omissions from the WGA kudos are a handful of pics with traction in other awards-season contests, including “Revolutionary Road,” “Rachel Getting Married,” “The Reader,” “Gran Torino” and “Happy Go Lucky.” Animated pics such as “Wall-E” and “Kung Fu Panda” are ineligible for WGA laurels because they were not penned under WGA contracts.

The awards, determined by voting among the 12,000 WGA members, will be presented Feb. 7 in simultaneous rites at the Century Plaza in Los Angeles and the Hudson Theater in New York. The WGA West canceled last year’s black-tie ceremony due to the writers strike while the WGA East opted for an informal low-key reception, three days before the strike ended.

Allen has won four WGA original screenplay awards: “Annie Hall” in 1977, “Hannah and Her Sisters” in 1985, “Broadway Danny Rose” in 1987 and “Crimes and Misdemeanors” in 1991. Roth won the adapted trophy in 1994 for “Forrest Gump” and Shanley won the original award in 1988 for “Moonstruck.”

The nominations were selected from 155 eligible original screenplays and 100 in the adapted category.

In the original category, WGA winners have matched Oscar winners in nine of the past 14 years, including last year, when Diablo Cody won for “Juno.” In the adapted category, the guild’s winner has gone on to an Oscar 10 times in the past 14 years. The Coens won the WGA laurel and the Oscar last year for “No Country.”

Gibney won the docu category last year for “Taxi to the Dark Side” and in 2006 for “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.” The WGA created the docu trophy in 2004, after Michael Moore’s victory the previous year in the original screenplay award for “Bowling for Columbine.”

The WGA has already announced nominations for the TV and radio categories and will also award those on Feb. 7.

The nominees are:

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Burn After Reading,” written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, Focus Features
“Milk,” written by Dustin Lance Black, Focus Features
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” written by Woody Allen, The Weinstein Company
“The Visitor, “written by Tom McCarthy, Overture Films
“The Wrestler,” written by Robert Siegel, Fox Searchlight Pictures

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Screenplay by Eric Roth; Screen Story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord; Based on the Short Story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures
“The Dark Knight,” Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; Story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer; Based on Characters Appearing in Comic Books Published by DC Comics; Batman Created by Bob Kane, Warner Bros. Pictures
“Doubt,” Screenplay by John Patrick Shanley, Based on his Stage Play, Miramax Films
“Frost/Nixon, “Screenplay by Peter Morgan, Based on his Stage Play, Universal Pictures
“Slumdog Millionaire,” Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, Based on the Novel “Q and A” by Vikas Swarup, Fox Searchlight Pictures

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY
“Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, “written by Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker, InterPositive Media
“Chicago 10″, written by Brett Morgen, Roadside Attractions
“Fuel”, written by Johnny O’Hara, Greenlight Theatrical / Intention Media
“Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson”, Screenplay by Alex Gibney, From the Words of Hunter S. Thompson, Magnolia Pictures
“Waltz with Bashir, “written by Ari Folman, Sony Pictures Classics

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