Writers Guild unveils 76 qualifying scripts

The Writers Guild of America has held tough on qualifying scripts for its awards, this year yielding just 76 eligible screenplays — down seven from last year’s total and less than half the figure from 2008.

The guild’s tough restrictions — requiring that scripts be produced under WGA jurisdiction and that the scripts be formally submitted for consideration — leaves several notable candidates out of the WGA awards mix, including “Another Year,” “Biutiful,” “Blue Valentine,” “The Ghost Writer,” “The King’s Speech,” “Made in Dagenham,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” “Toy Story 3″ and “Winter’s Bone.”

The WGA ballot, mailed recently to members, lists 43 screenplays in the original category and 33 in the adapted class.

Ballots must be cast no later than Monday and nominations will be announced Tuesday. The winners will be revealed Feb. 5 in ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.

The WGA’s eligibility rules differ from those of the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild in that the DGA and SAG both allow productions outside their jurisdiction to compete for their awards.

The WGA, which is the ultimate arbiter of screenplay credits, had no comment about the ballot Tuesday. But its leaders have said in past years that they don’t intend to loosen the qualifying rules.

“We hope that the rules help persuade nonmembers to become members,” WGA West prexy John Wells said earlier this year.

As part of the ballot, the WGA noted that screenplays were no longer automatically deemed submitted for the WGA Screenplay Awards, as had been the practice as recently as 2008.

“An entry form for each screenplay must have been submitted to the WGA for awards consideration,” the ballot reads. “A theatrical motion picture must have been written under the WGA MBA or under a bona fide collective bargaining agreement of the Australian Writers Guild, Writers Guild of Canada, Writers Guild of Great Britain, Irish Playwrights & Screenwriters Guild or the New Zealand Writers Guild (collectively, ‘affiliate guilds’).”

The WGA awards have been a fairly reliable indicator for Oscar winners in the writing categories. Winners of the original screenplay trophies have matched in 11 of the last 16 years, including last year when Mark Boal won both for “The Hurt Locker”; the adapted screenplay awards have also matched in 11 of the last 16 years, even though they deviated last year when Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner won the WGA trophy for “Up in the Air” and Geoffrey Fletcher won the Oscar for “Precious.”

Candidates for WGA original screenplay noms are “All Good Things,” “Black Swan,” “Brooklyn’s Finest,” “Burlesque,” “Casino Jack,” “City Island,” “The Company Men,” “Conviction,” “Country Strong,” “Cyrus,” “Due Date,” “Easy A,” “The Fighter,” “Frankie and Alice,” “Frozen,” “Furry Vengeance,” “Get Low,” “Greenberg,” “Grown Ups,” “Hereafter,” “Holy Rollers,” “How Do You Know,” “Inception,” “Just Wright,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “Letters to Juliet,” “Life as We Know It,” “Middle Men,” “Morning Glory,” “Mother and Child,” “The Other Guys,” “Our Family Wedding,” “Please Give,” “Remember Me,” “Salt,” “Secretariat,” “Solitary Man,” “Somewhere,” “Splice,” “Stone,” “Welcome to the Rileys,” “Wonderful World” and “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.”

Adapted screenplay candidates are “127 Hours,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “The American,” “Barney’s Version,” “Barry Munday,” “The Crazies,” “Eat Pray Love,” “The Extra Man,” “Fair Game,” “For Colored Girls,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” “I Love You Phillip Morris,” “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” “Jack Goes Boating,” “The Karate Kid,” “The Last Song,” “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” “Let Me In,” “Like Dandelion Dust,” “The Next Three Days,” “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” “Rabbit Hole,” “Red,” “Shutter Island,” “The Social Network,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “The Tempest,” “Today’s Special,” “The Town,” “Tron: Legacy,” “True Grit” and “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.”

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