Guild's rules leave handful of scripts out of contention

The Writers Guild of America has held tough on qualifying scripts for its awards, with 88 eligible screenplays — 33 in the adapted category and 55 in the original category.

The guild’s 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 “The Artist,” “Beginners,” “The Iron Lady,” “Margin Call,” “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” “Rango” and “Take Shelter” in the original category. Exclusions in the adapted field include “Albert Nobbs,” “Carnage,” “Jane Eyre,” “My Week With Marilyn,” “Sarah’s Key” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

The Hitfix site first reported the exclusions Friday.

The WGA had no immediate comment on the exclusions. Ballots for the WGA Awards began arriving this week in member mailboxes.

Such exclusions are a longstanding practice at the WGA. 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.

Leaders of the WGA, which is the ultimate arbiter of screenplay credits, 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,” former WGA West prexy John Wells said last year.

Christopher Nolan brought up the issue at the WGA Awards show in February in his acceptance speech for winning the original screenplay trophy for “Inception” when he asserted that he had been “crushed” when he found out that his “Memento” script — which was Oscar-nommed — was ineligible for the WGA Awards a decade ago.

“Nothing is more important than recognition by my peers,” he added. “I hope next year the person who stands up here can give thanks without qualification.”

“Inception” was nommed for an Oscar but lost out to “The King’s Speech,” which wasn’t eligible for a WGA award.

The WGA is set to announce its nominees on Jan. 5 and its awards show will be held Feb. 19 in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.

Some of the notable candidates in the original category are “50/50,” “Bridesmaids,” “Cedar Rapids,” “J. Edgar,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Rampart,” “The Tree of Life,” “Win Win” and “Young Adult.”

Significant candidates in the adapated category inlcude “The Descendants,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “The Ides of March,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Moneyball” and “War Horse.”

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