The exclusions emerged Tuesday as the WGA sent out ballots to its members, with 60 eligible scripts in the original category and 48 in the adapted classification. Nominations will be announced Jan. 7 and winners will be unveiled Feb. 14.
The guild’s restrictions are far more rigorous than those of SAG-AFTRA or the Directors Guild of America. Most exclusions stem from the requirement that scripts be produced under WGA jurisdiction or under a collective bargaining agreement in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.K.
Additionally, members who have resigned from the guild are ineligible for WGA awards consideration — as was the case when John Ridley’s script for the 2013 “12 Years a Slave” was ineligible at the WGA and went on to win the Oscar for adapted screenplay.
Ridley resigned from the WGA during the bitter 2007-08 strike. So his script for Jimi Hendrix biopic “All Is By My Side” is not eligible for awards among films released this year.
The restrictions on eligibility are a longstanding practice at the WGA, which has been the ultimate arbiter of screenplay credits since 1941.
WGA East president Michael Winship told Variety last year that there’s no plan to change the WGA policy. “We feel very strongly that the awards should honor members and signatory producers,” Winship noted.
In the original screenplay category, the exclusions include Ava DuVernay and Paul Webb for “Selma,” Mike Leigh for “Mr. Turner,” John Michael McDonagh for “Calvary,” Justin Simien for “Dear White People” and Damian Szifron for “Wild Tales.”
In the adapted category, exclusions include Anthony McCarten’s “The Theory of Everything,” Andrew Bovell’s “A Most Wanted Man,” Hossein Amini’s “The Two Faces of January,” Adam Pava and Irena Brignull’s “The Boxtrolls” and Dean DeBlois’ “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”
Leigh has received five Oscar nominations for scripts, starting with “Secrets and Lies,” which did receive a WGA nomination.
Other notable recent scripts excluded by the WGA that have gone on to win the Oscar include Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and David Seidler’s “The King’s Speech.”
News of the exclusions was first reported by the Hitfix site.