Writers Guild Unveils 10 Screenplay Nominations

Captain Phillips Venice Film Festival

Awards to be presented Feb. 1

Mixing mainstream and specialty titles, the Writers Guild of America has nominated Tracy Letts for “August: Osage County,” Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for “Before Midnight,” Billy Ray for “Captain Phillips,” Peter Berg for “Lone Survivor” and Terence Winter for “The Wolf of Wall Street” for its adapted screenplay award.

The WGA selected Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell for “American Hustle,” Woody Allen for “Blue Jasmine,” Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack for “Dallas Buyers Club,” Spike Jonze for “Her” and Bob Nelson for “Nebraska” for top original screenplay.

“Blue Jasmine” represented Allen’s 21st WGA nomination. He’s won WGA awards for “Annie Hall,” “Broadway Danny Rose,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Midnight in Paris.”

The nomination of Linklater, Delpy and Hawke for “Before Midnight” comes nine years after the trio scored WGA and Oscar noms for “Before Sunset.” Winter has won four WGA awards for his TV writing on “The Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire.”

It was the third WGA screenwriting nom for Russell, who also directed “American Hustle.” He received WGA nods for “Three Kings” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”

“Writing is where I began in cinema,  so it means everything to me and our film to have Eric and myself acknowledged by our peers — its humbling given how much terrific writing is out there,” Russell said. “The inspiration to write for these actors, these characters, these stories and worlds, has been the heart and soul of life and cinema for me and my collaborators for the last few years in particular. Very grateful the WGA included us.”

The most notable omission in Friday’s announcement was probably Joel and Ethan Coen’s original script for “Inside Llewyn Davis.” The brothers, who had received six previous WGA nominations, won the National Board of Review Award for original screenplay last month for “Llewyn Davis.”

Other contenders that fell short included Michael Petroni for “The Book Thief,” Jason Reitman for “Labor Day,”  Steve Conrad for “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter for “The Spectacular Now” in the adpated category. Besides “Llewyn Davis,” notable omissions in the orginal category included Nicole Holofcener for “Enough Said,” Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron for “Gravity” and Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith for “Saving Mr. Banks.”

Awards will be presented Feb. 1 in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York following voting by the 12,000 WGA members.

Nominees were selected from 41 eligible scripts in the adapted and 54 in the original category. The WGA excludes scripts not produced under its jurisdiction or under a foreign collective bargaining agreement so several high profile screenplays — notably John Ridley’s script for “12 Years a Slave,” Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope’s for “Philomena” and Peter Morgan’s for “Rush” — were ineligble.

Other exclusions included “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” “Short Term 12,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” “Fruitvale Station” and “In a World.”

Chris Terrio’s script for “Argo” and Mark Boal’s for “Zero Dark Thirty” won the WGA screenplay awards last February. Terrio also won the Oscar in the adapted category but Boal lost out in the original contest to Quentin Tarantino’s script for “Django Unchained,” which had been ineligble for WGA voting.

Even with exclusions, the WGA winners have a reliable track record for predicting the Oscar screenplay winners. The adapted category winners have matched in 14 of the last 19 years while the original category has matched in 12 of the last 19 years.

The Dec. 12 Golden Globe screenplay nominations — which cover both original and adapted — went to “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle,” “Her,” “Nebraska” and “Philomena.” “The Wolf of Wall Street” won the National Board of Review trophy for adapted screenplay last month.

Seven of the WGA’s nominated screenplays — “American Hustle,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Her,” “Nebraska” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” — received nods Thursday from the Producers Guild of America for its top feature award.

The documentary nominations included “Dirty Wars,” “Herblock – The Black & The White,” “No Place on Earth,” “Stories We Tell” and “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks.” “Dirty Wars” and “Stories We Tell” are also on the Oscar short list of 15 documentary finalists.

The WGA announced its TV nominations last month. The next major awards announcement comes Tuesday when the Directors Guild of America discloses its feature film nominations. The WGA’s videogame writing nominees will be announced Thursday.

The WGA nominees list:


American Hustle, Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell; Columbia Pictures

Blue Jasmine, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics

Dallas Buyers Club, Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack; Focus Features

Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.

Nebraska, Written by Bob Nelson; Paramount Pictures


August: Osage County, Screenplay by Tracy Letts; Based on his play; The Weinstein Company

Before Midnight, Written by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke; Based on characters created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan; Sony Classics

Captain Phillips, Screenplay by Billy Ray; Based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty; Columbia Pictures

Lone Survivor, Written by Peter Berg; Based on the book by Marcus Lutrell with Patrick Robinson; Universal Pictures

The Wolf of Wall Street, Screenplay by Terence Winter; Based on the book by Jordan Belfort; Paramount Pictures


Dirty Wars, Written by Jeremy Scahill & David Riker; Sundance Selects

Herblock – The Black & The White, Written by Sara Lukinson & Michael Stevens; The Stevens Company

No Place on Earth, Written by Janet Tobias & Paul Laikin; Magnolia Pictures

Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks; Written by Alex Gibney; Focus Features

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  1. ITTTY IT says:

    And thru it all —NOT a single entry with ANYTHING
    like compelling, or even ANY, charatcer development.

    Franchise slum Hollywood —remains –well, a franchise slum.

  2. Peggy Allen says:

    Um, the excluded screenplays are from films that are the frontrunners. That’s the whole ball of wax. Cutting off your nose to spite your face?

  3. GreengrassIsaHack says:

    Captain Phillips barely has a story to speak of. It’s no more than a mess of shaky cam, fast cuts, zoom ins, and close up shots.

  4. A plethora of glorious,imaginative, exemplary choices of Hollywoods art form at its finest. I don’t enevy The Academy on the choices they have to make.

  5. Chris says:

    Can someone clarify why Before Midnight falls under best adapted sceenplay? I realize it says that it’s based off characters created by Richard Linklater and Kim Krizan but aren’t those still original characters?

  6. Pa. critic says:

    Sending good thoughts and vibes to the wonderful cast and crew of NEBRASKA even though they may be edged out by Blue Jasmine. Wolf Of Wall Street is on a roll this awards season and is steadily climbing the box office popularity poll- $50 million+ so far .

  7. hmmm says:

    Dear Variety – by only filing this under “American Hustle” and “Wolf of Wall Street”, are you hinting at your personal picks in advance of the awards?

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