Screenwriter Gary Ross has been awarded the Paul Selvin Award for his comedy feature script “Dave” by the Writers Guild of America, West.
The award, now in its fourth year, is given to a member whose script best embodies the spirit of the Constitution’s call for civil rights and liberties.
It was named in honor of the late Paul Selvin, who served as guild counsel from 1962-87.
“The story uses comedic themes to deliver a strong message about the basic principle of American democracy: government of the people, by the people, for the people,” said Frank Pierson, WGAW prexy.
Ross said he had intended to use the comedy to discuss issues of democracy.
“I always had these intentions with the movie,” Ross said. “And at the same time, they were just a part of the comedy, but hopefully the comedy had a point to make.”
Ross, whose previous feature credit was “Big,” is writing a drama that he will also direct for Universal Pictures. The project, titled “A Couple of Points ,” is set during a California governor’s race.
Ross was an intern on Capitol Hill and has experience as a political speech writer.
“But this is my last political story,” Ross said with a laugh. “The closer I get to politics, the more I want to stay away from it all.”
“Dave,” which also has been nominated in the best screenplay categories by the Writers Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, is the first theatrical release to win the Selvin award.
In the first three years of the award, it went to two movies of the week and one TV miniseries.
Ross will receive the award during the 46th annual Writers Guild Awards on March 13 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.