The Writers Guild of America has presented Morgan Spurlock its first feature documentary award for “Super Size Me,” the story of his quest to eat nothing but McDonald’s food for a month.
Spurlock, who was presented with the kudo at ceremonies Tuesday at the Hollywood Roosevelt, topped Ross McElwee (“Bright Leaves”), Julia Bacha and Jehane Noujaim (“Control Room”), Paolo di Florio (“Home of the Brave”), Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry (“The Hunting of the President”) and Jessica Yu (“In the Realms of the Unreal”).
Spurlock, who financed the $65,000 film himself, was inspired after a Thanksgiving dinner to make the film thanks to a lawsuit filed against McDonald’s by two overweight children. Spurlock gained nearly 30 pounds and three weeks into the all-McDonald’s diet, the doctors monitoring his progress urged him to stop.
Spurlock promised that as part of the project he would “super size” any order if asked by a clerk. In March, after “Super Size Me” won a directing prize at the Sundance Film Festival, McDonald’s announced it was eliminating the super-size option while claiming its decision was unrelated to Spurlock’s film.
“Super Size” is by far the best box office performer of the six WGA nominees, grossing $11.5 million for Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films, followed by “Control Room” with $2.6 million. “Super Size” is also the only guild nominee to have scored an Oscar mention, joining “Born Into Brothels,” “The Story of the Weeping Camel,” “Tupac: Resurrection” and “Twist of Faith.”
The WGA noms, selected from more than a dozen entries, did not include Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” as Moore chose not to submit his docu. The doc-writing category did not require the producer be a guild signatory; instead, the credited writers were required to join the nonfiction writers caucus at the WGA West or the WGA East.
The WGA announced creation of the docu nod in November while at the same time excluding nonfiction works from its original screenplay award, which eliminated Moore’s chances of taking home a second WGA trophy for original screenplay. He won the guild’s original screenplay award for 2002’s “Bowling for Columbine.”