Opting for recent awards-season favorites, the WGA has selected Diablo Cody as winner of its original screenplay award for Fox Searchlight’s “Juno” and Ethan and Joel Coen for the adapted screenplay trophy for Miramax’s “No Country for Old Men.”
The Saturday night announcements came minutes before the start of a crucial WGA membership meeting at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles to hear guild leaders go over details of the tentative pact to end the three-month writers strike.
The WGA West had scrubbed its black-tie awards ceremony last month due to the work stoppage while the WGA East held a low-key “recognition reception” affair attended by about 400 at the Broadway Millenium Hotel in Gotham — a few hours after its own membership meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Cody’s whimsical tale of teen pregnancy topped the scripts for “Michael Clayton,” “The Savages,” “Lars and the Real Girl” and “Knocked Up.”
The Coen brothers’ adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel about a Texas crime spree won over the scripts for “There Will Be Blood,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “Into the Wild” and “Zodiac.”
Based on voting by the 12,000 WGA members, the victories maintain recent momentum for both pics, particularly “No Country,” which has now copped awards from all four Guilds – the WGA, the DGA, SAG and the PGA.
WGA winners have matched Oscar winners in the original category in eight of the past 13 years, including last year when Michael Arndt won for “Little Miss Sunshine.” The guild’s winner in the adapted category has doubled as Oscar winner nine times in the past 13 years with William Monahan winning last year for “The Departed.”
Alex Gibney won the documentary trophy for Thinkfilm’s “Taxi to the Dark Side,” topping “The Camden 28,” “Nanking,” “”No End in Sight,” “Sicko” and “The Rape of Europa.” Gibney also won the WGA award for 2006’s “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.”
Meanwhile, NBC’s “30 Rock,” HBO’s “The Wire”, HBO’s “The Sopranos,” NBC’s “The Office” and AMC’s “Mad Men” won the top TV series awards at the WGA Awards.
“30 Rock” won the comedy series award over “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Flight of the Conchords” and “The Office,” which won the kudo last year. “30 Rock” writers include Brett Baer, Jack Burditt, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Dave Finkel, Daisy Gardner, Donald Glover, Matt Hubbard, Jon Pollack, John Riggi, Tami Sagher and Ron Weiner.
“The Wire” won the drama series trophy over “Dexter,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Mad Men” and “The Sopranos,” which won the award last year. Writers for “The Wire” include Ed Burns, Chris Collins, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, David Simon and William F. Zorzi.
“The Office” took the comedy episode award for “The Job,” penned by Paul Liberstein & Michael Schur. “The Sopranos” won the outstanding episode award in drama series for “The Second Comiong,” penned by Terence Winter.
“Mad Men” took the new series award over “Damages,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “Pushing Daisies” and “The Sarah Silverman Program.” “Mad Men” writers include Lisa Albert, Bridget Bedard, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Tom Palmer, Chris Provenzano, Robin Veith and Matthew Weiner.
Hallmark’s “Pandemic” won the longform original trophy for writers Bryce Zabel and Jackie Zabel. TNT’s “The Company: A Story of the CIA” took the longform adaptation award for Ken Nolan, based on the novel by Robert Littell.
Mood was light-hearted at the event with the presumption that the strike will be over soon. However, WGA East president Michael Winship warned that the work stoppage has not been called off, adding, “My mother’s from Texas and she always says to never buy your ticket until you hear that train whistle.”
“Saturday Night” cast member Seth Meyers, who’s been a constant presence on picket lines, elicited big laughs when he told the audience, “As I look at you, I can’t help but express how sick and tired I am of seeing your faces.”
And Triumph the Insult Comic Dog told the crowd, “We have an agreement that you can pretend to be proud of.”
WGA East exec director Mona Mangan told Daily Variety that the event was scaled back because it would not have been seemly to have a full-blown formal affair with a strike going on.
“But it really is a night to celebrate because we have a contract — depending on the membership vote — so this is really a well-timed event,” she added.
FILM AND TELEVISION AWARD WINNERS
JUNO, Written by Diablo Cody; Fox Searchlight
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, Screenplay by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Based on the Novel
by Cormac McCarthy; Miramax
TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, Written by Alex Gibney; THINKFilm
THE WIRE, Written by Ed Burns, Chris Collins, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, George
Pelecanos, Richard Price, David Simon, William F. Zorzi; HBO
30 ROCK, Written by Brett Baer, Jack Burditt, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Dave
Finkel, Daisy Gardner, Donald Glover, Matt Hubbard, Jon Pollack, John Riggi, Tami
Sagher, Ron Weiner; NBC
MAD MEN, Written by Lisa Albert, Bridget Bedard, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria
Jacquemetton, Tom Palmer, Chris Provenzano, Robin Veith, Matthew Weiner; AMC
EPISODIC DRAMA – any length – one airing time
THE SECOND COMING (THE SOPRANOS), Written by Terence Winter; HBO
EPISODIC COMEDY – any length – one airing time
THE JOB (THE OFFICE), Written by Paul Lieberstein & Michael Schur; NBC
LONG FORM – ORIGINAL – over one hour – one or two parts, one or two airing times
PANDEMIC, Written by Bryce Zabel & Jackie Zabel; Hallmark Channel
LONG FORM – ADAPTATION – over one hour – one or two parts, one or two airing times
THE COMPANY: A STORY OF THE CIA, Teleplay by Ken Nolan, Based on the novel by
Robert Littell; TNT
ANIMATION – any length – one airing time
KILL GIL VOLUMES 1&2 (THE SIMPSONS), Written by Jeff Westbrook; FOX
COMEDY/VARIETY – (INCLUDING TALK) SERIES
THE COLBERT REPORT, Written by Bryan Adams, Michael Brumm, Stephen Colbert, Rich
Dahm, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Peter Grosz, Peter Gwinn, Barry Julien,
Jay Katsir, Laura Krafft, Frank Lesser, Tom Purcell, Allison Silverman; Comedy Central
(*Editor’s Note: There are no nominations this year in the Comedy/Variety – Music, Awards,
Tributes – Specials category.)
THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS, Written by Lynn Marie Latham, Scott Hamner, Jeff
Gottesfeld & Cherie Bennet, Bernard Lechowick, James Stanley, Natalie Minardi Slater,
Lynsey Dufour, Marina Alburger, Sara Bibel, Janice Ferri Esser, Eric Freiwald & Linda
Schreiber, Joshua McCaffrey, Sandra Weintraub; CBS
CHILDREN’S SCRIPT – EPISODIC & SPECIALS
LOOK WHOSE NOT TALKING (FLIGHT 29 DOWN), Written by D. J. MacHale; Discovery Kids
CHILDREN’S SCRIPT- LONG FORM OR SPECIAL
JOHNNY KAPAHALA: BACK ON BOARD, Teleplay by Ann Austen & Douglas Sloan and Max
Enscoe & Annie deYoung, Story by Ann Austen & Douglas Sloan; Disney Channel
DEAD HEAD FRED, Written by Dave Ellis and Adam Cogan, D3 Publisher
DOCUMENTARY — CURRENT EVENTS
RETURN OF THE TALIBAN (FRONTLINE), Written by Martin Smith; PBS
DOCUMENTARY — OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS
BILLY STRAYHORN: LUSH LIFE (INDEPENDENT LENS), Written by Robert Levi and Robert
TELEVISION NEWS — REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN OR BREAKING
AMISH SCHOOL SHOOTING (WORLD NEWS WITH CHARLES GIBSON), Written by Josh
Landis, Joel Siegel, Julia Kathan, Charles Gibson; ABC
TELEVISION NEWS — ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE (GOOD MORNING, AMERICA), Written by Mary Pflum; ABC
RADIO AWARD WINNERS
GO WIRELESS, GET CONNECTED! ABC’S TECHNOLOGY SURVIVAL GUIDE, Written by
Andrea Smith; ABC
RADIO NEWS — REGULARLY SCHEDULED OR BREAKING
WORLD NEWS THIS WEEK, Written by Marianne J. Pryor; ABC
RADIO NEWS — ANALYSIS, FEATURE OR COMMENTARY
PASSAGES, Written by Gail Lee; CBS
PROMOTION WRITING AND GRAPHIC ART AWARD WINNERS
TELEVISION ON-AIR PROMOTION
DAYS OF OUR LIVES: MINI-SERIES, THE BRADYS VS. THE DIMERAS, Written by
Judie Henninger; NBC
TELEVISION GRAPHIC ART
ONE PRICEY PANTS SUIT, William J. Hennessy Jr.; ABC News
TELEVISION GRAPHIC ANIMATION
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS . . . MATT LAUER?: TEASE CAMPAIGN 2007, Joe Strobino and
Miranda Patterson; NBC