Despite conducting a bitter strike that’s threatened other award shows, the WGA’s proceeding as usual with its Feb. 9 awards show as it unveiled its 10 nominations for its two feature screenplay awards Thursday.
Original screenplay noms went to Diablo Cody for Fox Searchlight’s “Juno,” Tony Gilroy for Warner’s “Michael Clayton,” Tamara Jenkins for Searchlight’s “The Savages,” Judd Apatow for U’s “Knocked Up” and Nancy Oliver for MGM’s “Lars and the Real Girl.”
Adapted nods went to Ethan and Joel Coen for Miramax’s “No Country for Old Men,” Paul Thomas Anderson for Par Vantage’s “There Will Be Blood,” Ronald Harwood for Miramax’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” Sean Penn for Vantage’s “Into the Wild” and James Vanderbilt for Par’s “Zodiac.”
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Winners will be announced Feb. 9 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. The awards show is not telecast.
Threats of WGA pickets caused NBC to transform this Sunday’s Golden Globes into a news conference and thrown the fate of the Feb. 24 Oscarcast into question. The WGA’s granted strike waivers to the Jan. 27 SAG Awards and the Feb. 23 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Harwood said, “I’m thrilled to get the nomination from my colleagues, particularly under the present of circumstances of being on strike. It’s really a cause for celebration.”
Jenkins offered a similar reaction, saying, “It feels extra special to be nominated with everything so focused on the strike – sort of a reminder that, ‘Oh, yes, we do write.’”
WGA voters named all five of the films nominated earlier this week for the DGA’s top directing award. Anderson, the Coen brothers, Gilroy and Penn all received DGA nominations as did Julian Schnabel for “Diving Bell.”
“I could get used to this,” Gilroy told Daily Variety in reaction to his two noms. “It’s been pretty good week and it’s a great confirmation from people who know what the job is. And I think it definitely helped to be both the pitcher and the catcher.”
WGA members opted mostly for specialty fare with only three nods going to pics from the six majors — “Michael Clayton,” “Knocked Up” and “Zodiac.” Miramax, Searchlight and Vantage each took a pair of noms.
“Knocked Up” is by far the biggest domestic grosser of the nominated films with $148 million.
WGA winners have matched Oscar winners in the original category eight times in the last 13 years, including last year when Michael Arndt won for “Little Miss Sunshine.” In the adapted screenplay category, winners have matched nine times in the last 13 years with William Monahan taking both trophies last year for “The Departed.”
Features eligible for a WGA award were released during 2007 and produced under WGA jurisdiction or under that of affiliate guilds in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and New Zealand. There were 164 pics eligible in the original screenplay and 103 in adapted screenplay.
Documentary noms went to Anthony Giacchino for First Runs’s “The Camden 28,” Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman and Elisabeth Bentley for Thinkfilm’s “Nanking,” Charles Ferguson for Magnolia’s “No End in Sight,” Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham and Bonni Cohen for Menemshaw’s “The Rape of Europa,” Michael Moore for Lionsgate’s “Sicko” and Alex Gibney for Thinkfilm’s “Taxi to the Dark Side.”
Moore won the WGA original screenplay award four years ago for “Bowling for Columbine” dcumentary. The WGA then decided to set up a separate documentary category, making docs ineligible for the screenplay categories.
Documentaries that were eligible featured an on-screen writing credit and were exhibited theatrically in Los Angeles or New York for one week in 2007. Credited writers were required to join the WGA’s Nonfiction Writers Caucus but the scripts were not required to have been written under WGA jurisdiction to be considered.
And the nominees are:
“Juno” – Writtenby Diablo Cody, Fox Searchlight
“Michael Clayton” – Written by Tony Gilroy, Warner Bros. Pictures
“The Savages” – Written by Tamara Jenkins, Fox Searchlight
“Knocked Up” – Written by Judd Apatow, Universal Pictures
“Lars and the Real Girl” – Written by Nancy Oliver, MGM
“No Country For Old Men” – Screenplay by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Based on the Novel by Cormac McCarthy, Miramax
“There Will Be Blood” – Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson, Based on the Novel Oil by Upton Sinclair, Paramount Vantage
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” – Screenplay by Ronald Harwood, Based on the Book by Jean-Dominique Bauby, Miramax
“Into the Wild” – Screenplay by Sean Penn, Based on the Book by Jon Krakauer, Paramount Vantage
“Zodiac” – Screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Based on the Book by Robert Graysmith, Paramount Pictures
“The Camden 28” – Written by Anthony Giacchino, First Run Features
“Nanking” – Screenplay by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman & Elisabeth Bentley, Story by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman, THINKFilm
“No End In Sight” – Written by Charles Ferguson, Magnolia Pictures
“The Rape Of Europa” – Written by Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham and Bonni Cohen, Menemsha Films
“Sicko” – Written by Michael Moore, Lionsgate/The Weinstein Company
“Taxi To The Dark Side” – Written by Alex Gibney, THINKFilm