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WGA names best original, adapted screenplay winners

With “The Descendants” and “Midnight in Paris” drawing WGA wins, awards season has entered the final stretch, with the Independent Spirit Awards this Saturday and the Oscars on Sunday.

Ballots for the Academy Awards are due by 5 p.m. today.

“Descendants” and “Midnight in Paris” took adapted and original screenplay, respectively, at Sunday’s WGA Awards, which could predict category wins on Feb. 26.

Although this year has proved that nothing is certain, the Sunday night spotlight was focused on Alexander Payne’s Hawaii-set character drama and Woody Allen’s Parisian literary fantasy.

Allen’s trophy was his fifth; he won previously for “Annie Hall,” “Broadway Danny Rose,” “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Payne, who won his third WGA award, took the adapted screenplay trophy along with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Script was based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. The writer-director has also won WGA trophies for “Election” and “Sideways.”

The awards were announced in supposedly simultaneous cere-

monies at the Hollywood Palladium and BB King’s Blues Club in Manhattan. The New York announcements came a few minutes earlier, creating a small ripple at the Palladium as word began spreading — though both “Midnight in Paris” and “The Descendants” had been expected to win.

As usual, Allen didn’t attend either ceremony. Payne, Rash and Faxon accepted their trophies in Hollywood, with Payne crediting Hemmings for creating the world of a family in Hawaii dealing with crisis. “Thanks for letting us in your world,” he added.

“Midnight in Paris” topped screenplays for “50/50,” “Bridesmaids,” “Win Win” and “Young Adult” while “The Descendants” bested scripts for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Help,” Hugo” and “Moneyball.”

“Midnight in Paris” is up for the original screenplay Oscar along with “Bridesmaids” and three titles ineligible for WGA recognition since they were produced outside WGA jurisdiction — “The Artist,” “Margin Call” and “A Separation.” Oscars noms for adapted screenplay went to “The Descendants,” “Hugo,” “Moneyball,” “The Ides of March” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” “Tinker Tailor” was also ineligible for the WGA award.

Allen’s up for his fourth Oscar; he won for directing and writing “Annie Hall” and for the “Hannah and Her Sisters” screenplay. Payne won the adapted screenplay Oscar for “Sideways.”

The WGA documentary film award went to “Better This World” for Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega. The duo said they’re developing the story of a pair of accused domestic terrorists as a narrative feature.

ABC’s “Modern Family,” AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and Showtime’s “Homeland” each took home a pair of TV awards. “Modern Family” repeated as comedy series winner and won the episodic comedy category for Steven Levitan and Jeffrey Richman for the “Caught in the Act” segment.

“Breaking Bad” and “Homeland” tied for best drama segment, respectively winning for Vince Gilligan’s “Boxcutter” episode and for Henry Bromell’s “The Good Soldier.” “Breaking Bad” also took the drama series award while the new series nod went to “Homeland.”

The TV animation award went to Joel H. Cohen for “Homer the Father” segment of Fox’s “The Simpsons,” which won over three other “Simpsons” episodes and single segs of “Futurama” and “Ben 10.”

Peter Gould took the longform award for HBO’s “Too Big to Fail,” and David Seltzer drew the longform original kudo for HBO’s “Cinema Verite.”

ABC’s “After the Academy Awards” received the award for comedy/variety specials and Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” won comedy/variety series.

ABC’s “General Hospital” took the daytime serials trophy. Karen Harris noted in her acceptance that she was the only one of the 10 writers for the series in attendance because ABC had not purchased seats for their nominated writers.

The derivative new-media award was won by AMC’s “The Walking Dead” for Greg Nicotero and John Esposito. The original new-media award went to Heath Corson and Richie Keen for Cambio’s “Aim High.”

Amy Hennig drew the vidgame nod for Sony’s “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception,” and the children’s TV award went to Leo Chu and Eric S. Garcia for Nick’s “Supah Ninjas” segment “Hero of the Shadows.”

Zooey Deschanel and Joel McHale hosted the Hollywood ceremonies. “Hi, welcome to nerd prom,” she said in her opening.

In previously announced kudos, Tate Taylor won the Paul Selvin award for “The Help,” presented by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. “Let’s strive for a place where people can tell any story they want,” Taylor said in his acceptance.

The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television went to Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick. “When you’re 27 you can’t imagine a career,” Herskovitz said from the stage. “When you’re 57 you can’t remember it.”

The Laurel Award for Screen went to Eric Roth, presented by David Fincher, who said of Roth, “He’s a procrastinator like no other.”

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