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WGA winnows award-eligible screenplays

Guild sends out ballots with 112 scripts; 'Django,' 'Les Miserables' excluded

The Writers Guild of America has remained rigorous on qualifying screenplays for its awards with more than a dozen notable exclusions this year including Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and William Nicholson’s “Les Miserables.”

Ballots began arriving in recent days in member mailboxes for voting on 112 eligible screenplays — 44 in the adapted category and 68 in the original category.

The guild’s restrictions require that scripts be produced under WGA jurisdiction or under a collective bargaining agreement in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.K. and that the scripts be formally submitted for consideration.

That leaves several notable candidates out of the WGA awards mix, including “Amour,” “Brave,” “Django Unchained,” “The Impossible,” “Middle of Nowhere,” “Les Miserables,” “Seven Psychopaths,” “Take this Waltz” and “Your Sister’s Sister” in the original category. Exclusions in the adapted field include “Les Miserables,” “Anna Karenina,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Intouchables,” “Quartet” and “Rust and Bone.”

The Hitfix site first reported the exclusions Saturday.

The WGA had no immediate comment on the exclusions, but the restrictions on eligibility are a longstanding practice at the WGA — and more restrictive than those of other guilds

Leaders of the WGA, which has been the ultimate arbiter of screenplay credits since 1941, have said in past years that they don’t intend to loosen the qualifying rules.

High-profile original screenplays that are eligible include Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” David Chase’s “Not Fade Away,” Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” and Mark Boal’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” Notable adaptations that are eligible include Chris Terrio’s “Argo,” Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” David Magee’s “Life of Pi,” Tony Kushner’s “Lincoln,” David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” and Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40.”

Wednesday’s Golden Globe nominations for screenplay went to “Argo,” “Django Unchained,” “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty”

Christopher Nolan brought up the exclusion issue at the WGA Awards show in February, 2011 in his acceptance speech for winning the original screenplay trophy for “Inception” when he asserted that he had been “crushed” when he found out that his “Memento” script — which was Oscar-nommed — was ineligible for the WGA Awards a decade ago.

“Nothing is more important than recognition by my peers,” he added. “I hope next year the person who stands up here can give thanks without qualification.”

“Inception” was nommed for an Oscar but lost out to “The King’s Speech,” which wasn’t eligible for a WGA award. This year’s WGA winners — Woody Allen for original screenplay for “Midnight in Paris” and Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for adapted for “The Descendants” — also won Oscars.

The WGA is set to announce its nominees on Jan. 3 and its awards show will be held Feb. 17 in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.

Other original screenplays on the ballot — “10 Years,” “Act of Valor,” “Any Day Now,” Arbitrage,” ‘As Luck Would Have It,” “The Bay,” “The Cabin in the Woods,” “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” “Chasing Mavericks,” “Chronicle,” “Crooked Arrows,” “Damsels in Distress,” “Darling Companion,” “The Dictator,” “The Divide,” “Downtown Express,” “End of Watch,” “The First Time,” “The Five Year Engagement,” “Flight,” “For a Good Time Call,” “For Greater Glory,” “Friends with Kids,” “Fun Size,” “The Good Doctor,” “The Guilt Trip,” “Haywore,” “Hit & Run,” “Hope Springs,” “House at the End of the Street,” “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” “Keep the Lights On,” “Lola Versus,” “Looper,” “The Magic of Belle Isle,” “Monday Morning,” “Nobody Walks,” “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” “The Oranges,” “Parental Guidance,” “People Like Us,” “Phantom,” “The Possession,” “Promised Land,” “The Raven,” “Ruby Sparks,” “Safe,” “Safe House,” “Safety Not Guaranteed,” “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” “Smashed,” “Stand Up Guys,” “Ted,” “This Means War,” “Touchback,” Trouble with the Curve,” “Wanderlust,” “The Watch,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “Woman Thou Art Loosed” and “Won’t Back Down.”

Other adapted candidates: “360,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “The Avengers,” “Bachelorette,” “Being Flynn,” “Bernie,” “The Bourne Legacy,” “The Bronx Bull,” Cloud Atlas,” Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” “The Expendables 2,” “The Grey,” “Hitchcock,” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “The Hunger Games,” “Jack Reacher,” “KIller Joe,” “Killing them Softly,” “Lawless,” “Men In Black 3,” “Mirror Mirror,” “On the Road,” “One for the Money,” “The Paperboy,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Pitch Perfect,” “Promotheus,” “Red Tails,” “Savages,” “The Sessions,” “Skyfall,” “Sleepwalk with Me,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Sparkle,” “Taken 2” and “Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2.”

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