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WGA announces award nominations

Guild unveils original, adapted screenplay selections

Opting for a mix of mainstream and specialty titles, members of the Writers Guild of America have nominated John Gatins for “Flight,” Rian Johnson for “Looper,” Paul Thomas Anderson for “The Master,” Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for “Moonrise Kingdom” and Mark Boal for “Zero Dark Thirty” for the guild’s original screenplay award.

Noms for adaptations include Chris Terrio’s “Argo,” David Magee’s “Life of Pi,” Tony Kushner’s “Lincoln,” David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” and Stephen Chbosky for “Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

Russell, who also directed “Playbook,” said, “I’m very proud to get this recognition from my peers because I was a writer long before I became a director. I spent five years working on the script.”

The WGA, which announced the noms Friday, will disclose the winners Feb. 17 in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York based on voting by the 12,000 guild members.

The noms were chosen from 112 eligible screenplays — 44 in the adapted category and 68 in the original category. Unlike other guilds, the WGA excludes scripts that were not produced under its jurisdiction or that of a foreign guild such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and William Nicholson’s “Les Miserables.”

Other notable WGA exclusions include The Impossible,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Anna Karenina” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

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

Even with guild exclusions, the WGA Awards have been a fairly reliable indicator for Oscar winners in the writing categories. Woody Allen won the Oscar last year for “Midnight in Paris” in the original category, in which the WGA award and Oscars had matched in 12 of the past 18 years. Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash won the adapted screenplay Award for “The Descendants,” with category winners matching in 13 of the last 18 years.

The Oscar noms will be unveiled Thursday. The writers branch composes about 7% of the Academy’s voting membership, or 401 of 6,378.

High-profile original screenplays that were eligible but not nominated include David Chase’s “Not Fade Away,” Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” and Matt Damon-John Krasinsky’s “Promised Land.”

Allen has won the WGA award five times.

Notable adaptations that were eligible include Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40” and Peter Jackson-Phillipa Boyens’ “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

Three of the six docs nominated —

Kirby Dick’s “The Invisible War,” Alex Gibney’s “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” and Malik Bendejelloul’s “Searching for Sugar Man” — have been shortilisted for the Oscar,

Ken Burns’ “Central Park Five” also received a WGA nod as did

“We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists”by Brian Knappenberger and “West of Memphis,” written by Amy Berg & Billy McMillin.

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