The award, named after the late general counsel to the WGA, is given each year to the WGA member whose script “best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties that are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere and to which Selvin devoted his professional life.”
Nagle will be recognized at the 2015 Writers Guild Awards L.A. ceremony on Feb. 14 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
“Margaret Nagle’s script for ‘The Good Lie’ raises profound issues of resilience and survival in the face of unspeakable atrocities,” said WGAW president Christopher Keyser. “The struggles of the Lost Boys of Sudan in her film remind us how desperately all human beings strive for freedom. But what makes Nagle’s screenplay particularly heart-wrenching is that the civil war in Sudan was a humanitarian crisis of epic proportion, and yet many people were not even aware of it. In shining a light on the Lost Boys, Nagle illuminates their struggle for freedom and the paradoxical complexity of adjusting to it in the foreign culture of America.”
Nagle, who has won two WGA awards, said that the honor comes as a time when free speech, protection of the lives of children and policies toward refugees of war are being challenged on a daily basis.
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“Writing ‘The Good Lie’ brought me face to face with the very highest and lowest parts of the human spirit, as well as the remarkable humanitarian organizations who risk their lives on a daily basis, and the Lost Boys and Girls themselves, who I am honored to call my friends,” she said. “To be a member of a guild that recognizes the fundamental importance of human rights means everything to me. I’m forever grateful to the WGA West and to everything Paul Selvin did to help this guild realize those rights.”
Warner Bros. released “The Good Lie,” starring Reese Witherspoon,” in the fall. Directed by Philippe Falardeau, “The Good Lie” is the fictional story of four Sudanese orphans (played by Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal and Kuoth Wiel) who walk a thousand miles from war-torn Sudan to a Kenyan refugee camp and ultimately relocate to the United States.
Previous recipients of the Paul Selvin Award include Tony Kushner, Dustin Lance Black, Tate Taylor, Eric Roth, Michael Mann, Larry Karaszewski & Scott Alexander, Robert Eisele & Jeffrey Porro, Anthony Peckham and Alex Gibney.