“The Big Short” and “Spotlight” won the Writers Guild of America’s top screenplay trophies Saturday, while the fourth season of  “Veep” and the final season of “Mad Men” took the top TV series awards.

“The Big Short,” a darkly comic look at the 2008 financial meltdown, won for best adapted screenplay for Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, while “Spotlight” took the original screenplay award for Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy.

The guild’s 68th annual awards, based on voting by the 12,000 members of the  WGA, were announced Saturday in concurrent ceremonies in Los Angeles at the Century Plaza and the Edison Ballroom in New York City.

“Better Call Saul” won the award for top TV drama episode for the “Uno” segment written by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. “Silicon Valley” took the TV comedy episode for the “Sand Hill Shuffle” episode, written by Clay Tarver.

The award for “Spotlight,” which details the Boston Globe’s investigation into pedophile priests, was first announced in New York as the WGA continued its tradition of not being able to coordinate the announcement of its two top screenplay awards.

“Spotlight,” which is also nominated for an Oscar, won over the scripts for “Bridge of Spies,” “Sicario,” “Straight Outta Compton” and “Trainwreck.”

McCarthy thanked Open Road “for letting us make the movie we wanted to make” and saluted the Globe reporters and survivors of sexual abuse who are the heart of the story.

In Los Angeles 30 minutes later, “Spotlight” was announced as the winner. “It’s humbling to be here in front of such great storytellers,” said Singer.

“Silicon Valley” star Kumail Nanjiani and host Patton Oswalt
at the 68th Annual Writers Guild Awards (Photo by Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock)

He also thanked Boston Globe columnist Ellen McNamara for being among the first journalists to write about the abuse scandal and abuse survivor Phil Saviano, who was attending the event.

“The Big Short,” which is nominated for an Oscar, won over scripts for “Carol,” “The Martian,” “Steve Jobs” and “Trumbo.”

“This was a really horrible tragedy,” McKay said of the 2008 financial crisis in his acceptance. “Millions of people lost their homes and millions of people lost their jobs.”

McKay praised the WGA as a union, noting people’s power has been diminished over the last four decades because of the decline in union membership.

The WGA screenplay nominations did not include four Oscar nominees — the adaptations of “Brooklyn” and “Room” and the original scripts for “Ex Machina” and “Inside Out” — which were excluded because the scripts were not produced under WGA jurisdiction.

“The Imitation Game” won the WGA Award and the Oscar last year for adapted screenplay. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won the WGA trophy for original screenplay while “Birdman” — which was ineligible for a WGA award — won the Oscar.

Even with exclusions, the WGA winners have a reliable track record of predicting the Oscar winners — which have matched in 15 of the last 21 years in adapted and 13 of the last 21 in original. The writers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has 416 members or about 6% of the total membership.

In Los Angeles, host Patton Oswalt kicked off the ceremonies by saying he would not make jokes about the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, then said, “Scalia was born in 1936 and has been there ever since.”

Elaine May accepts her lifetime achievement honor at Saturday’s Writers Guild Awards (Photo by Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock)

Alex Gibney’s “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” won the documentary award. In New York, he dedicated the award to “the people willing to speak up against human rights abuses” including WGA member (and former Scientologist) Paul Haggis.

The film won over “Being Canadian,” “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and Amy Berg’s “Prophet’s Prey.”

FX’s “Fargo” won the longform adapted award for its second season and National Geographic’s “Saints and Strangers” won for longform original. “General Hospital” took the daytime drama trophy.

Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers”  won the animated award for the “Housetrap” episode written by Dan Fybel over three segments of “The Simpsons,” another segment of “Bob’s Burgers” and one of “Bojack Horseman.”

Oswalt received laughs throughout the evening with such quips as “We just got a text from Michael Cimino saying ‘Let’s pace it up a bit.'”

Elaine May received the reaction from her acceptance of the Screen Laurel award, joking, “I thought this was going to be in a restaurant with all the writers dressed in brown and complaining.”

At the WGA East ceremony, hosted by Michael Ian Black, film veteran Richard LaGravenese was feted with the Ian McLellan Hunter kudo for career achievement.

In his emotional remarks, the scribe admitted that he was “in a really, really f—– up, bad depression” when he got the call from the guild informing him he’d been selected for the award.

The screenwriter who made a splash with 1991’s “The Fisher King” spoke of his frequent battles with crippling doubts about his abilities and the struggle to remain true to his voice as a writer. He closed by invoking the myth of Sisyphus and called on the crowd to forget about the commercial fate of their work and focus on being as creative as possible.

“Love the pushing of the rock,” he said. “Love the struggle. Love the pushing and the creating.”

Here is a full list of winners and nominees:


• “Bridge of Spies,” Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen; DreamWorks Pictures
• “Sicario,” Written by Taylor Sheridan; Lionsgate
• “Spotlight,” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy; Open Road Films WINNER
• “Straight Outta Compton,” Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff; Universal Pictures
• “Trainwreck,” Written by Amy Schumer; Universal Pictures

• “The Big Short,” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay; Based on the Book by Michael Lewis; Paramount Pictures  WINNER
• “Carol,” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy; Based on the Novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith; The Weinstein Company
• “The Martian,” Screenplay by Drew Goddard; Based on the Novel by Andy Weir; Twentieth Century Fox
• “Steve Jobs,” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin; Based on the Book by Walter Isaacson; Universal Pictures
• “Trumbo,” Written by John McNamara; Based on the Biography by Bruce Cook; Bleecker Street Media

• “Being Canadian,” Written by Robert Cohen; Candy Factory Films
“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” Written by Alex Gibney; HBO Documentary Films  WINNER
• “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” Written by Brett Morgen; HBO Documentary Films
• “Prophet’s Prey,” Written by Amy J. Berg; Showtime Documentary Films


• “The Americans,” Written by Peter Ackerman, Joshua Brand, Joel Fields, Stephen Schiff, Lara Shapiro, Joe Weisberg, Tracey Scott Wilson, Stuart Zicherman; FX
• “Better Call Saul,” Written by Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, Bradley Paul, Thomas Schnauz, Gordon Smith; AMC
• “Game of Thrones,” Written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, Dave Hill, D.B. Weiss; HBO
• “Mad Men,” Written by Lisa Albert, Semi Chellas, Jonathan Igla, Janet Leahy, Erin Levy, Tom Smuts, Robert Towne, Matthew Weiner, Carly Wray; AMC  WINNER
• “Mr. Robot,” Written by Kyle Bradstreet, Kate Erickson, Sam Esmail, David Iserson, Randolph Leon, Adam Penn, Matt Pyken; USA

• “Broad City,” Written by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, Naomi Ekperigin, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Chris Kelly, Anthony King, Jen Statsky; Comedy Central
• “Silicon Valley,” Written by Amy Aniobi, Alec Berg, Mike Judge, Carrie Kemper, Sonny Lee, Dan Lyons, Carson Mell, Dan O’Keefe, Clay Tarver, Ron Weiner; HBO
• “Transparent,” Written by Arabella Anderson, Bridget Bedard, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster, Ethan Kuperberg, Ali Liebegott, Our Lady J, Faith Soloway, Jill Soloway; Amazon Studios
• “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Written by Emily Altman, Jack Burditt, Robert Carlock, Azie Mira Dungey, Tina Fey, Lauren Gurganous, Charla Lauriston, Sam Means, Dan Rubin, Meredith Scardino, Allison Silverman, Lon Zimmet; Netflix
• “Veep,” Written by Simon Blackwell, Jon Brown, Kevin Cecil, Roger Drew, Peter Fellows, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Sean Gray, Callie Hersheway, Armando Iannucci, Sean Love, Ian Martin, Georgia Pritchett, David Quantick, Andy Riley, Tony Roche, Will Smith; HBO  WINNER

• “Better Call Saul,” Written by Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, Bradley Paul, Thomas Schnauz, Gordon Smith; AMC
• “Bloodline,” Written by Jonathan Glatzer, Carter Harris, Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler, Addison McQuigg, Arthur Phillips, Jeff Shakoor, Daniel Zelman; Netflix
• “The Last Man On Earth,” Written by Andy Bobrow, Liz Cackowski, Erik Durbin, Will Forte, Kira Kalush, Matt Marshall, Tim McAuliffe, David Noel, Erica Rivinoja, John Solomon, Emily Spivey; Fox
• “Mr. Robot,” Written by Kyle Bradstreet, Kate Erickson, Sam Esmail, David Iserson, Randolph Leon, Adam Penn, Matt Pyken; USA  WINNER
• “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Written by Emily Altman, Jack Burditt, Robert Carlock, Azie Mira Dungey, Tina Fey, Lauren Gurganous, Charla Lauriston, Sam Means, Dan Rubin, Meredith Scardino, Allison Silverman, Lon Zimmet; Netflix

• “American Horror Story: Hotel,” Written by Brad Falchuk, John J. Gray, Todd Kubrak, Crystal Liu, Ned Martel, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Jennifer Salt, James Wong; FX
• “Flesh and Bone,” Written by Bronwyn Garrity, Jami O’Brien, Adam Rapp, Moira Walley-Beckett, David Wiener; Starz
• “Saints & Strangers,” Written by Seth Fisher, Walon Green, Chip Johannessen, Eric Overmyer; National Geographic Channel  WINNER
• “Sons of Liberty,” Written by Stephen David, Kirk Ellis, David C. White; History Channel

• “Fargo,” Written by Steve Blackman, Bob DeLaurentis, Noah Hawley, Ben Nedivi, Matt Wolpert, Based on the film Fargo; FX  WINNERS
• “The Red Tent,” Written by Elizabeth Chandler and Anne Meredith, Based on the book The Red Tent by Anita Diamant; Lifetime
• “Show Me A Hero,” Written by David Simon, William F. Zorzi, Based on the book by Lisa Belkin; HBO

• “Back to Reality” (Weight), Written by Daryn Strauss; weighttheseries.com  WINNER
• “Born This Way” (Anyone But Me), Written by Susan Miller; hulu.com
• “Chapter Two: Phoebe” (Heroes Reborn: Dark Matters), Written by Zach Craley; nbc.com WINNER
• “Part 8” (Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462), Written by L. Signorino & Mike Zunic; amc.com
• “The Summer of Love, Part 1: Meet Charlie” (Aquarius), Written by Mike Moore & David Reed; nbc.com

• “Gayle Makin’ Bob Sled” (Bob’s Burgers), Written by Lizzie Molyneux & Wendy Molyneux; Fox
• “Halloween of Horror” (The Simpsons), Written by Carolyn Omine; Fox
• “Hank After Dark” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Kelly Galuska; Netflix
• “Housetrap” (Bob’s Burgers), Written by Dan Fybel; Fox  WINNER
• “Sky Police” (The Simpsons), Written by Matt Selman; Fox
• “Walking Big & Tall” (The Simpsons), Written by Michael Price; Fox

• “Explosivos” (Narcos), Written by Andy Black; Netflix
• “International Assassin” (The Leftovers), Written by Damon Lindelof & Nick Cuse; HBO
• “Mind’s Eye” (The Good Wife), Written by Robert King & Michelle King; CBS
• “Mother’s Mercy” (Game of Thrones), Written for Television by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; HBO
• “Person to Person” (Mad Men), Written by Matthew Weiner; AMC
• “Uno” (Better Call Saul), Written by Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould; AMC  WINNER

• “Alive in Tucson” (The Last Man On Earth), Written by Will Forte; Fox
• “Connection Lost” (Modern Family), Written by Megan Ganz & Steven Levitan; ABC
• “Joint Session” (Veep), Teleplay by Simon Blackwell & Georgia Pritchett, Story by Armando Iannucci & Simon Blackwell & Georgia Pritchett; HBO
• “Racegate” (Maron), Written by Dave Anthony; IFC
• “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Gun” (black-ish), Written by Peter Saji; ABC
“Sand Hill Shuffle” (Silicon Valley), Written by Clay Tarver; HBO WINNER

• “Conan,” Writers: Jose Arroyo, Josh Comers, Dan Cronin, Andres du Bouchet, Jessie Gaskell, Michael Gordon, Brian Kiley, Laurie Kilmartin, Rob Kutner, Todd Levin, Levi MacDougall, Conan O’Brien, Matt O’Brien, Andy Richter, Frank Smiley, Brian Stack, Mike Sweeney; TBS
• “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Writers: Dan Amira, Steve Bodow, Travon Free, Hallie Haglund, Elliott Kalan, Matt Koff, Adam Lowitt, Dan McCoy, Jo Miller, Zhubin Parang, Owen Parsons, Daniel Radosh, Lauren Sarver, Jon Stewart, Delaney Yeager; Comedy Central
• “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Writers; Michael Brumm, Nate Charny, Aaron Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Cullen Crawford, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Ariel Dumas, Glenn Eichler, Gabriel Gronli, Barry Julien, Jay Katsir, Daniel Kibblesmith, Matt Lappin, Opus Moreschi, Tom Purcell, Jen Spyra, Brian Stack; CBS
• “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Writers: Scott Carter, Adam Felber, Matt Gunn, Brian Jacobsmeyer, Jay Jaroch, Chris Kelly, Bill Maher, Billy Martin, Danny Vermont; HBO  WINNER
• “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Writers: Jonathan Adler, Patrick Borelli, Gerard Bradford, Luke Cunningham, Mike DiCenzo, Mike Drucker, Jess Dweck, Dicky Eagan, Caroline Eppright, Jimmy Fallon, John Haskell, JR Havlan, Josh Lieb, Arthur Meyer, A.D. Miles, Chase Mitchell, Dan Opsal, Gavin Purcell, Jon Rineman, Albertina Rizzo, David Young; NBC

• “Inside Amy Schumer,” Head Writer: Jessi Klein Writers: Hallie Cantor, Kim Caramele, Kyle Dunnigan, Jon Glaser, Kurt Metzger, Christine Nangle, Dan Powell, Tami Sagher, Amy Schumer; Comedy Central  WINNER
• “Key & Peele,” Written by Colton Dunn, Rebecca Drysdale, Keegan-Michael Key, Phil Augusta Jackson, Jay Martel, Jordan Peele, Ian Roberts, Alex Rubens, Charlie Sanders, Rich Talarico; Comedy Central
• “Saturday Night Live,” Head Writer: Colin Jost, Rob Klein, Bryan Tucker Writers: James Anderson, Jeremy Beiler, Megan Callahan, Michael Che, Mikey Day, Steve Higgins, Zach Kanin, Chris Kelly, Erik Kenward, Dave McCary, Dennis McNicholas, Lorne Michaels, Claire Mulaney, Mike O’Brien, Josh Patten, Alison Rich, Katie Rich, Tim Robinson, Natasha Rothwell, Nick Rutherford, Meredith Scardino, Sarah Schneider, Pete Schultz, Streeter Seidell, John Solomon, Kent Sublette; NBC

• The 69th Annual Tony Awards, Written by Dave Boone; Special Material by Adam Goldman, Carol Leifer; CBS
• 2014 Kennedy Center Honors, Written by Lewis Friedman, Sara Lukinson, Nell Scovell, George Stevens, Jr., Michael Stevens; CBS
• 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards, Written by Benji Aflalo, Wayne Federman, Marika Sawyer, Frank Sebastiano, Erik Weiner; IFC
• Amy Schumer: Live at The Apollo, Written by Amy Schumer; HBO
• Jimmy Kimmel Live: 10th Annual After The Oscars Special, Written by Jack Allison, Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, Joelle Boucai, Greg Dorris, Gary Greenberg, Josh Halloway, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Jimmy Kimmel, Bess Kalb, Jeff Loveness, Molly McNearney, Danny Ricker, Joe Strazzullo, Bridger Winegar; ABC  WINNER
• Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, Written by James Anderson, Fred Armisen, Tina Fey, Steve Higgins, Chris Kelly, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, John Mulaney, Paula Pell, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Tom Schiller, Sarah Schneider, Marc Shaiman, Michael Shoemaker, Robert Smigel, Emily Spivey, Kent Sublette, Jorma Taccone, Bryan Tucker; NBC

• “Hollywood Game Night,” Head Writer: Grant Taylor; Writers: Michael Agbabian, Alex Chauvin, Ann Slichter, Dwight D. Smith; NBC WINNER
• “Jeopardy!,” Written by John Duarte, Harry Friedman, Mark Gaberman, Deborah Griffin, Michele Loud, Robert McClenaghan, Jim Rhine, Steve D. Tamerius, Billy Wisse; ABC

• “The Bold and the Beautiful,” Head Writers: Bradley P. Bell, Michael Minnis Writers: Rex M. Best, Shannon Bradley, Adam Dusevoir, Tracey Ann Kelly, Patrick Mulcahey, Mark Pinciotti, Michele Val Jean; CBS
• “General Hospital,” Writers: Ron Carlivati, Anna Theresa Cascio, Andrea Archer Compton, Suzanne Flynn, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Korte, Daniel James O’Connor, Elizabeth Page, Jean Passanante, Katherine Schock, Scott Sickles, Chris Van Etten; ABC  WINNER

“Gortimer, Ranger and Mel vs. The Endless Night” (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street), Written by Gretchen Enders & Aminta Goyel; Amazon Studios  WINNER
• “Girl Meets I am Farkle” (Girl Meets World), Written by Mark Blutman; Disney Channel
• “Gortimer and the Surprise Signature” (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street), Written by Garrett Frawley & Brian Turner; Amazon Studios
• “Gortimer vs The Relentless Rainbow of Joy” (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street), Written by David Anaxagoras and Luke Matheny; Amazon Studios
• “Ranger vs. The Fabled Flower of Normal Street” (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street), Written by Laurie Parres; Amazon Studios

“Descendants,” Written by Josann McGibbon & Sara Parriott; Disney Channel  WINNER
• “American Terrorist” (Frontline), Written by Thomas Jennings; PBS  WINNER
• “Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS

• “Firestone and the Warlord” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria; PBS
• “The Forgotten Plague” (American Experience), Written by Chana Gazit; PBS
• “The Great Math Mystery” (Nova), Written by Daniel McCabe; PBS  WINNER
• “Secrets, Politics and Torture” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS

  “Cuba” (60 Minutes), Written by Scott Pelley, Nicole Young, Oriana Zill de Granados, Andy Court and Robert Anderson; CBS News  WINNER
• “Yogi Berra Tribute,” Written by Gerald Mazza; CBS Newspath

• “The Storm After the Storm” (60 Minutes), Written by Sharyn Alfonsi, Michael Rey and Oriana Zill de Granados; CBS News WINNER


• “Marking the End of Vietnam: 40 Years Later,” Written by Andrew Evans; ABC News Radio WINNER
• “Remembering New York Icons,” Written by Thomas A. Sabella; CBS Radio News WINNER
• “Showtop,” Written by Chris Barry; ABC News Radio
• “World News This Week, January 9, 2015,” Written by Andrew Evans; ABC News Radio

• “Death of a Baseball Icon,” Written by Andrew Evans; ABC News Radio
• “Passages,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News  WINNER


• “Elementary Promos,” Written by Molly J. Neylan; CBS
• “CBS On-Air Promos,” Written by Jessica Katzenstein; CBS
• “The McCarthys and Under the Dome Promos,” Written by Erial Tompkins; CBS WINNER


• Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Story by Marc-Alexis Cote, Hugo Giard, Corey May, Jeffrey Yohalem; Narrative Director Corey May; Lead Writer Jeffrey Yohalem; Assistant Narrative Director Melissa MacCoubrey; Scriptwriters Richard Farrese, Russell Lees, Mark Llabres Hill, James Nadiger, Jared Schincariol, Travis Stout, Ceri Young; Additional Writing Judith Flanders, C.J. Kershner, Gabrielle Shrager, Danny Wallace; Additional Senior Writer Paul Monk; Ubisoft
• Pillars of Eternity, Lead Writer Eric Fenstermaker; Writers Carrie Patel, Olivia Veras; Additional Writing Chris Avellone, Jeff Husges, Matt MacLean, Jorge Salgado, Josh Sawyer, George Ziets; Obsidian Entertainment
• Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lead Narrative Designer John Stafford; Narrative Designer Cameron Suey; Lead Writer Rhianna Pratchett; Additional Writer Philip Gelatt; Microsoft WINNER

• The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Lead Writer Marcin Blacha; Lead English Writer Borys Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz; Writers Arkadiusz Borowik, Aleksandra Motyka, Bartosz Ochman, Karolina Stachyra, Jakub Szamalek; Additional Writers Marcin Batylda, Michal Galek, Tomasz Marchewka, Robert Oglodzinski, Rafal Praszalek, Artur Sliwinski, Stanislaw Swiecicki, Pawel Zych; Story Marcin Blacha, Jakub Szamalek; CD Projekt RED