WGA nominees

Posted by · 12:05 pm · January 7th, 2009

WGAOriginal Screenplay
“Burn After Reading” (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
“Milk” (Dustin Lance Black)
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (Woody Allen)
“The Visitor” (Thomas McCarthy)
“The Wrestler” (Robert Siegel)

Adapted Screenplay
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Eric Roth; screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord; based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
“The Dark Knight” (Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan; screen story by Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer; based on characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics; Batman created by Bob Kane)
“Doubt” (John Patrick Shanley; based on his stage play)
“Frost/Nixon” (Peter Morgan; based on his stage play)
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Simon Beaufoy; based on the novel “Q and A” by Vikas Swarup)

“Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story” (Stefan Forbes, Noland Walker)
“Chicago 10 (Brett Morgan)
“Fuel” (Johnny O’Hara)
“Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson” (Alex Gibney; from the words of Hunter S. Thompson)
“Waltz With Bashir” (Ari Folman)

So, the lesson?  “The Dark Knight” is in this thing for real now.  As I said last night, this was going to be the real test.  “I wanted to see what you’d do.  And you didn’t disappoint.”  The rest of the adapted screenplay nominees will likely translate to Oscar 5/5, but I somehow doubt the Coen brothers will turn their guild mention into an Oscar berth.  Remember, the WGA likes comedies, so “Burn After Reading” was always going to have a leg up here.

More love for “The Wrestler,” and though it’s not entirely unexpected, I must say it was a pleasant surprise.  And we all figured Thomas McCarthy would find love with the same group that nomianted him for 2003’s “The Station Agent.”  He may or may not translate that into an Oscar nomination, but it’s certainly a good possibility.

And remember, animated films are not eligible, so “WALL-E” still has a shot at sliding in.  Maybe.  It is, indeed, the most critically acclaimed film of the year, but it’s a slightly different case than “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “Ratatouille,” I think.

Biggest snub: “Rachel Getting Married” (very odd, but frankly, a welcome exclusion)
Needed this one bad: “In Bruges” (the studio is trying hard); “The Reader” (that Scripter nod might have provided elevated hopes)

Anyway, I think Christopher Nolan’s DGA nomination is pretty much in the bag tomorrow.  I’d be tempted to call the Best Picture five a done deal after that, but we must always remember “Almost Famous and “Being John Malkovich,” two films that landed nominations from the PGA, DGA, WGA and a grabbed a SAG ensemble mention, yet failed to make into Oscar’s Best Picture five.  And “The Dark Knight” didn’t even get the SAG Ensemble nod, so “Doubt” is still lurking.  It ain’t over yet.

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42 responses so far

  • 1 1-07-2009 at 12:09 pm

    Barrett said...

    YAY DARK KNIGHT!!! So they have a PGA nom and a WGA nom…if tomorrow they get a DGA nom i think it’s lock for Best Picture nom. FUCK YEAH!! This makes me so happy!!

  • 2 1-07-2009 at 12:09 pm

    Matthew said...

    “The Wrestler” over “In Bruges”? Really? Come on!

  • 3 1-07-2009 at 12:10 pm

    Andrew said...

    “The Visitor” and “The Wrestler”, but no “Rachel Getting Married” or “WALL-E”? Hmm!

  • 4 1-07-2009 at 12:11 pm

    Mr. F said...

    hmm… I didn’t think Burn After Reading would make it…hmm

  • 5 1-07-2009 at 12:11 pm

    Anthony said...

    Great for Vicky and Visitor.

    No RGM? What?

    The Dark Knight starting to pick up some real steam.

  • 6 1-07-2009 at 12:12 pm

    Billyboy said...

    Congrats to Woody on his 19th WGA nod…

    And Burn After Reading? Now there’s a surprise…

  • 7 1-07-2009 at 12:13 pm

    Andrew said...

    No “Synecdoche” either! Not that I was expecting it, but it would have been nice.

  • 8 1-07-2009 at 12:15 pm

    Zach Baum said...

    Burn over In Bruges

    What the Fuck?

  • 9 1-07-2009 at 12:18 pm

    Allen said...

    I must say I was expecting Rachel Getting Married to be here, but this list is hardly profound. I think Kris summed it up a few weeks ago when writing about the female acting categories – but I think it applies to virtually all categories this year – there are 7 or 8 contenders in each and it’s a crapshoot what/who will get in beyond the 2-3 obvious locks.

  • 10 1-07-2009 at 12:24 pm

    head_wizard said...

    O yes on The Dark Knight! come on DGA!

  • 11 1-07-2009 at 12:25 pm

    Davidraider88 said...

    “Rachel Getting Married” got hosed.

  • 12 1-07-2009 at 12:33 pm

    Matthew said...

    “The Wrestler” over “Synecdoche”? Are you freaking kidding me?

  • 13 1-07-2009 at 12:36 pm

    Mr. F said...

    I feel that Rachel Getting Married and In Bruges can still make it to the oscars, seeing how fewer writers are academy members

  • 14 1-07-2009 at 12:36 pm

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    I would say “Burn After Reading” , “Milk”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, “The Visitor” , and “The Wrestler” over “Synecdoche”?

    But I digress.

  • 15 1-07-2009 at 12:38 pm

    actionman said...

    I’d have put Rachel Getting Married in there over The Visitor and Milk. Still haven’t seen Vicky yet…DVD at the end of the month. And no Synecdoche? F’ing blasphemy!

  • 16 1-07-2009 at 12:45 pm

    red_wine said...

    Here are the results from Indiwire’s poll

    Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York
    (18 votes, an absolute and utter landslide)

    The following 4 movies tied with 4 votes each

    Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married
    Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
    Martin McDonagh, In Bruges
    Joel and Ethan Coen, Burn After Reading

    Followed by

    Andrew Stanton, WALL-E (2 votes)
    Kelly Reichardt, Wendy and Lucy (2 votes)

    They actually failed to nominate Charlie Kaufman.

  • 17 1-07-2009 at 12:52 pm

    Lane said...

    I knew the Dark Knight would get in.

  • 18 1-07-2009 at 12:56 pm

    Davidraider88 said...


    Its indiewire, what did you expect?

  • 19 1-07-2009 at 1:27 pm

    red_wine said...

    Davidraider88, I expect quality & good taste from Indiwire and that’s what I got.

    The best scripts of the year will likely be ignored Oscar time.

  • 20 1-07-2009 at 1:28 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    Yes, ‘Doubt’ could very well slide in and be that 5th film — but I’d say ‘Knight’ is looking pretty good if it all goes according to plan tomorrow…

  • 21 1-07-2009 at 1:39 pm

    Hans said...

    Regarding Doubt getting in over The Dark Knight, the guild’s are important, but let’s not forget the storm of critics awards we endured last month, they still have some leverage. Over at Movie City News, they’re keeping a compiled list of every freaking Top 10, and TDK is sitting pretty at #2. No BP nominee in the last 5 years has been any lower than #15 (Michael Clayton), and right now Doubt is sitting at #31, so I’d say it has much more of an uphill battle than TDK.

    Come on, BP, HIT ME!

  • 22 1-07-2009 at 1:46 pm

    A.J said...

    Why does everyone always list the authors of the original material? Do they get awarded as well?

  • 23 1-07-2009 at 1:50 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Vicky is by far the best original screenplay of the year. I am surprised Happy Go Lucky got shut out here, or was that too much wishful thinking? Anyhow I believe the Oscar 5 will be:
    1- Rachel
    2- Vicky
    3- Milk
    4- Wall-E
    5- Happy Go Lucky.

  • 24 1-07-2009 at 1:55 pm

    THE Diego Ortiz said...

    Everywhere I read, TDK lines are getting quoted. “Here. We. Go.” – “Why So Serious?” – “I wanted to see what you’d do. And you didn’t disappoint.”

    Here’s another one: “This city just showed you it’s full of people ready to beleive in good [movies].”

  • 25 1-07-2009 at 2:29 pm

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    No script is by far the best of the year that has an omnicient narrator.

    /liked VCB

  • 26 1-07-2009 at 2:34 pm

    Chris said...

    You gotta remember; Almost Famous, Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich were not anywhere near as big as The Dark Knight. None of them became the highest grossing film since Titanic, and second highest grossing of all time domestically. That’s the thing that also pushes TDK’s chances at Best Picture. I’m expecting a DGA nomination for Nolan tomorrow, so I would pretty much say The Dark Knight is locked for a nomination.

    For the record, I thought Being John Malkovich was a bit overrated.

  • 27 1-07-2009 at 2:55 pm

    Robin said...

    Adaptation was not a DGA nominee.

  • 28 1-07-2009 at 3:05 pm

    JoesBO said...

    The original screenplay category is as crowded as it gets. I think “Wrestler”, “Visitor,” and “Milk” are actually all likely. “Burn” won’t make it, and even “Vicky” might have troubles.

    “Happy Go Lucky” still has a real shot as the Academy love them some Mike Leigh. Same goes for “Rachel Getting Married” which would still shock me if it doesn’t show up. Look for an outside surprise from “Wall-E.”

    And I think “The Wrestler” is the shocking potential dark horse in the Best Picture race…not “Doubt.”

  • 29 1-07-2009 at 3:14 pm

    Dean Treadway said...

    I’m sorry–I know I’m in the minority here, but I’ll never understand the love for THE DARK KNIGHT. I’m as tired of hearing about it now as I was with TITANIC and LORD OF THE RINGS. I’m not particularly a populist when it comes to these things. Could it be a reach-out to the viewers who made it the second biggest hit of all time? Or an attempt for all organizations to still seem relevant? With the WGA award, it does indeed seem to be in the race, and I suppose I’m happy for the film’s fans, who seem utterly hungry for their movie to somehow get the rubber stamped approval of quality. But isn’t a billion at the box office enough? I prefer it when awards highlight those things that need more money in their coffers–SYNECDOCHE, RACHEL, and so forth. I suppose I can take comfort that the Original script nominees constitute a much more interesting list than the Adapted list does. But I frankly see little adventurousness in both gatherings. Further proof that the movies are a dying medium, at least in terms of quality. Maybe it’s time for me stop to paying attention to them and to move on to more esoteric art forms for which their popularity doesn’t make a bit of difference. Giving THE DARK KNIGHT all these awards is like handing the asshole football captain both Prom King and Valedictorian awards all in the same year, just because he has the best pecs in the class. Ugh.

  • 30 1-07-2009 at 3:31 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    What would I do without my fact-checkers, living for the moment?

    Anyway, wasn’t there a third film that had all the major guild nods but missed in Best Pic. I thought it was Adaptation, but obviously not. Hmm…

  • 31 1-07-2009 at 3:33 pm

    Chad said...

    Hey Kris, did you see the article over at Spout yet that highlights the uphill battle for Wall-E since only ONE movie set in the future has ever been nominated for Best Picture. Interesting.

  • 32 1-07-2009 at 3:43 pm

    Sam said...

    And what about REVOLUTIONARY ROAD?

    It amazes me that no one is considering this adaptation as a serious contender…


  • 33 1-07-2009 at 3:46 pm

    JC said...

    Personally, though I generally tend to prefer the artier fare, I’ve got to say that I think it’s harder to pull off a genuinely good, large-scale dramatic spectacle-type film than a clever and/or “deep” art film. If you’re a halfway competent small-scale director with a relatively smart script and some good actors (preferably one a little better than good), and generate something in the way of atmosphere with your film, it’s pretty much a given that the critics will go ga-ga. Whereas critics, and (to a lesser but still notable degree) awards shows, frequently take an adversarial attitude with regards to films that allow entertainment value to mingle with art. So when something hits it big with both the critics and moviegoers, there’s something to be said for that.

    Which is to say, the “prom king” certainly doesn’t have to win all the awards, but it’s entirely legitimate for it to be in the running with those in rented tuxedos.

  • 34 1-07-2009 at 3:48 pm

    Edward L. said...

    Kris, re that third film… I’m not sure if it’s the one you’re thinking of, but I think Avalon got PGA, DGA and WGA nods (it won the WGA) but of course missed a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.

  • 35 1-07-2009 at 5:20 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Dean: You have a seriously messed up way of looking at movies. And not just because you didn’t like TDK that much. While I don’t understand it, there are some people out there who share your sentiment, so I’ll let that go.

    But some comments that struck me…

    ” But isn’t a billion at the box office enough?”

    Dean, you seem to think that high grossing movies shouldn’t be strongly considered for an Oscar for that reason only. Dean, a quality film is a quality film. What you are suggesting would in a way corrupt the Oscars. They are meant to honor and celebrate the best films of the year, not put a gauge on the quality of a film because this or that film did better at the box office than this or that film. That’s not how it should work.

    “I prefer it when awards highlight those things that need more money in their coffers.”

    Dean, I know what you are saying here. Sure, I also love to see these small, low budget, yet quality films garner awards success. It’s kind of like like pulling for the underdog in sports. But again, a good movie is a good movie.

    “Further proof that the movies are a dying medium, at least in terms of quality.”

    Proof. What proof. Where is this proof you speak of? Just because you didn’t find any greatness in one lone film and now it is receiving awards and nominations? Just because you didn’t find any greatness in one single film, a film that nearly everyone on the planet liked, this is proof that quality films are a dying art form? This is completely absurd. If you expect nearly every year in cinema to be like 1975 or ’76, then film as an art form has always been dead to you. Did you see any movies from last year? Even if you didn’t like any single one of them, you should know that nearly evey single critic alive last year said it was a very good year in film, for some it was even a banner year. Yet you still think you have proof that film as an art is dead.

    And here is the kicker…

    “Maybe it’s time for me stop to paying attention to them and to move on to more esoteric art forms for which their popularity doesn’t make a bit of difference.”

    Even if you could stretch some wording around and say that you did have some kind of argument before, it just fell flat on its face here. Earlier you said you liked to see smaller movies win awards. While certainly not an exclusive preference for smaller films, you clearly showed a preference for them during awards season. In other words you are clearly saying that popularity matters to you. Just because it doesn’t matter to you in the conventional sense, you are still saying that it matters. Yet later, you go on to say that you want to move to an art form where popularity doesn’t make a bit of difference. You clearly show here how truly pompous and pretentious you are (and yes those words are warranted and validated). Again, it’s fine you didn’t really like TDK, but then lamenting its awards success only because it is popular and did well at the box office holds no reasonable grounds what so ever. I also prefer smaller movies, but only for the reason that I believe they are generally better films than mainstream movies. I don’t let the general populous tell me what movies to love, unlike you.

    Again, last year was a great year for movies, and you should have loved this year, because for the most part everyone thought that there were some great independent movies out there. Instead, you say that film is a dying art form because nearly everyone, critics and audiences alike, agree that a certain film is very good. Since you are so single minded and think that you are above everyone else, you should join your little esoteric art group.

  • 36 1-07-2009 at 5:22 pm

    Ben M. said...

    Just last year Diving Bell got PGA, WGA, and DGA noms (no SAG though) and missed oscar BP.

    I think Doubt is still in the mix, and with Wall-E being ineligible for all these guilds I still feel that may have the best chance to sneak in (certainly some voters will discount it completely, but it also strikes me as a film that has some passionate support that will translate to #1 votes) it is kinda annoying that we may not really be able to knows its strength within the industry until nomination morning.

  • 37 1-07-2009 at 9:10 pm

    Robin said...

    Diving Bell did indeed get PGA, WGA and DGA, however it missed both the SAG and ACE, I expect TDK to turn up at the latter which would make it’s snub about as bad as Almost Famous’ should that happen. And that film didn’t have the ASC nomination.

  • 38 1-08-2009 at 5:00 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Well, at least the “Rachel Getting Married” snub shows they’re not entirely voting on autopilot. To me, it’s a film where anything that works does so in spite of the script, rather than because of it.

    Happy to see “The Visitor” and “The Wrestler” there, though I have a feeling the Academy’s five in the original category will look somewhat different.

    “WALL-E” and “Happy-Go-Lucky” should, I think, make it in, at the expense of “Burn After Reading” and … what? The WGA have really mixed things up a little in this race and I’m glad for it.

  • 39 1-08-2009 at 5:04 am

    slayton said...

    Where the HELL is “Rachel Getting Married” – the best screenplay of the year?

    “Burn After Reading” was such lazy, lazy filmmaking – especially after “No Country for Old Men”. That film is a waste of time.

  • 40 1-08-2009 at 5:05 am

    slayton said...

    I’m expecting the Oscar lineup for Original to be:
    Vicky Cristina Barcelona
    Rachel Getting Married
    either The Visitor, Synecdoche or In Bruges