WGA on the way

Posted by · 9:19 am · January 8th, 2010

(from left) Quinton Aaron and Sandra Bullock in The Blind SideWith the DGA, SAG and PGA out of the way, it’s on to the fourth and final of the major guild announcements: the Writers Guild of America, which announces Monday.

The WGA has seemingly instituted a slash and burn campaign on a number of the year’s hopefuls this season.  Go here, here and here for the details.  Alright, “slash and burn” isn’t really accurate.  If WGA brass wants to play “in the club,” that’s their prerogative.  No sense getting worked up over it.  But suffice it to say, the field is fairly wide open now and, at the end of the day, no one should really bother putting too much prognosticative stock into what we get from the guild next week, seeing as the AMPAS writers branch is likely to go with a number of the fallen.

Still — it’s fun to guess at the picks, no?

From where I stand there are still 10 really decent bets, and maybe five or six more that wouldn’t surprise me if they made it through.  Best Picture contenders “The Hurt Locker,” “Precious” and “Up in the Air” are probably the easiest picks of the bunch, but what about the other seven?

In the adapted field, we can count out “An Education,” “District 9,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Road” and “A Single Man” for eligibility reasons.   Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, as well as Geoffrey Fletcher are, again, pretty safe.  After that, it’s a little tricky.

I’ve been saying for some time that “Crazy Heart” could catch on outside of the lead actor race and, on the heels of a USC Scripter nod and with a few key titles out of the way, I’d say Scott Cooper could very well find himself chalked up here.  Screeners were sent to the WGA, and not to put too much on it, but shipping screeners to the vast membership of this guild is very, very helpful.

“Julie & Julia” also showed up on members’ doorsteps and, call me crazy, it seems like just the sort of populist pick the 10,000 member-strong guild would make.  As does “The Blind Side,” frankly (though screeners for that were not shipped — then again, with $200 million in box office receipts, not to mention lots of guild screenings, we can assume plenty of members saw the film).  Screeners for “Star Trek” weren’t sent out either, but maybe it’ll still slide in.

But then there are a couple of films that were shipped — namely “The Informant!” and “Where the Wild Things Are” — that could jump up and surprise.  So it’s a bit open.

Anyway, I’d fill it out with the movie that won’t go away, so:

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Crazy Heart” (Scott Cooper)
“Julie & Julia” (Nora Ephron)
“Invictus” (Anthony Peckham)
“Precious” (Geoffrey Fletcher)
“Up in the Air” (Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner)

(other possibilities: “The Blind Side,” “The Informant!,” “Star Trek,” “Where the Wild Things Are”)

Next up, the original titles.  You can bank on “(500) Days of Summer” showing up here, as well as the aforementioned “The Hurt Locker.” I imagine the Coen brothers will do fine as well, though “A Serious Man” is a more demanding piece than “Burn After Reading” (which was nominated here last year when AMPAS passed).  Screeners were shipped.

I think “The Messenger” has a great shot here, but shipping 10,000 DVDs is a bit expensive for a company like Oscilloscope, so it didn’t happen.  Plenty of screenings were set up, however, so here’s hoping.  “The Hangover” also wasn’t sent out, so that might not be the smart choice many think it is, but again, populist films find a home here year in and year out.  Maybe it’ll be a fun surprise.

Speaking of populist entertainment, “Funny People” and “It’s Complicated” DID go out, but I don’t know.  The Judd Apatow film wasn’t on par (most would agree) with his prior two nominated scripts, while Nancy Meyers — really?  Well, she did get a Golden Globe nomination (not that that really matters).  But I think she might find her way to the list at the end of the day.

Oh, and “Bright Star” may have been ruled an adaptation (for whatever asinine reason) by the Academy, but the guild just so happens to (wisely) consider it original, so perhaps Jane Campion has a play here.  Screeners were not shipped.

If something else slides in instead, plug it in for my final pick, about which, all I’m saying is: “Titanic” was nominated.  (Though, FYI, screeners were not shipped, but at $1 billion and counting, I imagine they’ve seen it.)

My guesses:

Best Original Screenplay
“(500) Days of Summer” (Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber)
“Avatar” (James Cameron)
“The Hurt Locker” (Mark Boal)
“It’s Complicated” (Nancy Meyers)
“A Serious Man” (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)

(other possibilities: “Bright Star,” “Funny People,” “The Hangover,” “The Messenger”)

Your thoughts/predictions?  Speak up!

→ 13 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

13 responses so far

  • 1 1-08-2010 at 9:35 am

    drew roddy said...

    God, I hope Invictus doesn’t get in here. That film is mediocrity at its worst. I wouldn’t be too upset if Star Trek or WTWTA got in instead.

  • 2 1-08-2010 at 9:39 am

    Sam Juliano said...

    I would imagine that for original screenplay those five will indeed be cited, with THE HURT LOCKER and A SERIOUS MAN the only ones that could win. I’m a passionate AVATAR fan, but admittedly “screenplay” is not a component that will gather much support.

    I’d love to see STAR TREK go ahead of INVICTUS, as per your proposition of likelihood, but again I think you’ve nabbed the five that will get in, with UP IN THE AIR th eprobable winner.

    But BRIGHT STAR, which is my personal #1 film of the year, deserves a nod (and a win) the way I judge it.

    I am no fan of INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, but I’m curious as to why it hasn’t been broached here. Is it that much of a long-shot? Hmmm.

  • 3 1-08-2010 at 9:41 am

    Sam Juliano said...

    Indeed “Drew Roddy”, I couldn’t agree with you more. INVICTUS is dire in every sense. Let’s hope the DGA omission of Eastwood is a harbinger.

  • 4 1-08-2010 at 9:50 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Sam: Basterds is one of the films that is ineligible.

  • 5 1-08-2010 at 10:17 am

    Patrick said...

    Is there any scenario where the disqualification actually HELPS these screenplays? Nobody was talking about In The Loop seriously for anything until it wasn’t eligible for the WGA.

  • 6 1-08-2010 at 10:31 am

    Ivan said...


    (500) Days of Summer
    Bright Star
    *The Hurt Locker
    A Serious Man

    Julie & Julia
    Star Trek
    *Up in the Air
    Where the Wild Things Are

  • 7 1-08-2010 at 10:32 am

    Joe said...

    Kris – you’re not guessing “The Messenger”, even though you’ve got it in your Oscar predictions? It wouldn’t usually be odd, except for all of the WGA disqualifications this year.

  • 8 1-08-2010 at 11:06 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    By the way, guy,s Steve Pond has some more ineligible contenders:


    None that are on this list, though it’s interesting to note “Coraline” made the cut. Now I’m TOTALLY confused.

    Joe: The fact that screeners didn’t go to the membership — which is probably the best way for this film to even be seen — has me less optimistic.

  • 9 1-08-2010 at 1:30 pm

    aspect ratio said...

    I could absolutely see WGA nominating Where the Wild Things Are (and/or The Informant!), they usually are a bit hipper than the Academy is, a bit more adventurous and considering how many of the top contenders are ineligible, it wouldn’t surprise me.

    I do wonder how Coraline was eligible when Fantastic Mr Fox wasn’t though, especially knowing that Wes Anderson is a member/signatory for his all of other films and a past nominee.

  • 10 1-08-2010 at 2:27 pm

    Andrew2 said...

    I though Bright Star shipped screeners on November??

    Not that Campion has a hope here or at the oscars

  • 11 1-08-2010 at 2:34 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Specifically to WGA, I’m told no.

  • 12 1-08-2010 at 4:06 pm

    aspect ratio said...

    Bright Star doesn’t have a WGA note on IMDb, and considering it’s not a Hollywood/U.S. production maybe it’s not more complicated than it just not being eligible, like nearly everything else this year.

    Campion did win the WGA with The Piano though, so who knows?

  • 13 1-09-2010 at 3:34 pm

    Louis said...

    Something I noticed about script for Up in the Air is that Anna Kendrick’s character Natalie is the only one who doesn’t use profanity (the F word) throughout the movie. I wonder if there’s a subtle reason for this – even JK Simmons and Zack G. utter the F word in their mini scenes as well as Clooney, Bateman, Farmiga, plus most of the people who get canned. I think her character was intended to be a moral vehicle for values that Reitman was trying to portray with regards to life and how important people are? Or is it just a big random coincidence?