‘Avatar,’ ‘Star Trek’ among WGA nominees

Posted by · 11:07 am · January 11th, 2010

Michelle Rodriguez in AvatarAnd, there we are. “Avatar” gets a nomination for best writing from a 10,000 member-strong guild and plenty will find reason to argue with it. But let’s look at the rest.

“The Hangover” managed to get a nomination in the original screenplay field in the wake of a number of eligibility rulings on some top contenders. I’m most excited for Scott Cooper and “Crazy Heart,” because I’m getting the feeling he might turn this and his USC Scripter bid into something tangible for Oscar consideration. “District 9,” of course, was not eligible here and is still a threat, ditto “An Education,” but the race is a little more interesting now.  Especially when you consider Nora Ephron (also nominated today), who I’ve always felt was a threat with the Academy for navigating two sources and making some entertaining sense of it all.

Elsewhere it’s the usual suspects, except for the appearance of “Star Trek” in the adapted ranks.  Yes, the writers of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” are WGA nominees.  But in my view, they deserve the pat on the back for this film, a high octane entertainment that was smartly conceived and remains one of the true gems of 2009.

Check out the nominees after the jump.

Adapted Screenplay
“Crazy Heart” (Scott Cooper)
“Julie & Julia” (Nora Ephron)
“Precious” (Geoffrey Fletcher)
“Star Trek” (Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci)
“Up in the Air” (Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner)

Original Screenplay
“(500) Days of Summer” (Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber)
“Avatar” (James Cameron)
“The Hangover” (Jon Lucas, Scott Moore)
“The Hurt Locker” (Mark Boal)
“A Serious Man” (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)

“Against the Tide” (Richard Trank)
“Capitalism: A Love Story” (Michael Moore)
“The Cove” (Mark Monroe)
“Earth Days” (Robert Stone)
“Good Hair” (Lance Crouther, Chris Rock, Chuck Sklar, Jeff Stilson)
“Soundtrack for a Revolution” (Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman)

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56 responses so far

  • 1 1-11-2010 at 5:08 pm

    Isaac Richter said...

    Just because it’s similar to something else, that doesn’t make it its source material. I’m sick of reading that everywhere, it’s getting old.

    Matt: The originality thing was a general response to things I’ve been reading in the web, and people here not calling it original, it wasn’t against you. And, yeah, I know screenwriting is more than creating a setting, and I acknowledge that the script has its weak spots, but for me story is not one of them, because even though it’s full of cliches, it’s well told, and I found it really moving. I know Cameron is not a master screenwriter, and when I went into this film I expected some clunky dialogue and plenty of cliches, but I forgave them because he knows how to tell a story, and to me, the characters are just what they need to be. We have an arrogant action hero as a protagonist who is won over by the culture he is infiltrating. We have the colonel who stops at nothing to do things his way. We have the scientist with an endless curiosity for the world she’s in, the business man who wants to make a profit from this world, the young scientist who is fascinated by the project he’s in, the army girl who loves her job but comes to be amazed by this new world she’s encountering, and then we have the Na’Vis. They are simple people who connect with nature, and find that they can live in harmony with the world around them, which I think is something human beings can’t begin to understand, and that’s one idea I love in this film. It’s terrifying to think that we’re not connected with the world around us because we feel we have the right to conquer it, and that’s something that’s biting us in the ass as we speak. This film is set in a future where our world is almost dead, and we’re looking for another one to conquer and profit from, which would end up the same way as ours if Jake hadn’t come along and helped them out. It’s a devastating idea, but one we have to face sooner or later, and not just dismiss it as an idea presented in films (I know it’s not new, but it’s still necessary).

  • 2 1-11-2010 at 5:55 pm

    Vicky said...

    For those who care…

    James Cameron will be on the Oprah show this Friday, January 15th which airs LIVE.

    I know someone who has tickets to the taping of the Oprah show on Friday, and they were strongly encouraged to attend the screening of Avator on Thursday night in Chicago because they will be discussing the movie on the show LIVE this Friday with its creator James Cameron.

  • 3 1-11-2010 at 8:48 pm

    aaron said...


    i was being completely sarcastic there. actually, i could not agree more w/ what you say about the movie. the thundering, over-the-head pummeling message of avatar literally put me to sleep (i saw it in IMAX and i fell asleep!)–that’s how bored i was w/ its predictability.

    it makes me scratch my head how some avatar fans bristle at the suggestion that the movie could’ve been better written. they then talk about how the visuals make up for it, that not every movie has to have an amazing story, acting, dialogue, etc. i’m not asking for an amazing, revolutionary story–i’m asking for something passable. something decent. does aliens have an amazing script? no, but it’s fine for what it is and infinitely better than avatar. sure, it’s got some majorly lame one-liners, but the characters are actually interesting (good god, burke is like a cassavetes character compared to selfridge) and the movie is expertly structured. i mean, where the hell is *that* james cameron? is it really asking too much for non-cheesy, non-cliche dialogue? “we’re not in kansas anymore” said without a fucking shred of irony? i’m actually surprised Jake *isn’t* named Hero Mandude, but i wouldn’t be surprised if it crossed cameron’s mind.

  • 4 1-12-2010 at 12:00 am

    Jim said...

    Still no Messenger, that would have helped.

    Actually I wonder if WGA will have any influence at all.

  • 5 1-12-2010 at 1:43 am

    Glenn said...

    Anyone complaining about the “Avatar” nomination should also complain about the “Star Trek” nomination. What did the latter do that was so much more worthy than “Avatar”?

    Neither of ’em shoulda been nommed if you ask me.

  • 6 1-13-2010 at 5:16 am

    Anna said...

    Well, since everything was disqualified by this idiot group, it’s not surprising the results are less than adequate.

    IB and Up will replace Avatar and The Hangover.

    An Education, Fantastic Mr. Fox and District 9 will replace whatever in Adapted.