'Her,' 'Captain Phillips,' 'Stories We Tell' win WGA Awards

Posted by · 6:52 pm · February 1st, 2014

The Writers’ Guild of America Awards have taken place in their customary confusing fashion, with the lack of co-ordination between the East Coast and West Coast ceremonies meaning certain key winners were revealed well before their awards were actually presented. The WGA should probably work on that. Anyway, the big news is that the three big winners in the film categories are Spike Jonze for “Her,” Billy Ray for “Captain Phillips” and Sarah Polley for “Stories We Tell.”

Jonze’s win, of course, was in the Best Original Screenplay category, and it could foreshadow a similar result in the Oscar race — where the nominee field directly mirrors the WGA one. David O. Russell and Eric Singer would appear to be their chief competition for nomination co-leader “American Hustle,” but things seem to be tipping Jonze’s way — his is arguably the more inventive, more self-evidently writerly script, and the Academy often favors quirkier choices in this category. You have to go back 13 years to find an Oscar winner in this category that lost (as opposed to simply being ineligible for) the WGA Award: in the 2000 race, the Guild picked Kenneth Lonergan for “You Can Count on Me,” while the Academy preferred Cameron Crowe for “Almost Famous.”

The Best Adapted Screenplay win for “Captain Phillips” means less with regard to the Oscar race, given that the category’s clear frontrunner, John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave,” wasn’t eligible for the WGA Award. That exclusion made this a rather competitive Guild race: “Before Midnight” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” both could have shown up here, but it was well-liked industry stalwart Billy Ray (who also wrote the first “Hunger Games” instalment and directed the acclaimed 2003 indie “Shattered Glass”) who took what will likely remain his biggest win of the season.

In the documentary writing category, it’s nice to see Sarah Polley, who was rather shockingly left out of the Oscar race, take the award for her intricate, intimate construction of “Stories We Tell” — beating Oscar nominee “Dirty Wars,” among others.

In the TV categories, victorious shows included “Veep,” “House of Cards,” “The Simpsons,” “30 Rock” and, of course, “Breaking Bad” — which continued its farewell-season winning streak with a pair of awards.

Full list of winners below, with everything else at The Circuit.

  On the TV side of things, “30 Rock” and “Breaking Bad” both took wins in their farewell seasons, with “House of Cards” and “Veep” also rewarded. Winners listed after the jump, as they are announced.

Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, “Her”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Billy Ray, “Captain Philli[ps”

Best Documentary Screenplay: Sarah Polley, “Stories We Tell”


Comedy Series: “Veep”

Drama Series: “Breaking Bad”

New Series: “House of Cards”

Episodic Comedy: Kack Burditt and Robert Carlock, “30 Rock” (“Hogcock!”)

Episodic Drama: Gennifer Hutchison, “Breaking Bad” (“Confessions”)

Long Form – Adapted: Shawn Slovo, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”

Animation: Joel H. Cohen, “The Simpsons” (“A Test Before Trying”)

Comedy or Variety Series: “The Colbert Report”

Comedy or Variety Specials: “Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas”

Daytime Drama: “Days of Our Lives”

Childrens – Episodic & Specials: Vincent Brown, “A.N.T. Farm” (“InfluANTces”)

Documentary – Current Events: Marcela Gaviria and Martin Smith, “Frontline” (“Egypt in Crisis”)

Documentary – Other Than Current Events: Randall MacLowry and Michelle Ferrari, “American Experience” (“Silicon Valley”)

News – Analysis, Feature or Commentary: Michael Rey, Oriana Zill de Granados and Michael Radutzky, “60 Minutes” (“Lethal Medicine”)

News – Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin or Breaking Report: Lisa Ferri and Matt Negrin, “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” (“Tragedy at Newtown”)

Quiz and Audience Patricipation: John Duarte, Harry Friedman, Mark Gaberman, Debbie Griffin, Michele Loud, Robert McClenaghan, Jim Rhine, Steve D. Tamerius and Billy Wisse, “Jeopardy!”

Television Graphic Art and Animation: David Rosen, CBS News Animations: “Brain Injury,” “Pills,” “Bionic Leg,” “Midland Parade,” “Concordia Salvage”

Promotional Writing and Graphic Animation: Erial Tompkins, “The Crazy Ones – Building a Better Comedy”

Video Game Writing: Neil Druckmann, “The Last of Us”

Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement: Paul Mazursky

Evelyn F. Burkey Award for Career Achievement: James Schamus

Valentine Davies Award: Sam Simon

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