Tuesday, January 04, 2011

WGA Nominees. So Many Disqualifications Make This Hard To Read

The Writers Guild members have spoken. Though their tongues were kinda bound by their rules which prohibit, as I understand it, non-members from receiving nominations (AMPAS members can vote for you even if you aren't affiliated with them or with an American guild). So for what it's worth, here are the nominations.

"I heard you were an MTV girl"
Alice in The Fighter

Original Screenplay

Black Swan, Screenplay by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin; Story by Andres Heinz; Fox Searchlight
The Fighter, Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Paramount Pictures
Inception, Written by Christopher Nolan; Warner Bros.
The Kids Are All Right, Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg; Focus Features
Please Give, Written by Nicole Holofcener; Sony Pictures Classics
  • Last year and the year before this category had very little overlap between WGA and Oscar (2 and only 1 similarity respectively). You have to go back to 2007 to get a year with a lot of agreement (4 of 5). 
  • Oscar contenders that were not eligible for the WGA prize for various reasons are The King's Speech, Blue Valentine, Biutiful and Another Year. You'd be foolish to count the first and the last out especially, since Speech is a frontrunning film of sorts and Another Year comes from Mike Leigh whose process has long fascinated the writers branch within the Academy. I suspect the Black Swan and Please Give screenplays aren't safe, the former because it's viewed as a director's film and the latter because it's profile is low, though it's very clever in terms of dialogue. my current screenplay predictions.
"You don't look like you belong here
-Steven Russell to
(I Love You) Phillip Morris

Adapted Screenplay
127 Hours, Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy; Based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston; Fox Searchlight
I Love You Phillip Morris, Written by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra; Based on the book by Steven McVicker; Roadside Attractions
The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin; Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich; Sony Pictures
The Town, Screenplay by Peter Craig and Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard; Based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan; Warner Bros.
True Grit, Screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen; Based on the novel by Charles Portis; Paramount Pictures
  • Major Oscar contenders that were not eligible include Winter's Bone, Toy Story 3 and The Ghost Writer as well as a few longshots that could theoretically appear if their fanbases buck current precursor trends and rank them #1 on their ballots en masse: The Way Back, Never Let Me Go, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. (This category has stronger overlap with Oscar nominations than their Original category. But I expect this to only line up 3/5 this year with Winter's Bone and Toy Story 3 being very strong Oscar contenders.
  • Snubbed: Rabbit Hole. It's just having trouble catching on.
  • How about that I Love You Phillip Morris citation? Surprise! It's a fun inclusion. Too bad the movie didn't get a wider release. It's comic enough that you'd think they would have risked a wide release. It's only at 68 theaters currently and will be Jim Carrey's lowest grossing major role since Earth Girls are Easy (1989) well before he broke out as a major star.

Documentary Screenplay
Enemies of the People, Written, Directed, Filmed and Produced by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath; International Film Circuit
Freedom Riders, Written, Produced and Directed by Stanley Nelson; International Film Circuit
Gasland, Written and Directed by Josh Fox; HBO Documentary Films and International WOW Company
Inside Job, Produced, Written and Directed by Charles Ferguson; Co-written by Chad Beck, Adam Bolt; Sony Pictures Classics
The Two Escobars, Written by Michael Zimbalist, Jeff Zimbalist; ESPN Films
Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, Written and Directed by John Scheinfeld; Lorber Films
  •  No, I'm not sure why there are six nominees. Perhaps there is no tiebreaker system. Interesting that this list, like the PGA nominees earlier today, contain so few Oscar finalists...


Andrew K. said...

The awards' race is on loop and now I feel like I'm a freakin' broken record, but I just don't understand the lack of love for Rabbit Hole here and well, everywhere. I mean, I understand Greenberg not catching on and other low-key ones but I'm still flabbergasted by the Rabbit Hole snubs. I thought that it'd be a definite shoo-in here with all the disqualifications.

Univarn said...

I'm with Andrew on the lack of Rabbit Hole love... My guess: Came on too late. By the time Rabbit Hole got its theatrical release so many of the media and upper echelon were raving for the other films. Ultimately, this left it with lacking momentum. You don't have to be the best film to win an Oscar, but you better meet it in stride.

Please Give is an interesting choice. Not saying anything on the film, but I think the WGA disqualified themselves out of quite a few key options. When it comes time for the Oscars I wouldn't be too shocked if a movie like Four Lions (much in the same way as In the Loop) slid in for a fifth spot.

Volvagia said...

This isn't the 60s. Four Lions is WAY too dangerous to nominate right now. 9/11 anxiety is getting better, but it wouldn't be safe to award in such a "this is what you'll accept as great" forum as the Oscars until 2016. As is, the "Iraq" option Oscar chose was fairly tame politically. I'd be interested if Four Lions slips in, but, unlike In the Loop, which focused on political speech blunders (we'd been laughing at bushisms for years when Loop came out, so Loop's topic was proven safe), Lions focuses on the actual terrorists and finding what's funny in them. It may be hilarious (haven't seen), but it's clearly too dangerous for the big Osc.

billybil said...

Maybe you can tell me why the Globes didn't nominate Jim Carrey for Best Comedy Actor!!!


billybil -- because they chose to crap on their own reputation... or confirm their bad reputation (even though they normally have much better comedic nominees than their reputation suggests)?

billybil said...

I know! It's like - wtf??? OK - fine - Depp for ALICE (I know it makes you barf!) is sort of predictable from them but for TOURIST TOO? I mean are they all jonesing for him or what?!?! Geez

billybil said...

And it's true - in the past I have relied on them to give worthy comedic performances some attention. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Rabbit Hole snub is a scandal.

adam k. said...

I didn't like Jim Carrey in Morris very much at all. Don't miss him in that category. He may be a bit better than either of the Depp citations (haven't seen those films) but not by much. The one I wanted to see in that lineup was Michael Cera.

Am I the only one who just plain didn't like I Love You Phillip Morris very much. I found it largely crass, tasteless, borderline homophobic at times, and most sadly just plain unfunny. I gained a bit more respect for it when I learned it was actually a true story (one of my main gripes being "this could never happen"), but I didn't particularly enjoy watching it (cute Ewan and a few funny moments aside) and it didn't stay with me at all. I really wanted to like it, too.

Seriously, that over Rabbit Hole? Or even over Scott Pilgrim for that matter? Ridiculous.

I think the Fighter screenplay is slightly vulnerable since I expect both Another Year and King's to make it, but Fighter has been unexpectedly strong across the board, so maybe not. Please Give is definitely out, and probably one of either The Fighter or Black Swan will fall short, unless voters have fallen out of love with Mike Leigh.

adam k. said...

Okay Scott Pilgrim was ineligible. But that spot should've been Rabbit Hole's easily.

Hayden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AnthonyDC said...

"Rabbit Hole" would've been a great October release. It's totally something that would've been in Kidman's wheelhouse circa 2001-2004. A great film, too -- in my opinion one of the year's 10 best. Too bad.

PS: Aaron Eckhart is much more worthy of attention than Robert Duvall or even Jeff Bridges.

Glenn said...

The thing that makes Rabbit Hole's non-nomination even stranger is that they did nominate Doubt and everyone says that that was a far less successful adaptation (as in, adaptation to the screen, not the quality of the film - I have yet to see Rabbit Hole). Hmmm.

I do love the Phillip Morris nomination. Hilarious movie.

Anonymous said...

When it all comes down to it I fear Rabbit Hole hasn't gained traction simply because it was so depressing. Sure, a movie like Precious was able to win but that one was far less subtle in its execution and we all know how Oscar feels about subtlety.

Lisa said...

Love it. All deserving. Even a script like “Please Give” without a star. Just shows that with a big name star a bad script is simply a bad script.

iggy said...

This probably comes too late (does anyone keep reading the old site?), but you're not alone adam k. I didn't like Philip Morrris at all. I couldn't agree more with this:

I found it largely crass, tasteless, borderline homophobic at times, and most sadly just plain unfunny.

Why so many people are ready to forgive its many, clearly visible and major flaws is beyond me. I wanted to like it too after all the problems, delays and whatnot, but I just couldn't. And it doesn't improve on a second (home) viewing, quite the opposite.