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Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

The Writers Guild of America announced their nominations for best original, adapted and documentary screenplays yesterday.

So what does that mean for the Oscars? That’s the eternal question everyone will ask about every awards nominations from now on in. With hours to go before the Oscar polls closed for first round voting, Academy voters probably took notice of the WGA’s choices. Often they coincide. Just last year, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris won an Oscar for original screenplay after picking up the nod from the WGA.

This year original screenplay nominees are:

  • Flight, Written by John Gatins; Paramount Pictures
  • Looper, Written by Rian Johnson; TriStar Pictures
  • The Master, Written by Paul Thomas Anderson; The Weinstein Company
  • Moonrise Kingdom, Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola; Focus Features
  • Zero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark Boal; Columbia Pictures

This gives new life to Flight and The Master and gives an extra boost to Moonrise Kingdom after getting recognition from another guild, the PGA.

Best adapted screenplay nominees are:

  • Argo, Screenplay by Chris Terrio; Based on a selection from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and the WiredMagazine article “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman; Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Life of Pi, Screenplay by David Magee; Based on the novel by Yann Martel; 20th Century Fox
  • Lincoln, Screenplay by Tony Kushner; Based in part on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin; DreamWorks Pictures
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Screenplay by Stephen Chbosky; Based on his book; Summit Entertainment
  • Silver Linings Playbook, Screenplay by David O. Russell; Based on the novel by Matthew Quick; The Weinstein Company

The Writers Guild of American has strict rules on which films are eligible for WGA consideration, including that scripts have to be written by Guild members or under WGA jurisdiction. This meant  Les Miserables, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Django Unchained — all strong Oscar contenders — were ineligible for awards consideration by the writers group.

These same rules apply for the documentaries nominated:

  • The Central Park Five, Written by Sarah Burns and David McMahon and Ken Burns; Sundance Selects
  • The Invisible War, Written by Kirby Dick; Cinedigm Entertainment Group
  • Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, Written by Alex Gibney; HBO Documentary Films
  • Searching for Sugar Man, Written by Malik Bendjelloul; Sony Pictures Classics
  • We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Written by Brian Knappenberger; Cinetic Media
  • West of Memphis, Written by Amy Berg & Billy McMillin; Sony Pictures Classics

The ceremonies take place simultaneously in Los Angeles at the Marriott Hotel and New York at the seedy B.B. King Blues Club on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.

It’s a fun, boozy evening where writers and presenters get to complain about how unappreciated and underpaid they are and how terrible it is to do what they do for a living.

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