Wes Anderson and Hugh Guiness took the top prize for best original screenplay for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Saturday night at the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards. Adapted screenplay honors went to Graham Moore for “The Imitation Game.”
On the small screen, HBO’s “True Detective” won best new series and drama series. Comedy series and episodic comedy series prizes both went to Louis C. K. for FX’s “Louie.”
The writers group honored as best documentary “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz,” written by Brian Knappenberger.” (The film is not even nominated for best Oscar documentary.)
The writers group made their selections for outstanding achievement in writing for film, television, new media, videogames, news, radio, promotional, and graphic animation categories. They hold simultaneous ceremonies at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles and the Edison Ballroom in New York City.
In Los Angeles, Emmy-winning “Friends” actress and “The Comeback” star/co-creator Lisa Kudrow hosted. The West Coast version is glitzier than festivities on the East Coast. The celebrity wattage in L.A. included Steve Carell, Patricia Arquette, Cheryl Hines, Sir Patrick Stewart, Rene Russo, Keira Knightley and James Corden.
The Writers Guild of America, West, also gave the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement to “Scandal”/”Grey’s Anatomy” Creator and “How to Get Away with Murder” Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes.
In L.A., Ben Affleck received the Guild’s Valentine Davies Award for his humanitarian efforts, and in an emotional highpoint, “Rescue Me” co-creator Peter Tolan presented the Screen Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement to late screenwriter-director Harold Ramis (“Groundhog Day”), which was accepted by the Ramis family.
Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar accepted the Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement via a special video presentation>
At the New York festivities, which I attended, Comedy Central’s new late night star Larry Wilmore (“The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore”) hosted. Presenters included Sarah Silverman (“We Are Miracles”), Clive Owen (“The Knick”), Michael Kenneth Williams (“Boardwalk Empire”), Judith Light (“Transparent”), Morgan Spurlock (CNN’S “Inside Man”), Andre Holland (“The Knick”), Julie Klausner (“Mulaney”), Lizz Winstead (“The Daily Show”) and Robert Klein (“The Good Wife,” “Sharknado”).
Special honors were given to “Crash” screenwriter Paul Haggis, who received the Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Career Achievement in Writing.
Bill Moyers presented legendary television writer/producer Norman Lear (“All In The Family,” “The Jeffersons”) with the Evelyn F. Burkey Award for Bringing Honor and Dignity to Writers.
On the red carpet, the 92-year-old Mr. Lear told me, “It was a joy waking up this morning. It’s a joy being here. That I’m being honored makes it something a little more special.” Later on when he accepted the prize, after a long list of the groundbreaking programs he contributed, Lear accepted his prize by enthusing, “I’m so touched. I’m really a hell of a guy!”
Celebrities on the red carpet included Michael Sheen (“Masters of Sex”) and his girlfriend Sarah Silverman, Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”), Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), producer John Sloss (“Boyhood”), Hugo Guinness (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Andre Holland and Clive Owens.
On the red carpet, I spoke to Gillian Flynn, who wrote and adapted “Gone Girl,” up for best adapted screenplay, which has gone on to be a box office success. She told me what she was proudest of is that “the film shows the studios that men and women will go see a film written by a woman and starring a woman and not consider it a woman’s picture.”
I asked Larry Wilmore how he prepared for that night’s gig as host. “I don’t know if you really can, to be honest with you. You put some stuff together. Hope people enjoy it,” he said. “But it’s kind of an intimate affair, too. It’s not televised. It’s kind of low-key. You just try to have fun, I think. At least that’s my battle plan.” I added that because the audience were primarily writers, they would probably be doing serious drinking. “Exactly, including the host,” he told me.
Later he would begin his monologue by cracking, “What are the odds a bunch of writers would be available Valentine’s Day?”
Below the photos is a complete list of winners.
Photos taken by Paula Schwartz for Reel Life With Jane
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness; Fox Searchlight
The Imitation Game, Written by Graham Moore; Based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges; The Weinstein Company
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, Written by Brian Knappenberger; FilmBuff
TELEVISION AND NEW MEDIA WINNERS
True Detective, Written by Nic Pizzolatto; HBO
Louie, Written by Pamela Adlon, Louis C.K.; FX
True Detective, Written by Nic Pizzolatto; HBO
“The Last Call” (The Good Wife), Written by Robert King & Michelle King; CBS
“So Did the Fat Lady” (Louie), Written by Louis C.K.; FX
LONG FORM ORIGINAL
Deliverance Creek, Written by Melissa Carter; Lifetime
LONG FORM ADAPTED
Olive Kitteridge, Teleplay by Jane Anderson, Based on the novel by Elizabeth Strout; HBO
SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA – ORIGINAL
“Episode 113: Rachel” (High Maintenance), Written by Katja Blichfeld & Ben Sinclair; helpingyoumaintain.com
“Brick Like Me” (The Simpsons), Written by Brian Kelley; Fox
COMEDY / VARIETY (INCLUDING TALK) – SERIES
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Writers: Kevin Avery, Tim Carvell, Dan Gurewitch, Geoff Haggerty, Jeff Maurer, John Oliver, Scott Sherman, Will Tracy, Jill Twiss, Juli Weiner; HBO
COMEDY / VARIETY – MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES – SPECIALS
71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, Written by Barry Adelman; Special Material by Alex Baze, Dave Boone, Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Jon Macks, Sam Means, Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Mike Shoemaker; NBC
QUIZ AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
Hollywood Game Night, Head Writer: Grant Taylor; Writers: Alex Chauvin, Ann Slichter; NBC
General Hospital, Written by Ron Carlivati, Anna Theresa Cascio, Suzanne Flynn, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Korte, Daniel James O’Connor, Elizabeth Page, Katherine Schock, Scott Sickles, Chris Van Etten; ABC
CHILDREN’S SCRIPT – EPISODIC & SPECIALS
“Haunted Heartthrob” (Haunted Hathaways), Written by Bob Smiley; Nickelodeon
DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT – CURRENT EVENTS
“United States of Secrets: The Program (Part One)” (Frontline); PBS; Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS
DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT – OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS
“League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS
TV NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“Nelson Mandela: A Man Who Changed the World” (World News with Diane Sawyer), Written by Dave Bloch, Lisa Ferri, Diane Sawyer; ABC News
TV NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Nowhere to Go” (60 Minutes), Written by Oriana Zill de Granados, Scott Pelley, Michael Rey; CBS
“Three Shots Rang Out: The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” Written by Darren Reynolds; ABC News Radio
RADIO NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“World News This Week,” Written by Andrew Evans; ABC News Radio
RADIO NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Civil Rights at 50,” Written by Jane Tillman Irving; WCBS Radio
PROMOTIONAL WRITING WINNER
ON-AIR PROMOTION (TELEVISION, NEW MEDIA OR RADIO)
“How I Met Your Mother,” Written by Dan Greenberger; CBS
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN VIDEOGAME WRITING
The Last of Us: Left Behind, Written by Neil Druckmann; Sony Computer Entertainment