WGA Nominations 2010

The Writers Guild of American announced their nominations for the best screenplays of 2009 yesterday. I hear rumor that the decisions are controversial, but from what I can tell, it seems like an interesting line-up. For all the complaints I read about predictability in awards season, it's strange to me to read so much uproar over nominations out of box. Few have mentioned that many of the films people are pounding their fists over were ineligible for recognition at the WGAs.


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

(500) Days of Summer, Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber; Fox Searchlight

Avatar, Written by James Cameron; 20th Century Fox

The Hangover, Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore; Warner Bros.

The Hurt Locker, Written by Mark Boal; Summit Entertainment

A Serious Man, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen; Focus Features

An inventive rom-com, a sci-fi epic doing gangbusters at the box office, a break out comic hit that people have loved until it started receiving awards attention, one of the best war films in recent memory, and a Coen brothers film. I'm not seeing the problem. Sure, I have films I'd prefer to see receive attention (oh, Drag Me to Hell and District 9...), but those are the breaks. The only glaring omission to me is Inglourious Basterds. Why would that be ignored? I don't know: maybe because it's a violent revisionist history film in multiple languages by a polarizing writer/director? Prepare yourselves now: Inglourious Basterds will either receive a slew of Academy Award nominations, or two: Picture and Supporting Actor for Waltz. 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Crazy Heart, Screenplay by Scott Cooper; Based on the novel by Thomas Cobb; Fox Searchlight

Julie & Julia, Screenplay by Nora Ephron; Based on the books Julie & Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme; Sony Pictures

Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher; Based on the novel Push by Sapphire; Lionsgate

Star Trek, Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman; Based upon Star Trek, Created by Gene Roddenberry; Paramount Pictures

Up in the Air, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner; Based upon the novel by Walter Kirn; Paramount Pictures

Near as I can tell, the only surprise here is Star Trek, another film people loved until it got awards recognition. Would I rather see Where the Wild Things Are, Coraline, or The Fantastic Mr. Fox nominated over Star Trek? Absolutely. Will it happen? No. And that's because I'm pretty sure Star Trek isn't getting in for the Academy Awards. This looks like 4/5 of a category.

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

Against the Tide, Screenplay by Richard Trank & Rabbi Marvin Hier; Moriah Films

Capitalism: A Love Story, Written by Michael Moore; Overture Films

The Cove, Written by Mark Monroe; Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions

Earth Days, Written by Robert Stone; Zeitgeist Films

Good Hair, Written by Chris Rock & Jeff Stilson and Lance Crouther and Chuck Sklar; Roadside Attractions

Soundtrack for a Revolution, Written by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman; Freedom Song Productions and Louverture Films

I'm pulling for Good Hair, as that would be great momentum to be remembered for next year's documentary bake-off at the Academy Awards. It was released too late to be nominated for the 2010 awards ceremony. Otherwise, I just wanted to post the Documentary nominees since no one seems to care about that category. Yes, documentaries need screenplays and no, they are not always written after the film is made. This is how the director guides his vision onto the screen.

Controversial choices? I don't think so. Then again, I don't pretend to see films just because everyone online thinks &quo t;x" is a guaranteed Oscar nominee and feign outrage when those predictions don't come true. I'm excited that different kinds of films are being nominated so far this season and hope it pulls through in some unusual choices outside of Best Picture at the Oscars.

Thanks, Christopher Campbell at Pajiba.