WGA rules a number of Oscar hopefuls ineligible

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As is the case around this time each year, the Writers Guild of America has released their list of eligible titles for their Writers Guild Awards, which in turn clues us in to with scripts were ruled ineligible for consideration. Late last week, the WGA’s list of films not up for their award was revealed on a few sites, with it working as a factor not just in predicting their guild’s award, but also in seeing how this could impact the larger Oscar race. Remember, perception is important, so if you aren’t nominated here, even if it’s just due to a silly rule, it can have an effect…

The guild always declares a number of movies not eligible for their award, normally either because of the writer not being a member, too much improvisation/changes from the script, a lack of filed paperwork, as well as a production done with an animated or foreign company that the guild doesn’t have an agreement with. That usually knocks out a handful of fringe contenders, one or two likely nominees, and a few that were probably never getting cited by Oscar anyway. It can confuse Academy members at times, but the side effect is that the WGA award nominees can sometimes be a more interesting bunch than the ones cited by AMPAS.

These here are the titles that are not part of the 51 Adapted Screenplay contenders that the WGA has approved of:

45 Years
Anomalisa
Brooklyn
The Danish Girl
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Room

From this group, only really Brooklyn and Room were locked in, though Anomalisa certainly has a shot with Oscar. 45 Years, The Danish Girl, plus Me and Earl and the Dying Girl were definitely in contention, so this hurts them, though it’s not a crippling blow or anything of the sort. The negatives are for Brooklyn and Room, either of which could have used a win here to boos their chances of winning the Academy Award as well. They’ll still be nominated, but the path to win might be a bit bumpier than they were previously expecting. That being said, this omissions were hardly surprises, so perhaps they had already factored this in?

Next, these are the titles not among the 61 Original Screenplay contenders from the Writer’s Guild:

99 Homes
Clouds of Sils Maria
Ex Machina
The Hateful Eight
I’ll See You In My Dreams
Inside Out
Ricki and the Flash
Son of Saul
Suffragette
Youth

This is a larger group obviously, though it’s a less geared towards Oscar list. I suspect The Hateful Eight is the only one likely locked in for a nod here, though Inside Out has a very good shot at a nom. Quentin Tarantino is never eligible here, so it won’t hurt him with the Academy. The same with animation, so more or less the factor here will be if the things cited instead from this guild manage to make some headway in the Academy’s mind. Time will tell there, but I suspect the overall impact here will be somewhat limited.

So, what are the contenders with the WGA now? My hunch is that their nominees could look like this:

Adapted

The Big Short
The End of the Tour
Carol
The Martian
Steve Jobs

Next in line: Beasts of No Nation, Black Mass, and The Revenant

Original

Bridge of Spies
Love & Mercy
Sicario
Spotlight
Trainwreck

Next in line: Grandma, Joy, and Straight Outta Compton

As you can see, there are still plenty of contenders in both fields, even with likely Oscar nominees knocked off. Honestly, it opens things up, like I mentioned above. Things like The End of the Tour, Grandma, Love & Mercy, and Trainwreck see their chances increase, and I’m all for that. This is the only guild that really makes an impact with who and/or what they exclude, but it never really makes a huge difference in the end. Sit tight and you’ll see what their nominations turn out to be and you’ll see what I mean. The ultimate difference is negligible, usually with the replacement contenders being a slight improvement, if anything. Time will tell what the WGA ends up doing, but I know that I’m eager to find out…

Stay tuned to see what the WGA actually nominates!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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