January 17, 2017

Writers Guild of America nominations include “Deadpool” and “La La Land”

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Just now, the Writers Guild of America announced their nominations, which are always an interesting precursor to take note of. They’re the next of the big guilds, potentially shaping how the Academy Award nominations will ultimately go. The nominees today were a mix of the expected frontrunners like Damien Chazelle for La La Land, Barry Jenkins for Moonlight, and Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea, but the WGA also made room for Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick for Deadpool, along with Taylor Sheridan for Hell or High Water, just to name a few. Overall, it’s a lineup that’s hard to argue with, even if there were snubs here and there.

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Below you will see the nominees, but first, a bit of prep. Remember that in the Original Screenplay category, Everybody Wants Some, Florence Foster Jenkins, The Lobster, Miss Sloane, and Paterson were declared ineligible. Also not eligible on the Adapted Screenplay side were The Handmaiden and Lion. As usual, animated and foreign titles basically won’t be in play either, which wiped out Finding Dory, Julieta, Kubo and the Two Strings, Sausage Part, Toni Erdmann, and Zootopia, among others. That still left plenty of contenders, as you’ll see in a moment, but just know this going in. Less than usual was declared ineligible, but notable things still were. Also, despite Oscar having re-categorized them in Adapted, both Loving and Moonlight still were determined to be Original here, so keep that in mind as well.

Here are the WGA nominees for this year:

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY NOMINEES

Hell or High Water (Written by Taylor Sheridan) – CBS Films

La La Land (Written by Damien Chazelle) – Lionsgate

Loving (Written by Jeff Nichols) – Focus Features

Manchester by the Sea (Written by Kenneth Lonergan) – Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions

Moonlight (Written by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell McCraney) – A24

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY NOMINEES

Arrival (Screenplay by Eric Heisserer; Based on the Story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang) – Paramount Pictures

Deadpool (Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick; Based on the X-Men Comic Books) – Twentieth Century Fox Film

Fences (Screenplay by August Wilson; Based on his Play) – Paramount Pictures

Hidden Figures (Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi; Based on the Book by Margot Lee Shetterly) – Twentieth Century Fox Film

Nocturnal Animals (Screenplay by Tom Ford; Based on the Novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright) – Focus Features

BEST DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY NOMINEES

Author: The JT LeRoy Story (Written by Jeff Feuerzeig) – Amazon Studios

Command and Control (Telescript by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, Story by Brian Pearle and Kim Roberts; Based on the book Command and Control by Eric Schlosser) – American Experience Films

Zero Days (Written by Alex Gibney) – Magnolia Pictures

As you can see, the original nominees sort of look like how a traditional Oscar lineup would look, while Adapted seems a bit more varied. When you remember what’s eligible/not eligible here with the WGA and which titles will be category swapped by the Academy, it all makes sense though. Aside from Deadpool, nothing surprised me here. Still, that’s a delightful surprise. As for winners, I suspect Original is the repeated three horse race of La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight, with Manchester by the Sea the slight frontrunner. As for Adapted, Arrival seems like the one to beat, though watch out for Fences. Documentary is anyone’s guess, though maybe Zero Days? We shall see…

Here’s how my initial WGA predictions would go:

ORIGINAL

1. Manchester by the Sea
2. La La Land
3. Moonlight
4. Hell or High Water
5. Loving

ADAPTED

1. Arrival
2. Fences
3. Nocturnal Animals
4. Deadpool
5. Hidden Figures

DOCUMENTARY

1. Zero Days
2. Author: The JT LeRoy Story
3. Command and Control

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Stay tuned for more guild announcements in the weeks to come!

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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