Awards Tracker

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Category: Writers Guild of America

Writers Guild of America, East, presents Burkey Award to Archive of American TV


The Writers Guild of America, East, announced Wednesday that the Evelyn F. Burkey Award, which recognizes contributions "that have brought honor and dignity to writers everywhere," will be presented to the Television Academy Foundation's Archive of American Television.

The archive is the foundation's continuining collection of more than 600 video interviews with renowned TV professionals in all fields. The archive's online site  gives viewers access to some 2,000 hours of interviews.

The Burkey Award was established in 1978 to honor the woman  who helped create the WGAE in 1953 and was its executive director until 1972. Past recipients include Edward Albee, pictured above, Walter Bernstein and Martin Scorsese.  The Burkey Award will be presented at the WGAE ceremony Feb. 5 in New York at the AXA Equitable Center.

-- Susan King

Photo: Edward Albee won the Burkey Award last year. Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra to receive WGA's Jean Renoir Award


Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra, who has written or co-written more than 100 films, is this year's recipient of the Writers Guild of America West's 2011 Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement.

The announcement was made Monday morning.

Guerra has been involved in the screenplays for such films as Michelangelo Antonioni's "L'avventura," "La notte," "Red Desert" and "Blow-Up," as well as Federico Fellini's "Amarcord," earning Oscar nominations for "Amarcord," "Blow-Up" and "Casanova 70."

The writer will not be traveling to Los Angeles to pick up his award; he will receive the honor next month at his home in northern Italy.

The WGAW awards will be handed out Feb. 5 at the Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel at the Hollywood & Highland complex.

-- Susan King

Photo: Vanessa Redgrave and David Hemmings in "Blow-Up," which was co-written by Tonino Guerra. Credit: MGM

Steven Zaillian to receive WGA's lifetime achievement award


Oscar- and WGA Award-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian ("Schindler's List") is set to receive the 2011 Screen Laurel Award for lifetime achievement at the Writers Guild Awards West ceremony. It will be held Feb. 5 at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland.

Besides writing and co-writing screenplays for "Awakenings," "Hannibal" and "The Gangs of New York," Zaillian has written and directed the films "Searching for Bobby Fischer," "A Civil Action" and "All the King's Men." His latest project is the adaptation of David Fincher's remake of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

-- Susan King

Photo: Steven Zaillian in 2006. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Diane English to receive Writers Guild Paddy Chayefsky award for television writing

Murphy brown 
"Murphy Brown" creator Diane English will be given the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television, honoring her fruitful career in television writing.

In addition to "Murphy Brown," which ran for 10 seasons on CBS with Candice Bergen in the groundbreaking titular role, English wrote for "Sister Sam," starring Pam Dawber, and created the shows "Love & War," "Double Rush," with Stephen Nathan, and "Ink."

For the big screen, she wrote and directed "The Women," with an all-star cast headed by Meg Ryan and Annette Bening.

She will be honored on Feb. 5, during the WGA's annual award show.

— Nicole Sperling

Photo: Candice Bergen in a 1997 scene from "Murphy Brown." Credit: CBS.

'Modern Family' costars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet to co-host WGA Awards

Modern family 

The "Modern Family" boys are taking their show on the road. The Writers Guild of America announced Wednesday that Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet, who play adoptive parents Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker on the hit ABC comedy, will co-host this year's WGA Awards, set for Feb. 5 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

The duo will follow in the footsteps of television's animated-comedy king, Seth McFarlane, creator and voice for "The Family Guy," who hosted the awards last year.

Seems Ferguson's and Stonestreet's comedy shtick even made it to the media release announcing their involvement. "I'm very fond of Jesse but also very sick of him," said Stonestreet. "Did you know we're not an actual real couple. And I'm tired of people thinking I can't exist without him. Anyway, I look forward to a great evening."

Added Ferguson: "I love Eric so much and any opportunity I have to be around him in the public eye or in private I will jump at. I love that he can't exist without me. I feel like we are an actual couple sometimes. He doesn't know it yet but I'm having a custom three-legged tux made for us later today."

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet in "Modern Family." Credit: Karen Neal / ABC

'The King's Speech' writer David Seidler says he won't skirt the WGA again

David seidlerDavid Seidler, the screenwriter behind "The King's Speech," has no ill will toward the Writers Guild of America  for its omission of his project due to eligibility rules. In fact, this was an outcome he was well aware of from the beginning of his work on "The King's Speech."

"I'm obviously a member of the WGA and I have been for 30 years," says Seidler. "I'm supportive of the guild. I've been on negotiating committees, been nominated three times and won an award. So I'm a union man, as it were."

However, to make this particular movie work, Seidler didn't use his WGA credentials to make his deals. Rather, it all began when Seidler first wrote "The King's Speech." He wrote both a screenplay and a stage play, but since the play was in better shape, the British producers optioned the play, a medium the WGA doesn't handle.

However, Seidler was asked by British producers See Saw Films and Bedlam Productions to write a new screenplay based on the play. Concerned how it might be perceived if a story about a recently deceased British monarch was written by a Hollywood screenwriter, producers wanted to keep all of the production in Britain. So Seidler, who was born in Britain and carries dual citizenship, agreed to pen the screenplay entirely in the United Kingdom and used only Brits to handle his contractual details. 

"The WGA told me that it is perfectly legal [as far as his WGA standing goes] to do the work outside the U.S. if you don't use your American lawyer or agent to negotiate the deal. That's what I did."

He continued, "I will never do it again. Now I know why the guild is there, to protect us, and I didn't get the protection I needed. You don't get residuals on DVD, or all the things the guild has struck and worked and fought for, for many years. You don't get that with the British contract."

You also don't get a WGA nomination. A harsh reality, but one that likely won't affect the film's chances for Oscar recognition, which doesn't follow the strict guild rules.

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: David Seidler. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Derby update: Movies' nominations and award wins so far

Considering the flurry of awards and nominations over the past six weeks, it's easy to be confused about what films were nominated for, and won, what. Below, the current rundown.


Next up: People's Choice Awards (Jan. 5), National Society of Film Critics (Jan. 8), Critics Choice Awards (Jan. 14), Golden Globes (Jan. 16)

NBR = National Board of Review
CC = Critics' Choice
GIFA = Gotham Independent Film Award
GG = Golden Globe
IS = Independent Spirit
LAFCA = Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.
NYFCC = New York Film Critics Circle
PGA = Producers Guild of America
SAG = Screen Actors Guild ensemble award
WGA = Writers Guild of America

"127 Hours" CC, IS, PGA, WGA

"Another Year" NBR (not eligible for WGA)

"Black Swan" CC, GIFA, GG, IS, PGA, SAG, WGA

"Hereafter"  NBR

"Inception" CC, GG, NBR, PGA, WGA

"The Fighter" CC, GG, NBR, PGA, SAG, WGA

"The Kids Are All Right" GG, IS, PGA, SAG, WGA

"The King's Speech" CC, GG, GIFA, NBR, PGA, SAG (not eligible for WGA)

"Shutter Island" NBR

"The Social Network" CC, GG, LAFCA (win), NBR (win), NYFCC (win), PGA, SAG, WGA

"The Town" CC, NBR, PGA, WGA

"Toy Story 3" NBR, PGA (not eligible for WGA or best picture at GG or CC where it was nommed for best animated feature)

"True Grit" CC, NBR, PGA, WGA

"Winter's Bone" CC, GIFA (win), IS, NBR (not eligible for WGA)

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: "The Social Network" (Columbia)

Most surprising snub by the Writers Guild Awards: 'Rabbit Hole'

Rabbit-hole Quite a few high-profile movies are missing from Tuesday's nominations released by the Writers Guild of America, but many aren't eligible because the filmmakers weren't guild signatories or had other issues: "The King's Speech," "Winter's Bone," "Another Year," "Toy Story 3" and "Blue Valentine."

However, other films that were on the eligibility list but didn't make the final lineup were just snubbed, most notably "Rabbit Hole." The film, produced by and starring Nicole Kidman, was adapted to the screen by the same person who won a Pulitzer Prize for penning the celebrated stage version, which was nominated for best play at the Tonys: David Lindsay-Abaire. The celluloid version reaped great reviews (scoring 74 at Metacritic). USA Today said, "'Rabbit Hole' is profound and superbly acted, with a moving script superbly adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire."

Woody Allen has been a guild darling in the past, having been nominated 19 times, including recently for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008), but he was overlooked for "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger." Allen won four WGA Awards: "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989), "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986), "Broadway Danny Rose" (1984) and "Annie Hall" (1977).

Other notable snubs: "Fair Game," "Get Low," "Greenberg" and "Somewhere."

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole."  Credit: Lionsgate


Writers Guild nominations include 'Black Swan,' 'Inception,' '127 Hours'

A surreal film about dreams, a comedy-drama about a modern-day family and a drama about the birth of an online social network were among the nominees Tuesday morning for the Writers Guild of America Awards.

Nominees for best original screenplay are  "Black Swan," screenplay by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin, story by Andres Heinz; "The Fighter," screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; "Inception," written by Christopher Nolan; "The Kids Are All Right," written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg; and "Please Give," written by Nicole Holofcener.

Nominees for adapted screenplay are "127 Hours," screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, based on the book "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" by Aron Ralston; "I Love You Phillip Morris," written by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra, based on the book by Steven McVicker; "The Social Network," screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book "The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich; "The Town, " screenplay by Peter Craig and Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard, based on the novel "Prince of Thieves" by Charles Hogan; and "True Grit," screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis.

Earlier Tuesday morning, the majority of the WGA nominees also were nominated for the Producers Guild of America's Motion Picture Award, save for "Please Give" and "I Love You Phillip Morris."

"Morris," which finally had a long-delayed release this fall and received mixed notices, is probably the biggest surprise among the WGA nominations.

Notably missing from the list are the screenplays to such acclaimed films as "The King's Speech," "Toy Story 3," "Winter's Bone," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Another Year" and "Biutiful" because they are not signatories to the guild's Minimum Basic Guarantee.

The WGA is considered one of the leading Oscar bellwethers, though last year the WGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were divided. Both groups gave original screenplay to "The Hurt Locker," with the WGA selecting "Up in the Air" for adapted screenplay and "Precious" winning the Oscar in that category.

Nominees Tuesday in the documentary screenplay category are "Enemies of the People," written, directed and filmed by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath; "Freedom Riders," written, produced and directed by Stanley Nelson; "Inside Job," produced, written and directed by Charles Ferguson; co-written by Chad Beck and Adam Bolt; "The Two Escobars," written by Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist; and "Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?" written and directed by John Scheinfeld.

 The awards will be handed out Feb. 5 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.

-- Susan King

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio in "Inception." Credit: Warner Bros.

Writers Guild of America Award nominations have some surprises


The Writers Guild of America Awards nominations on Tuesday morning saw the surprise inclusion of "I Love You Phillip Morris" and "Please Give." This was the first awards showing for either film.

The nominations for best original screenplay are: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right" and "Please Give." Nominees for adapted screenplay are "127 Hours," "I Love You Phillip Morris," "The Social Network," "The Town" and "True Grit."

Several high-profile films were not eligible for the nominations as they were not penned by guild members.

The awards will be handed out Feb. 5 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.

-- Susan King

Photo: Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right." Credit: Suzanne Tenner / Focus Features



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