As one of the strictest guilds in the entertainment industry, quite often the outcome of the Writers Guild nominations (and even wins) isn’t all that reflective of the Oscar race. With so many top contenders ineligible due to the screenwriters not being part of the guild or a film’s script not being registered with the WGA, we at least often end up with some really fun and deserving choices.
For example, just some of the titles that you won’t see nominated: Ammonite, Emma., The Father, Let Them All Talk, Mank, The Mauritanian, Minari, Nomadland, Pieces of a Woman and so much more. Animated films are always out so that means no Soul (or Wolfwalkers, for that matter).
Where these films lack of eligibility may not necessarily hurt them, it does – or can – raise the profile of a screenplay that may have been bubbling under in the 6-10 area of Oscar predictions and give it the boost it needs. Judas and the Black Messiah is a film that was such a late-breaker it’s only just now starting to crack the later critics’ awards. It could make the cut in original screenplay as their voting was closest to the film’s release. But I think it’s going to be close between Judas, Palm Springs and Sound of Metal there unless the Da 5 Bloods train comes to a halt.
The USC Scripter nominations gave us First Cow, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and One Night in Miami, all of which should easily be nominated for the WGA’s Adapted Screenplay prize. Charlie Kaufman missed their but is a three-time WGA nominee and winner for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. News of the World should fight for a spot, along with Borat and possibly The White Tiger, which could be making a surprise surge. Or even…Hillbilly Elegy. One caveat with First Cow though, A24 didn’t send any screeners to the WGA (c’mon, A24) so that could leave a spot open. If so, it’s Borat‘s for the taking.
Here are my predictions for the Writers Guild of America nominations, which will be announced on Tuesday, February 16.
- Best Original Screenplay
- Da 5 Bloods (Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee)
- Palm Springs (Andy Siara)
- Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell)
- Sound of Metal (Screenplay by Abraham Marder, Darius Marder, story by Derek Cianfrance)
- The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Aaron Sorkin)
Watch out for: Judas and the Black Messiah (Screenplay by Will Berson and Shaka King, story by Keith Lucas and Kenny Lucas), Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Eliza Hittman)
- Best Adapted Screenplay
- First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond, based on the novel “The Half Life” by Jonathan Raymond)
- I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Charlie Kaufman, based on the novel “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” by Iain Reid)
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Ruben Santiago-Hudson, based on the play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” by August Wilson)
- News of the World (Luke Davies, Paul Greengrass, based on the novel “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles)
- One Night in Miami (Kemp Powers, based on his own play of the same name)
Watch out for: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Peter Baynham, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee Kern, Dan Mazer, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Swimer, based on characters created by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer and Todd Phillips), The White Tiger (Ramin Bahrani, based on the novel “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga)
Image courtesy of Warner Bros Entertainment