The Writers Guild of America (WGA) will weigh in tonight on adapted and original screenplays in feature film, documentary and television and it could be an interesting result.
In feature film, the WGA matches the Oscar nominees in Adapted Screenplay 4/5. They both went for BlacKkKlansman, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, If Beale Street Could Talk and A Star Is Born. They differ on Black Panther (WGA) and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Oscar). Even though BlacKkKlansman is the favorite for the Oscar, missing here after missing out on a USC nomination would hurt, especially if it’s to If Beale Street Could Talk. But, with a BAFTA win behind it, BlacKkKlansman should be the winner.
Original Screenplay is only 3/5. The WGA and the Oscars both nominated Green Book, Roma and Vice. The former chose Eighth Grade and A Quiet Place while the Academy went First Reformed and The Favourite, the latter of which was ineligible for WGA. PGA winner Green Book is the likely winner here, having been able to deftly fend off controversy this season. But a loss would actually be devastating to its Best Picture hopes. Where Roma or Vice to triumph instead, it would be significant.
Since 2010, six WGA Adapted Screenplay winners went on to repeat at the Oscars. Five Original Screenplays have. The one year that complicates this is 2017 when Moonlight competed in Original at WGA and won, then was deemed Adapted by the Academy and won there as well.
Since 1984 there has only been one instance where the WGA winner for Original Screenplay wasn’t nominated for Oscar’s Original Screenplay – the 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine. That means looking to Eighth Grade or A Quiet Place to spoil is pretty big longshot. But, we did just see A Quiet Place buck those odds at SAG when Emily Blunt won for Actress in a Supporting Role. Neither are Best Picture nominees so that longshot just got longer.
With the Moonlight exception, the only Adapted Screenplay that failed to earn an Oscar nomination yet still win WGA was 1987’s Roxanne. That puts Black Panther and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs at the bottom of the list. Black Panther has a slight edge as a Best Picture nominee and being the SAG Cast winner but much and not enough.
My WGA predictions:
FEATURE FILM SCREENPLAY NOMINEES
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: BlacKkKlansman, Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee, Based on the book by Ron Stallworth; Focus Features
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Green Book, Written by Nick Vallelonga & Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly; Universal Pictures
DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY: Bathtubs Over Broadway, Written by Ozzy Inguanzo & Dava Whisenant; Focus Features
TELEVISION, NEW MEDIA, AND NEWS NOMINEES
The Americans, Written by Peter Ackerman, Hilary Bettis, Joshua Brand, Joel Fields, Sarah Nolen, Stephen Schiff, Justin Weinberger, Joe Weisberg, Tracey Scott Wilson; FX Networks
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Written by Kate Fodor, Noah Gardenswartz, Daniel Goldfarb, Jen Kirkman, Sheila Lawrence, Daniel Palladino, Amy Sherman Palladino; Prime Video
Barry, Written by Alec Berg, Duffy Boudreau, Bill Hader, Emily Heller, Liz Sarnoff, Ben Smith, Sarah Solemani; HBO
LONG FORM ORIGINAL
Castle Rock, Writers: Marc Bernardin, Scott Brown, Lila Byock, Mark Lafferty, Sam Shaw, Dustin Thomason, Gina Welch, Vinnie Wilhelm; Hulu
LONG FORM ADAPTED
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Writers: Maggie Cohn, Tom Rob Smith, Based on the book Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth; FX Networks
“First Blood” (The Handmaid’s Tale), Written by Eric Tuchman; Hulu
“Chapter One: ‘Make Your Mark’” (Barry), Written by Alec Berg & Bill Hader; HBO
COMEDY/VARIETY TALK SERIES
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Writers: Tim Carvell, Raquel D’Apice, Josh Gondelman, Dan Gurewitch, Jeff Maurer, Daniel O’Brien, John Oliver, Brian Parise, Owen Parsons, Ben Silva, Will Tracy, Jill Twiss, Seena Vali, Juli Weiner; HBO
COMEDY/VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
Saturday Night Live, Head Writers: Michael Che, Colin Jost, Kent Sublette, Bryan Tucker; Supervising Writers: Fran Gillespie, Sudi Green, Streeter Seidell; Writers: James Anderson, Kristen Bartlett, Megan Callahan, Steven Castillo, Andrew Dismukes, Anna Drezen, Claire Friedman, Alison Gates, Steve Higgins, Sam Jay, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, Nick Kocher, Michael Koman, Alan Linic, Eli Coyote Mandel, Erik Marino, Dave McCary, Brian McElhaney, Dennis McNicholas, Lorne Michaels, Nimesh Patel, Josh Patten, Katie Rich, Simon Rich, Gary Richardson, Marika Sawyer, Pete Schultz, Mitch Silpa, Will Stephen, Julio Torres, Rachel Wenitsky, Bowen Yang; NBC Universal