Comedy Dominates the Writers Guild’s 2012 Best Screenplay Nominees

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Photo: Universal Pictures

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced their nominations for outstanding achievement in writing for the screen during 2011 today and comedies ruled the day in the Original Screenplay category and I don’t see many surprises in the Original Screenplay category, though these nominations should always be looked at with one thing in mind… The WGA only recognizes screenplays written by WGA members or under productions that are signatories to the guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement.

What does that mean? Well, as Kris Tapley at HitFix indicated back in early December, screenplays in the original category that didn’t qualify for consideration included The Artist, Beginners, The Iron Lady, The Lady, Like Crazy, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Melancholia, Rango, Shame and Take Shelter.

As for adapted contenders, scripts for Albert Nobbs, Carnage, Drive, Jane Eyre, My Week with Marilyn, Sarah’s Key, The Skin I Live In and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy were all ineligible for nomination.

I actually haven’t updated my Oscar predictions for the screenplay categories since first offering them up back in October and November so things have certainly shifted a little since then.

As for Original Screenplay, I’m definitely sticking with Midnight in Paris and The Artist, but WGA nominations for 50/50, Bridesmaids and Win Win certainly look like top contenders to me now.

In the Adapted category, The Descendants remains my frontrunner just as it has since October and I’m sticking with Moneyball, but I’m seriously questioning my three other contenders — Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, War Horse and The Ides of March — now after none of them were nominated by the WGA and all were eligible. The Help and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo seem like smart choices at this time, but does Hugo get that fifth slot?

Right now I have The Ides of March as a Best Picture nominee as I do Hugo, but I saw Adapted Screenplay as a potential second nomination for Ides and without it can it still be a Best Picture nominee with what looks like potentially no other nominations? Hmmmm… Decisions, decisions…

For now I will offer you the WGA nominations and hopefully by the end of the day and certainly no later than early tomorrow will I have new Screenplay predictions for you, but I would love to hear what you think as I put them together so be sure to comment below.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
  • 50/50, Written by Will Reiser; Summit Entertainment
  • Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig; Universal Studios
  • Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics
  • Win Win, Screenplay by Tom McCarthy; Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni; Fox Searchlight
  • Young Adult, Written by Diablo Cody; Paramount Pictures
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
  • The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming; Fox Searchlight
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian; Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, originally published by Norstedts; Columbia Pictures
  • The Help, Screenplay by Tate Taylor; Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett; DreamWorks Pictures
  • Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan; Based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; Paramount Pictures
  • Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin; Based on the book by Michael Lewis; Columbia Pictures
DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY
  • Better This World, Written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega; Loteria Films
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Written by Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek; Oscilloscope Pictures
  • Nostalgia for the Light, Written by Patricio Guzmán; Icarus Films
  • Pina, Screenplay by Wim Wenders; Sundance Selects
  • Position Among the Stars, Script by Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich, Leonard Retel Helmrich; HBO Films
  • Senna, Written by Manish Pandey; Producers Distribution Agency