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Writers Guild Awards show Oscars momentum for ‘promising young woman’

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Films such as “Nomadland”, “The Father” and “Minari” were not eligible for the 2021 WGA Awards.

This year’s Writers Guild Awards was an effective pre-recorded affair (with both ribs coming together in one show) hosted by new member Kal Penn. A handful of Oscar contenders such as Riz Ahmed, Sacha Baron Cohen, Leslie Odom Jr. and Andra Day joined other celebrities from Daveed Diggs to Jimmy Fallon to present this year’s film and television winners. (You can read the full list of winners here.)

Every year, because the WGA always leaves out non-WGA signatories in its award nominations – which include Oscar-winning screenplays – it’s not always as predictive at the Oscars as other guilds. Last year’s WGA award winners Taika Waititi (adapted screenplay, “Jojo Rabbit”) and Bong Joon Ho (original screenplay, “Parasite”) continued to rehearse at the Oscars. Bong won in a category for which Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” was not eligible. (He never joined the WGA.)

This year, three ineligible films were not shortlisted for the WGA Awards: screenplays adapted by Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”), French playwright Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton (“The Father”), and an original screenplay by Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”). All three still have shots to win Oscars without any help from the WGA.

THE CHICAGO TRIAL 7 (L to R) SACHA BARON COHEN as Abbie Hoffman, JEREMY STRONG as Jerry Rubin in THE CHICAGO TRIAL 7. Cr.  NIKO TAVERNISE / NETFLIX © 2020

“The Chicago Trial 7”

Niko Tavernise / NETFLIX 2020

Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (October 16, Netflix), which may have peaked by winning the Golden Globe for screenplay, revealingly lost the Critics Choice Original Screenplay award to the very hot “Promising Young Woman” (December 25, Focus Features) by rookie director Emerald Fennell, who seemed baffled to have also won the WGA Original Screenplay award for her “very dark writers room in England,” he said. she declared.

On the other hand, several films have won Oscars after losing to the WGA, including “Green Book”, “BlacKkKlansman”, “Precious” and “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”. The question, as always, is where the momentum is going. Right now, it’s with Fennell.

Beating Kemp Powers’ adaptation of his play “One Night in Miami” (January 8, 2021, Amazon) was Sacha Baron Cohen and his “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” team of eight other writers. “60 percent of the Writers Guild worked on this film,” said Baron Cohen, who was nominated for WGA and Oscar for his first “Borat” 14 years ago. “A movie like this is hard to write, based on the behavior of real unpredictable people, with the exception of Rudolph Giuliani, who did everything we hoped for. It’s possible that the PGA-nominated “Borat” sequel will rank just behind the eight Oscar nominees for Best Picture.

WGA winners get an extra boost to vote at the Oscars, which begins April 15 and ends April 20, ahead of the World Oscars show on April 25.

Rudy Giuliani in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

The award for the documentary went to “The Dissident” by Bryan Fogel, written by Fogel and Mark Munroe, which is not nominated for an Oscar. Fogel said the film was “aimed at journalists around the world who seek to make this world a better place.”

Also recognized by the WGA with the Paul Selvin Prize (awarded to a screenplay that “best embodies the spirit of constitutional and civil rights and freedoms which are essential to the survival of free writers everywhere”) was nominated for the WGA and the Oscars for the original screenplay “Judas and the Black Messiah”, by writer-director Shaka King and writers Will Berson and Paul Lucas and Keith Lucas. The newsreel about the black panther Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), who was shot by the FBI in 1968, is “A moving morality story and a shocking indictment of what can happen when a government loses its soul,” said presenter Jelani Cobb.

Of course, the WGA didn’t waste the opportunity to castigate WME chief Ari Emanuel. WGA President David Goodman said to look for him “if anything happens to me.” This last pandemic year of heated negotiations with agencies following a three-year battle over packaging costs “has been a difficult time. We have members who are ready to fight, unite and sacrifice themselves if necessary. “

“Storytelling is more important than ever,” said WGA East President Beau Willimon, “in holding a mirror of society and facing pain, bringing joy and warding off despair with empathy, honesty and beauty. . “

Many writers have provided testimonials of support for their guild, repeating the mantra that the WGA supports them. “What the WGA does is connect you and make you feel like you’re part of something bigger,” said film nominee Paul Greengrass (“News of the World”).

The list of cinema winners is below.

Suitable scenario:

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern, Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad, based on characters created by Sacha Baron Cohen; Amazon Studios

Original scenario:

“Young promising woman”
Written by Emerald Fennell; Focus features

Documentary script:

“The dissident”
Written by Mark Monroe and Bryan Fogel; Briarcliff Entertainment

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