Five out of the six Directors Guild of America feature film nominees -- Joel and Ethan Coen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Sean Penn and Tony Gilroy -- were also nominated Thursday for Writers Guild of America awards for their screenplays.
The Coen brothers were nominated for adapted screenplay for "No Country For Old Men," as were Anderson for "There Will Be Blood" and Penn for "Into the Wild." Rounding out the category are Ronald Harwood for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and James Vanderbilt for "Zodiac."
"I never have received a WGA nomination before," said Harwood, who won the Oscar for 2002's "The Pianist," though he was overlooked by the guild for his screenplay. "I am thrilled with being nominated by one's colleagues and being in such good company."
Gilroy received a nomination for his legal thriller "Michael Clayton" in the original screenplay category. "It is a huge confirmation," said Gilroy on Thursday. "It is that simple. It is pretty terrific [to have both nominations]. I am old enough to know what it means and young enough to enjoy it."
The other four nominees for original screenplay, though, have more of a comedic bent. Three of the nominees are women. Vying with Gilroy are Diablo Cody for her coming-of-age comedy "Juno," Tamara Jenkins for the darkly comedic "The Savages," Judd Apatow for his ribald box office hit "Knocked Up" and Nancy Oliver for her offbeat love story "Lars and the Real Girl."
"It's nice to see a bunch of dames up there, a bunch of smart women," Jenkins said Thursday afternoon. Receiving a nomination from her peers "is extra special because they know what it's like to write. It is a really nice feeling. I feel very moved."
She admitted that with the WGA on strike, it is a "strange time" for a writer. "I have been working on promoting the movie and I had felt so guilty I hadn't been participating in the strike. I went to my first picket line yesterday."
Vying for documentary screenplay are Anthony Giacchino for "The Camden 28"; Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman & Elisabeth Bentley for "Nanking"; Charles Ferguson for "No End in Sight"; Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham and Bonni Cohen for "The Rape of Europa"; Michael Moore for "Sicko"; and Alex Gibney for "Taxi to the Dark Side."
A WGA award win doesn't necessarily translate into an Academy Award. But over the past three years, the groups have been of like mind.
Last year, the screenplays for "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Departed" went on to win the Oscar; "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crash" picked up both honors in 2006.
Last month, the WGA announced its TV nominees. Vying for dramatic series are "Dexter," "Friday Night Lights," "Mad Men," "The Sopranos" and "The Wire." Comedy series nominees are "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Entourage," "Flight of the Conchords," "The Office" and "30 Rock." In contention in the new series category are "Damages," "Flight of the Conchords," "Mad Men," "Pushing Daisies" and "The Sarah Silverman Program."
Original long-form nominees are "Pandemic" and "The Lost Room, Night One"; long-form adapted nominees are "The Company," "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" and "The Starter Wife" (Nights 1 and 2).
The WGA's strike, which began Nov. 5, has crippled TV and film production and caused the cancellation of what was supposed to be Sunday's Golden Globes gala. The WGA, West, on Thursday canceled its Feb. 9 ceremony in Los Angeles but will still announce the winners and then hold a show after the strike is over. The WGA, East, had not yet decided whether it would go forward with a show on Feb. 9