A few surprises made their way into the Writers Guild of America awards nominations Tuesday morning, which included nods for a surreal film about dreams, a comedy-drama about a modern-day family and a drama about the birth of an online social network.
Nominations for original screenplay went to the psychological thriller “Black Swan” (screenplay by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin, story by Heinz); boxing biopic “The Fighter” (screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, story by Keith Dorrington & Tamasy & Johnson); the mind-bending “Inception” (written by Christopher Nolan); family drama “The Kids Are All Right” (written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg); and, unexpectedly, the small comedy “Please Give” (written by Nicole Holofcener).
“I’m having a very good day,” Holofcener said. “I have never been nominated by any guild before. Other writers voting for me -- it’s incredibly flattering and gratifying.”
Cholodenko was also celebrating her first WGA nomination. “I am really proud. This is a big one. We spent many, many years trying to get this script right, and to have the recognition and the validation that all of that work has paid off -- it’s making me love my peers.”
Adapted screenplay nominees are “127 Hours” (screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, based on the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” by Aron Ralston); “I Love You Phillip Morris” (written by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra, based on the book by Steven McVicker); “The Social Network” (screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich); “The Town” (screenplay by Peter Craig and Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard, based on the novel “Prince of Thieves” by Charles Hogan); and “True Grit” (screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis).
Beaufoy, who won the WGA two years ago for “Slumdog Millionaire,” offered a tongue-in-cheek statement.
“As all writers know, the hardest crowd to please are one’s fellow scribes. They know where you took the coffee breaks, stole the jokes and where the bodies -- or in this case, the hand -- are buried. So it is a genuine honor to be nominated by the WGA,” he said in a reference to the film’s depiction of a trapped hiker severing his hand to free himself.
The majority of the WGA nominees also were nominated for the Producers Guild of America’s Motion Picture Award earlier Tuesday except for “Please Give” and “I Love You Phillip Morris,” a long-delayed film that finally saw release this fall and received mixed notices. Its inclusion was the biggest surprise of the WGA nominations.
Notably missing from the list are the screenplays to such acclaimed films as “The King’s Speech,” “Toy Story 3,” “Winter’s Bone,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Another Year” and “Biutiful” because the writers do not belong to the guild or did not meet other guild criteria.
The WGA is considered one of the leading Oscar bellwethers, though last year the WGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were divided on adapted screenplay. Both groups gave original screenplay to “The Hurt Locker,” with the WGA selecting “Up in the Air” for adapted screenplay and the Oscars going with “Precious.”
Nominees in the documentary screenplay category were “Enemies of the People” (written, directed and filmed by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath); “Freedom Riders” (written, produced and directed by Stanley Nelson); “Inside Job” (written, produced and directed by Charles Ferguson and co-written by Chad Beck and Adam Bolt); “The Two Escobars” (written by Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist); and “Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?” (written and directed by John Scheinfeld).
The Writers Guild Awards will be handed out Feb. 5 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.