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WGA Awards: Congratulations ... but don't get too comfortable

WGA Awards: Congratulations ... but don't get too comfortable
"Spotlight" earned an original screenplay nomination from the Writers Guild of America. (Kerry Hayes / Open Road Films)

The Writers Guild of America announced its nominations today for original and adapted screenplay. It's a strong and varied list of titles, including an actual comedy (Amy Schumer's "Trainwreck," yes!) and a movie that, at least for Golden Globes purposes, is said to be a comedy ("The Martian").

The nominees for original screenplay are "Bridge of Spies," "Sicario," "Spotlight," "Straight Outta Compton" and "Trainwreck." Adapted screenplay nominations went to the writers of "The Big Short," "Carol," "The Martian," "Steve Jobs" and "Trumbo."

These writers  should be thrilled and honored but should hold off on making any plans for the Oscars just yet.

Unlike the other guild honors, the WGA Awards aren't a great indicator of which screenplays the academy will recognize when Oscar nominations are announced next week.

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Several of the leading contenders in both the original and adapted screenplay categories are not WGA eligible because the writer doesn't belong to the group (Quentin Tarantino and "Room's" Emma Donoghue) or the production wasn't a signatory with the guild. (Foreign films and animated movies typically aren't.)

This year, those factors disqualified the original screenplays of "The Hateful Eight," "Inside Out," "Ex Machina," "Son of Saul" and "Youth" and, on the adapted side, "Room," "Brooklyn," "Anomalisa" and "45 Years."

How might these omissions alter the way the academy's nominees look? For original screenplay, expect significant changes with "Inside Out" and "The Hateful Eight" joining "Spotlight" and "Bridge of Spies." The fifth slot is wide open and could come from one of the WGA nominees -- "Trainwreck" or "Compton" would be the strongest contenders -- or it could be Alex Garland's sci-fi thriller "Ex Machina," a PGA nominee.

The adapted screenplay category will likely have more overlap with WGA nominees "Steve Jobs," "Carol" and "The Big Short" finding favor too with the academy. The remaining two spots could well go to WGA picks as well -- "Trumbo" and "The Martian" -- though it's more likely that Donoghue's "Room" and Nick Hornby's "Brooklyn" fill out the Oscar list.

The Writers Guild of America Awards will be held Feb. 13.

Twitter: @glennwhipp

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