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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

January 11, 2010 at 11:36 AM

WGA nominations announced: “Avatar” in; “An Education” out

A few surprises among the Writers Guild of America screen nominations, which were announced today and which often closely mirror the Oscar nominations. But let’s be careful not to overinterpret the nominations this year — a surprising number of likely Oscar contenders were deemed ineligible for WGA awards, for reasons having to do with guild rules. Among the ineligible: Nick Hornby’s “An Education,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” Tom Ford’s “A Single Man,” Joe Penhall’s “The Road” and animated films like “Up” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” So what remains? Well, in the original screenplay category, the WGA gave a surprise nod to James Cameron for “Avatar” and Jon Lucas and Scott Moore for “The Hangover,” along with the more expected names of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (“(500) Days of Summer”), Mark Boal (“The Hurt Locker”) and Joel and Ethan Coen (“A Serious Man”).
In the adapted screenplay category, the “Star Trek” scribes (Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman) were a pleasant surprise on the ballot, alongside Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for “Up in the Air” (the season’s safest bet), Scott Cooper for “Crazy Heart,” Geoffrey Fletcher for “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” and Nora Ephron for “Julie & Julia.”
Hmm. Hard to get too worked up over these choices, as the Academy will not be bound by the WGA rules and may well end up with a completely different slate. In particular, I’ll be surprised if “Up” and “Inglourious Basterds” don’t turn up in the original screenplay category, and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “An Education” among the adaptations (and I’d love to see “A Single Man” slip onto there too). So, what were your favorite screenplays this year?

“The Hangover” gets some love from the WGA — but will it make Oscar’s list? (Photo credit: Frank Masi, courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures.)

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