Writer’s Guild Honors Best Screenplays, Gives Oscar Clues

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Writer’s Guild of America has announced its winners for the best screenplays of the year, with Captain Phillips and Her taking top honors for best adapted screenplay and best original screenplay, respectively.

If you’re making bets on Academy Award winners, the WGA awards are usually a good indication of who will take home a screenplay Oscar. Variety noted that WGA winners for best adapted screenplay have also won Oscars in the category 14 out of the last 19 years, while winners for best original screenplay have won Oscars 12 times out of the last 19 years.

Spike Jonze took home the best original screenplay award for his futuristic love story Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a recently divorced man who falls in love with his computer’s operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Jonze’s Her beat out the screenplays for other Oscar-nominated films: Blue Jasmine, American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, and Nebraska.

“It’s a high honor coming from writers,” Jonze said in his acceptance speech, per Variety. “In a way this is like an award for pain. A specific pain that writers know. The highs and lows of sitting there by yourself. I thank you guys for that.”

Billy Ray won for the screenplay of the Tom Hanks-led Captain Phillips, which was adapted from the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips (the real-life Captain Phillips) with Stephan Talty. The story focuses on the captain of a ship that’s overtaken by Somalian pirates. Ray’s screenplay beat out August: Osage County, Before Midnight, Lone Survivor, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

“I owe quite a debt to Captain Richard Phillips, who survived something that probably would have killed me,” Ray said in his acceptance speech, according to Variety.

The guild also honors exceptional television writing. Breaking Bad won for best drama series, Veep took best comedy series, and the Netflix original House of Cards won for best new series. Breaking Bad also won for episodic drama for the episode “Confessions,” while the 30 Rock episode “Hogcock!” took home the same award for comedy.

With the Oscars just a month away, film buffs are looking at which movies have won other industry awards this season to help put together their Oscar rosters. The nominees for best original screenplay include Her, Bob Nelson’s Nebraska, Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack’s Dallas Buyers Club, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, and Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell’s American Hustle.

The nominees for best adapted screenplay are Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke’s Before Midnight; Ray’s Captain Phillips; Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope’s Philomena; John Ridley’s 12 Years a Slave; and Terence Winter’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

More from Wall St. Cheat Sheet:

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS

More from The Cheat Sheet