A pair of animated documentaries and a comic-book adaptation made the cut as the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East announced nominations for outstanding achievement in writing for the screen in 2008. Winners will be honored at the 2009 Writers Guild Awards held on Saturday, Feb. 7 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.
Waltz with Bashir, written and directed by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman, and Chicago 10, written and directed by Brett Morgen, are both up for Best Documentary Screenplay. Chicago 10 received a limited U.S. theatrical release via Roadside Attractions in February of 2008 and made its broadcast premiere on PBS in October. Sony Pictures Classics gave Bashir a limited North American release on Christmas day. The toons are up against InterPositive Media’s Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, written by Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker; Greenlight Theatrical/Intention Media’s Fuel, written by Johnny O’Hara; and Magnolia Pictures’ Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, screenplay by Alex Gibney from the words of Hunter S. Thompson.
Based on characters from DC’s Batman comics, Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight garnered a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for its script by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, with story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. The category is filled out by Paramount Pictures’ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (screenplay by Eric Roth, screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald), Miramax Films’ Doubt (screenplay by John Patrick Shanley, based on his stage play), Universal Pictures’ Frost/Nixon (screenplay by Peter Morgan, based on his stage play), and Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Slumdog Millionaire (screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, based on the novel Q and A by Vikas Swarup.
The nominees for Best Original Screenplay are Focus Features’ Burn After Reading (written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen), Focus Features’ Milk (written by Dustin Lance Black), The Weinstein Co.’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (written by Woody Allen), Overture Films’ The Visitor (written by Tom McCarthy) and Fox Searchlight Pictures’ The Wrestler (written by Robert Siegel).
Feature films eligible for a Writers Guild Award were released in the year 2008 and produced under the jurisdiction of Writers Guilds of America, East and West or affiliate guilds in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand. There were 255 films eligible for nomination in the categories of Original Screenplay (155) and Adapted Screenplay (100).
Documentaries eligible for a Writers Guild Award featured an on-screen writing credit and were exhibited theatrically in Los Angeles or New York for one week in 2008. While the credited writers of these documentaries were required to join the WGAW’s Nonfiction Writers Caucus or WGAE Nonfiction Writers Caucus in order to be considered, scripts need not have been written under WGA jurisdiction to be considered.