The next guild to release their nominees for the best films of 2015 is the Writer’s Guild.
And the nominees are:
BRIDGE OF SPIES – Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen;
SICARIO – Taylor Sheridan
SPOTLIGHT – Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy; Open Road Films
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON – Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (screenplay), Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus, and Andrea Berloff (story)
TRAINWRECK – Amy Schumer; Universal Pictures
THE BIG SHORT – Charles Randolph and Adam McKay (based on the book by Michael Lewis)
CAROL – Phyllis Nagy (based on the novel, The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith)
THE MARTIAN – Drew Goddard (based on the novel by Andy Weir)
STEVE JOBS – Aaron Sorkin (based on the book by Walter Isaacson)
TRUMBO – John McNamara (based on the biography by Bruce Cook)
BEING CANADIAN – Robert Cohen
GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF – Alex Gibney
KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK – Brett Morgan
PROPHET’S PREY – Amy J. Berg
In this case, the Oscars emulate the guild by separating their screenplay nominations into two main categories: original and adapted, so it’s possible their nominees will echo the above list, though it’s unlikely due to the fact that many of the screenplays considered to be Oscar front-runners were not considered eligible for the WGA Awards (usually because the writer is not a member of the guild). That explains why The Hateful Eight, written by Quentin Tarantino and Inside Out, written by Pete Doctor and Bob Peterson weren’t nominated. Room, Ex Machina, Brooklyn and Mad Max: Fury Road were all also considered ineligible.
Guild politics aside, the additions to the nominee lists are interesting. During what many are calling the Year of Amy Schumer (though I would argue it should really be the Year of Alicia Vikander…but that’s a thought for another article), it’s great to see her be included in the original category for Trainwreck. Many will be happy to see Straight Outta Compton continue it’s comeback (after having been nominated by the Producers Guild yesterday) but the head scratcher here is John McNamara’s Trumbo. While Hollywood does enjoy patting itself on the back for movies about the industry, most prognosticators agreed that, while the acting was great, the story felt rushed.
All that aside, several of the nominees line up with predictions, particularly in the adapted category, which is certainly the harder to predict of the two. One should never count out Aaron Sorkin, who won for The Social Network in 2011, and is now up for Steve Jobs, but the seemingly impossible job of adapting Michael Lewis’ nonfiction tome, The Big Short, absolutely deserves some recognition for writers Charles Randolph and Adam McKay (who also directed). Drew Goddard’s tonally faithful adaptation of The Martian has also garnered quite a bit of praise.
As for original screenplay, Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy ‘s work on Spotlight is the likely frontrunner, but Straight Outta Compton has a vocal fan base, and the pedigree of Bridge of Spies, written by the Coen Brothers, shouldn’t be dismissed.
The 68th Annual Writers Guild Awards (which also includes categories for television) will take place on February 13th.
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