Could the Weinsteins Be Snubbed at the WGA Nominations?

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Last year, industry observers were surprised when the Writers Guild of America announced its nominations for the Screenplay Awards and left off two high-profile contenders: WGA-winning hero Charlie Kaufman, who'd made his directorial debut with Synecdoche, New York (which just topped Roger Ebert's best-of-decade list), and Jenny Lumet, who had received the lion's share of glowing media profiles that season for her Rachel Getting Married script. However, a closer look could have revealed one strong clue why neither writer was nominated, and it's one that could spell trouble for any Weinstein Co. hopeful aspiring to a WGA award this year.

Unlike the DGA, which has a strict "no screeners" rule, or SAG, which is vast enough to limit the amount of "for your consideration" discs mailed to its membership, members of the WGA are regularly targeted with award DVDs and Blu-Rays -- and they respond in kind. Over the past few years, it's been near-impossible to score a WGA nomination without sending its membership a screener, and last year, nine of the ten nominees had played the game. (Both Synecdoche and Rachel had gone screener-less and, ultimately, nomination-less.)

Though Harvey Weinstein is an awards veteran, his Weinstein Co. has abstained from sending out WGA screeners for Nine, Inglorious Basterds, The Road, or A Single Man this year, and ballots close this Friday. Of the four, Basterds still seems to be a lock for a nomination, even without a screener (meaning Quentin Tarantino could manage the feat accomplished by Woody Allen for the Weinstein Co's Vicky Christina Barcelona last year), but the Weinsteins' other films could use all the help they can get. In particular, the flailing Nine can at least boast two well-known screenwriters -- the late Anthony Minghella and The Player's Michael Tolkin -- and as its award prospects continue to dim, the lack of a WGA nomination could hurt it all the more.

Still, if there's any year to save your pennies and cross your fingers, it's this one, where a few other presumptive WGA nominees, including An Education and Fantastic Mr. Fox, have also neglected to send out screeners. Here's the list of films that did -- don't be shocked if a surprise title from the group sneaks its way into contention:

(500) Days of Summer

Brothers

Bruno

Crazy Heart

Funny People

The Hurt Locker

It's Complicated

Julie & Julia

The Lovely Bones

Precious

Public Enemies

A Serious Man

Up in the Air



Comments

  • Joey Schmutts says:

    There's an important component you didn't mention: Not all of these movies are eligible for a WGA nomination. Only scripts written under the auspices of a WGA contract are eligible. So that means no animation (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and often no foreign or British movies (An Education). And Tarantino, I think, opted out of the Guild. So he's not eligible.

  • Joey Schmutts says:

    There's an important component you didn't mention: Not all of these movies are eligible for a WGA nomination. Only scripts written under the auspices of a WGA contract are eligible. So that means no animation (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and often no foreign or British movies (An Education). And Tarantino, I think, opted out of the Guild. So he's not eligible.

  • Martini Shark says:

    I know in years past it has been fashionable to root against the Weinstein juggernaut, but after the the break from Miramax, and the deplorable year they have had, there may be sympathy now for the bros. I still hope the fat prig loses, but then I have never been swayed by fashion.

  • J L Price says:

    Why send a screaner to a person who can't nominate your movie because the film is not WGA-blessed? Or are you just too cheap to buy the DVD like everyone else?

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