The 73rd Writers Guild Awards is underway in a virtual ceremony, honoring the best in original and adapted screenplay and documentary, TV, new media, news, radio/audio and promotional writing.
For the first time, in recent history, the awards ceremonies for both WGA West and WGA East will be in lock step as both have been merged tonight in one live stream. Typically, two ceremonies are held separately in both L.A. and NYC at the same time, with both reading off winners at separate times. Quite often, the NY awards ceremony will get ahead of LA’s and announce winners, completely spoiling the suspense for anyone in the Beverly Hilton ballroom.
Tonight’s host Kal Penn, clad in a satin purple tux jacket, was live from what looked to be his home. The Harold & Kumar actor mentioned that he just became a WGA member.
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“When I joined SAG they just gave me a pin, oh, well and health insurance,” he joked.
“The show brings together a wonderfully diverse range, from liberal writers on the East Coast to Liberal writers on the West Coast,” he continued.
“We’re presenting 26 awards tonight…it’s also the same number of weeks we spend out of work,” Penn added.
In years past, the WGA ceremonies are known for their sketches or two hander presenter banter, however, that has been replaced this year with a pre-taped show with many of the winners speaking straight from home. Those sketches have been replaced with zinger montage videos, i.e. various WGA members at the top answered the question what they wanted to be when they were 12, i.e. The Social Network Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin answered he wanted to be in Broadway musicals.
Nominated for best original screenplay are the scribes behind Judas and the Black Messiah, Palm Springs, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7. The Adapted Screenplay race is among Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, News of the World, One Night in Miami and The White Tiger.
The documentary category will see All In: The Fight for Democracy, The Dissident, Herb Alpert Is…, Red Penguins and Totally Under Control facing off for the WGA trophy.
Last year, the guild lined up with Oscar’s screenwriting prizes, awarding Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won’s Parasite in original screenplay and Taika Waititi’s JoJo Rabbit in adapted. Both won on Oscar night. That’s a feat that doesn’t always occur as the WGA only recognizes those nominees who are guild members, i.e. last year the guild overlooked Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in the original screenplay category as the filmmaker isn’t a WGA member. AMPAS, however, did give Tarantino’s screenplay a nod.
On the TV side, AMC’s Better Call Saul led all shows with five nominations including for Drama Series, joining Amazon Studios’ The Boys, Netflix’s The Crown and Disney+’s The Mandalorian.
Hulu also scored multiple nominations, including Comedy with Tony McNamara’s The Great and Pen15 and FX on Hulu’s What We Do in the Shadows, which will be battling it out with HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso.
Ted Lasso and The Great also are nominated in the New Series category.
The now-defunct Quibi (#FreeRayshawn and The Most Dangerous Game) has taken the award in the shortform category. Other multiple noms include Fox’s The Simpsons, which landed four of the six nominations in Animation. And last year’s Comedy/Variety Talk Show winner, HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, is hoping for a second consecutive win.
We’ll be updating the winners live here, so refresh for updates.
TELEVISION, NEW MEDIA, AND NEWS
Original Long Form
Written by Tanya Barfield, Joshua Griffith, Sharon Hoffman, Boo Killebrew, Micah Schraft, April Shih, Dahvi Waller; FX Networks
Adapted Long Form
The Queen’s Gambit
Written by Scott Frank, Allan Scott, Based on the novel by Walter Tevis; Netflix
Original & Adapted Short Form New Media
Written by Marc Maurino; Quibi
“Fire Pink” (Ozark)
Written by Miki Johnson; Netflix
“The Great” (The Great)
Written by Tony McNamara; Hulu
Comedy/Variety Talk Series
Comedy/Variety Sketch Series
Quiz And Audience Participation
Children’s Episodic, Long Form And Specials
Written by Sarah Rothschild; Netflix
Documentary Script – Current Events
“Agents of Chaos, Part II”
Written by Alex Gibney & Michael J. Palmer; HBO Documentary Films
Documentary Script – Other Than Current Events
“Opioids, Inc.” (Frontline)
Written by Tom Jennings; PBS
News Script – Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, Or Breaking Report
News Script – Analysis, Feature, Or Commentary
“The Store That Called the Cops on George Floyd”
Written by Aymann Ismail; Slate.com
Radio Audio News Script – Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, Or Breaking Report
Radio Audio News Script – Analysis, Feature, Or Commentary
On Air Promotion
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