VOTE NOW: Writers Choose One of Their Own as Host!

WGAlogo There Go Those Unpredictable Writers… Again! 

"Family Guy" guy Seth MacFarlane will host the 2010 Writers Guild Awards (WGA) on Feb. 20. 

6a00d8341c630a53ef0128771bca9a970c-320wi  MacFarlane issued one of the most witty-within-a-quote barbs in his acceptance. “I’m honored and humbled to be chosen as host of the WGAW awards," MacFarlane said in a (written, of course) statement. "I look forward to catching up with my strike buddies from 2007, and making some new strike buddies for 2011." Spoken with the hubris that only a guy with hit shows falling out of his pockets can muster.

Bryce Zabel @ Movie Smackdown This isn't wholly unexpected here at Movie Smackdown given that I actually attended the TV Academy's Hall of Fame awards last week where MacFarlane was a stand-out speaker (looking more polished that most of the actors) when he presented the posthumous award to Gene Roddenberry. The producer of the WGA awards, Spike Jones Jr. (not that Spike Jonze) was in the audience. Maybe he saw the same thing and said, "Why not?"

So… to recap… the winners for
outstanding achievement in writing for the screen during the past year will be honored in a few more weeks — Saturday, February 20. Our Movie Smackdown poll winners will be announced on February 17, predicting the actual winners with uncanny accuracy, and thus spoiling all sense of surprise. You won't want to miss that act of defiance!

For that promised poll, and some written words of wisdom from Smackdown co-editor Sherry Coben… read on…

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0001an No one could ever call the Writers Guild Awards predictable.
Even the most enthusiastic Avatar
booster admits to having some issues with that film’s script
(or
at least, with the occasionally clumsy dialogue). The brilliantly scripted In
the Loop
makes for a glaring omission that
can be explained; the film was not included in the list of candidates for
nomination. 

Light BulbOriginal screenplays nods are certainly original and
surprising this year; all-over-the-map choices vary in tone from lightest to
darkest. Nominated screenplays include: light romantic comedy of (500) Days of Summer, gross-out funny with a heart of gold The
Hangover
, ambitiously epic Avatar, searing war drama in The Hurt Locker, and the equivocating comic-spiritual journey of A
Serious Man
. Comedies may be ignored by
other awards, but writers know better than anyone. Comedy is hard.

Adapted screenplay nominations include obvious choices from
industry darlings Nora Ephron (Julie & Julia) and Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) and the clumsily titled Precious: Based on the novel Push by
Sapphire.
Joining them in the race are two slightly darker horses, Crazy Heart and Star
Trek

These WGA nominations may not be the tip-off to the eventual Oscar picks because several high-profile films that might ordinarily get a nom — like Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," Nick Hornby's "An Education," and Tom Ford and David Scearce's "A Single Man" — didn't qualify because they weren't filmed under the WGA's contract or covered by guilds in Great Britain, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Why they weren't, well, that's another post.

Vote for your favorite screenplay (or at least your perception of the writing)…not your favorite film. There is a difference. Here are the two polls: for original and adaptation. 

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ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Online Surveys & Market Research

(500) Days of Summer, Written by Scott Neustadter &
Michael H. Weber
; Fox Searchlight

 Avatar, Written by James Cameron; 20th Century Fox

The Hangover, Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore; Warner
Bros.

The Hurt Locker, Written by Mark Boal; Summit Entertainment

A Serious Man, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen; Focus
Features

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ADAPTED SCREENPLAY 


Online Surveys & Market Research

Crazy Heart, Screenplay by Scott Cooper; Based on the novel
by Thomas Cobb; Fox Searchlight

Julie & Julia, Screenplay by Nora Ephron; Based on the
books Julie & Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child
with Alex Prud’homme; Sony Pictures

Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, Screenplay by
Geoffrey Fletcher; Based on the novel Push by Sapphire; Lionsgate

Star Trek, Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman;
Based upon Star Trek, Created by Gene Roddenberry; Paramount Pictures

Up in the Air, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon
Turner
; Based upon the novel by Walter Kirn; Paramount Pictures

About Bryce Zabel 199 Articles
Drawing inspiration from career experiences as a CNN correspondent, TV Academy chairman, writer/producer and fast-food cook, Bryce is the Editor-in-Chief of Movie Smackdown. While he freely admits to having written the screenplay for the reviewer-savaged "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," he hopes the fact that he also won the Writers Guild award a couple of years ago will cause you to cut him some slack. He's also a member of the Directors Guild, creator of five primetime network TV series, and author of a new non-fiction book about UFOs.

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