The Writers Guild of America (WGA) handed out their top prizes for the finest writing achievements of the year; one of the last remaining groups to announce ahead of next weeks’ Academy Awards telecast. The Grand Budapest Hotel, written by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, won the WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay while The Imitation Game, written by Graham Moore, took home the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay. Both films are nominated at the Oscars in the same categories and pose strong threats the win. The WGA Awards solidifies their statuses.
With that in the mind, the screenplay categories are among the most contested this year, and while the WGA Award strengthens the status of both The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game, neither can be seen as sure things. The Grand Budapest Hotel bested WGA nominees Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler and Whiplash. The big omission from the WGA list is Oscar favorite and guild powerful Birdman (which won top prizes from the PGA, DGA and SAG) – Birdman was deemed ineligible to compete at the WGA Awards because the film wasn’t made under the Guild’s Basic Agreement (WGA is stricter than any other guild.) Birdman also won the Screenplay award at the Golden Globes. At the Oscars, The Grand Budapest Hotel will compete against Birdman, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, and Nightcrawler. Anderson and Guinness recently took home the same prize from the British Academy (BAFTA) which may give Grand Budapest a slight advantage is a close race.
The adapted screenplay category is just as twisty. The Imitation Game won out over American Sniper, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Wild. Just two of those films transferred over to the Oscar line-up (Imitation Game and American Sniper). Whiplash (which was designated by the WGA as an original screenplay) was nominated at the Oscars in the adapted screenplay category – writer/director Damien Chazelle first filmed it as a short film to help get the feature financed. The Theory of Everything (the BAFTA winner in the adapted screenplay category and ineligible for WGA) and Inherent Vice rounded out the Oscar line-up.
Full list of film winners below:
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The Grand Budapest Hotel– Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Imitation Game– Graham Moore
BEST DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY: The Internet’s Own Boy– Brian Knappenberger