John Waters to Receive WGA's Hunter Award

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John Waters

The prize is presented to a guild member in honor of his or her body of work as a movie or TV writer.

John Waters is set to receive the Writers Guild of America, East's Ian McLellan Hunter Award, which recognizes a movie or TV writer's body of work, it was announced Wednesday.

The writer-director of Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, Serial Mom and Pecker, among other movies, will accept the award from David Simon at the WGA's New York ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 19.

Waters said of the honor, "Decades ago, a critic once wrote that my screenplays 'were merely clotheslines to hang out my dirty wash.' I'm glad the WGAE disagrees — or maybe they DO agree, who knows? Either way, I couldn't be more honored and excited to get this award.”

Added Simon, “The metropolis of Baltimore, Maryland, contains multitudes: The stolid rowhouse folk of Mencken's Heathen Days; the post-yiddishe wit of Barry Levinson's assimilating Diner guys; Anne Tyler's hermetic yet idiosyncratic Roland Park; Laura Lippman's crime narratives of Bawlmer women and their carried secrets; The Wire's inverse economies of the city's poorest and most vulnerable. Good, bad and all points in between. But only John Waters has made being not right, not normal, not ordinary, nor expected seem so, well, Baltimore. Time and again, on film and in prose and eventually on Broadway, he has celebrated the very American notion that there is, in fact, no normal. That we are all, if we are honest, at least two standard deviations from the mean. In Baltimore, it is our goddamn birthright. I've shared my crew with this man. I've shared some cast, at points. I've shared some meals and jokes and the very real benefit of his having been a pioneer for a film community that has punched well beyond its weight class. But most of all, like damn near every Baltimorean, I am proud that I share a city with this fine storyteller.”

The Ian McLellan Hunter Award was established in 1992 to honor a Writers Guild member for his or her body of work as a writer in motion pictures or television. Hunter, a longtime WGAE member, was harassed by the Hollywood blacklist in the 1950s and went on to write several successful TV series under a pseudonym before reemerging as a TV writer. Last year's award was given to Richard LaGravenese, with previous recipients including Simon, Paul Haggis, David Koepp, Claire Labine, Frank Gilroy, Alan Zweibel, Andrew Bergman, Marshall Brickman, John Sayles, Jules Feiffer, Nora Ephron and Walter Bernstein.

The 2017 WGA Awards' New York ceremony, hosted by Lewis Black, will occur simultaneously with a Los Angeles ceremony, hosted by Patton Oswalt, on Feb. 19. The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, TV, new media, video games, news, radio, promotion and graphic animation.

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