Writers Guild Awards: Complete Winners List
Alexander Payne, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon and Woody Allen took home the big screenplay prizes at the Writers Guild of America awards Sunday, for writing The Descendants and Midnight in Paris, respectively. The big winners on the TV side included the writing staff of Modern Family for comedy series and Breaking Bad for drama series.
Homeland won for writing on a new series and The Colbert Report took the award for comedy/variety series. Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega won the documentary screenplay award forBetter This World.
The awards ceremony honoring TV, film, videogame, news, radio and new media writing during 2011 took place at the Hollywood Palladium.
“Hi, and welcome to nerd prom,” said Zooey Deschanel, the show’s co-host with Joel McHale, to kick off the ceremony. “Male writers: You are all hot because of your minds,” she added as part of a facetious litany of come-ons. “Enough,” said McHale to cut her off. “You had them at eye contact.”
The TV stars — Deschanel stars on New Girl, McHale on Community — shepherded a fairly subdued event, which nonetheless featured a provocatively funny presentation of the Morgan Cox award to former guild president Patric Verrone by Simpsons colleague Mike Reiss and a videotaped introduction of the Laurel Award for Screen to Eric Roth by his Curious Case of Benjamin Button director David Fincher.
Other adapted screenplay nominees included Tate Taylor’s The Help; Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian’s Moneyball (story by Stan Chervin); John Logan’s Hugo; and Zaillian’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The Descendants, Hugo and Moneyball screenplays are also up for adapted screenplay Oscars Feb. 26, along with Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon’s The Ides of March.
While Rash and Faxon are first-time screenwriters, Payne has been nominated for three previous adapted screenplay awards, winning for Election in 1999 and Sideways in 2004. The trio also was handed the USC Libraries Scripter Award Saturday night for their adaptation of the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, who was also in attendance at the WGA awards.
Additional original screenplay nominees included Will Reiser’s debut screenplay 50/50, Diablo Cody’s Young Adult, Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig’s debut screenplay Bridesmaids and Thomas McCarthy’s Win Win (story by Joe Tiboni). Only the Bridesmaids and Midnight in Paris scripts are also up for the original screenplay Oscar, along with Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, J.C. Chandor’s Margin Call and Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist.
Allen had been nominated 19 previous times for WGA awards, winning for Annie Hall in 1977, Broadway Danny Rose in 1984, Hannah and Her Sisters in 1986 and Crimes and Misdemeanors in 1989 (he was also awarded the Laurel Award at the 1987 ceremony). The filmmaker did not attend the West Coast ceremony.
The other best documentary screenplay nominees were Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich and Leonard Retel Helmrich’s Position Among the Stars, Patricio Guzman’s Nostalgia for the Light, Wim Wenders’ Pina, Manish Pandey’s Senna and Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek’s If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front.
Mad Men showrunner Matthew Weiner presented the award for children’s episodic and specials with Kiernan Shipka (the preteen actress who plays Sally Draper on the series), who stole the show with a Joan Crawford monologue from Mommie Dearest. They handed the prize to Leo Chu and Eric S. Garcia, who wrote “Hero of the Shadows” for the Nickelodeon series Supah Ninjas.
Web Therapy co-creators Don Roos and Lisa Kudrow presented the new media awards to Heath Corson and Richie Keen for the original series Aim High and John Esposito and Greg Nicotero for the derivative series The Walking Dead.
Ratatouille director and star Brad Bird and Patton Oswalt paired up for the presentation of the animation and videogame awards. Oswalt, who voiced the role of Remy in the Pixar film, lamented that Bird had not cast him in the Simon Pegg role in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, until Bird pointed out that for his audition Oswalt had chosen a Dick Van Dyke chimney sweep take that didn’t fit the action picture. They then handed the animation award to Joel H. Cohen for his “Homer the Father” episode of The Simpsons and the videogame award to Amy Hennig for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
Amy Poehler and Michael Schur of Parks and Recreation presented the comedy/variety awards to The Colbert Report for series and After the Academy Awards for special, before the show segued into the honorary awards. Comedy/variety series nominees included the writing staffs of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Conan, Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Real Time With Bill Maher, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Saturday Night Live. New series nominees were New Girl, Game of Thrones, Episodes and The Killing.
Reiss spent much of his presentation to Verrone comparing the Futurama writer’s appearance to that of Hitler, while Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer of The Help took a more serious tack in presenting the Paul Selvin award to their writer-director Tate Taylor, who took the opportunity to defend his right as a white man to tell the story of black women in the South in the 1960s — or any story he or anyone else so chooses.
Friday Night Lights writer and executive producer Jason Katims presented the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television to thirtysomething and My So-Called Life writer-producers Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick. “When you’re 27 you can’t imagine a career,” said Herskovitz, as he accepted the award. “When you’re 57 you can’t remember it.”
“Writing together has allowed us to do together what we were too afraid to do alone,” added Zwick.
Breaking Bad‘s creator and star, Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston, presented the comedy awards, including the series prize to Modern Family. “We are very scared that people are sick of us,” said co-creator Steven Levitan, acknowledging that the series won the award in 2011 and the new series award in 2010. As a pre-emptive salve, he then asked his entire staff to take turns coming to the microphone to explain why he or she did not actually feel like a winner. The writing staffs of Parks and Recreation, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock and Louie drew nods for comedy series, as well.
Deadwood creator David Milch introduced a video clip of Fincher, who took the opportunity to show his rarely seen funny side in presenting the Laurel Award for Screen to Roth. Shown seated, fidgeting and neurotic in a vast empty warehouse, Fincher explained that at his first meeting with Roth for Button he thought, “Here was someone who hated more people than I did in Hollywood. We could build on that.”
After Deschanel and McHale handed out the feature awards, Michael Patrick King and Kat Dennings of 2 Broke Girls presented the TV drama prizes, which resulted in Gilligan coming to the stage twice, for series and episodic drama (in the latter category, his Breaking Bad episode “Box Cutter” tied with Henry Bromell’s Homeland episode “The Good Soldier”). Drama series nominees included Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire and Homeland.
The complete list of winners and nominees is below.
50/50, Written by Will Reiser; Summit Entertainment
Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig; Universal Studios
*WINNER: Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics
Win Win, Screenplay by Tom McCarthy; Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni; Fox Searchlight
Young Adult, Written by Diablo Cody; Paramount Pictures
*WINNER: The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming; Fox Searchlight
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian; Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, originally published by Norstedts; Columbia Pictures
The Help, Screenplay by Tate Taylor; Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett; DreamWorks Pictures
Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan; Based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; Paramount Pictures
Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin; Based on the book by Michael Lewis; Columbia Pictures
*WINNER: Better This World, Written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega; Loteria Films
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Written by Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek; Oscilloscope Pictures
Nostalgia for the Light, Written by Patricio Guzmán; Icarus Films
Pina, Screenplay by Wim Wenders; Sundance Selects
Position Among the Stars, Script by Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich, Leonard Retel Helmrich; HBO Films
Senna, Written by Manish Pandey; Producers Distribution Agency
Boardwalk Empire, Written by Bathsheba Doran, Dave Flebotte, Gina Gionfriddo, Howard Korder, Steve Kornacki, Itamar Moses, Margaret Nagle,Terence Winter; HBO
*WINNER: Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC
Game of Thrones, Written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, George R.R. Martin, D.B. Weiss; HBO
The Good Wife, Written by Courtney Kemp Agboh, Meredith Averill, Corinne Brinkerhoff, Leonard Dick, Keith Eisner, Karen Hall, Ted Humphrey, Michelle King, Robert King, Steve Lichtman, Matthew Montoya, Julia Wolfe; CBS
Homeland, Written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Gideon Raff, Meredith Stiehm; Showtime
30 Rock, Written by Jack Burditt, Hannibal Buress, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tom Ceraulo, Vali Chandrasekaran, Tina Fey, Jon Haller, Matt Hubbard, Dylan Morgan, John Riggi, Josh Siegal, Ron Weiner, Tracey Wigfield; NBC
Curb Your Enthusiasm,Written by Alec Berg, Larry David, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer; HBO
Louie, Written by Pamela Adlon, Louis C.K.; FX
*WINNER: Modern Family, Written by Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Carol Leifer, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Brad Walsh, Ilana Wernick, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker; ABC
Parks & Recreation, Written by Greg Daniels, Katie Dippold, Daniel J. Goor, Norm Hiscock, Emily Kapnek, Dave King, Greg Levine, Aisha Muharrar, Chelsea Peretti, Amy Poehler, Brian Rowe, Michael Schur, Mike Scully, Emily Spivey, Alan Yang, Harris Wittels; NBC
Episodes,Written by David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik; Showtime
Game of Thrones, Written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, George R.R. Martin, D.B. Weiss; HBO
*WINNER: Homeland, Written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Gideon Raff, Meredith Stiehm; Showtime
The Killing, Written by Linda Burstyn, Jeremy Doner, Soo Hugh, Dan Nowak, Nic Pizzolatto, Dawn Prestwich, Veena Sud, Nicole Yorkin, Aaron Zelman; AMC
New Girl, Written by Nick Adams, Rachel Axler, Brett Baer, Donick Cary, Dave Finkel, Berkley Johnson, Josh Malmuth, Elizabeth Meriwether, J.J. Philbin, Joe Port, Luvh Rakhe, Joe Wiseman; Fox
“A Dangerous Maid” (Boardwalk Empire), Written by Itamar Moses; HBO
“The Age of Reason” (Boardwalk Empire), Written by Bathsheba Doran; HBO
*WINNER (tie): “Box Cutter” (Breaking Bad), Written by Vince Gilligan; AMC
“End Times” (Breaking Bad), Written by Thomas Schnauz & Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC
*WINNER (tie): “The Good Soldier” (Homeland), Written by Henry Bromell; Showtime
“Just Let Go” (Dexter), Written by Jace Richdale; Showtime
*WINNER: “Caught in the Act” (Modern Family), Written by Steven Levitan & Jeffrey Richman; ABC
“Goodbye Michael, Part 2” (The Office), Written by Greg Daniels; NBC
“Mother’s Day” (Modern Family), Written by Dan O’Shannon & Ilana Wernick; ABC
“Object Impermanence” (Weeds), Written by Stephen Falk; Showtime
“PDA” (The Office), Written by Robert Padnick; NBC
“Queen of Jordan” (30 Rock), Written by Tracey Wigfield; NBC
LONG FORM – ORIGINAL
*WINNER: Cinema Verite, Written by David Seltzer; HBO
Five, “Pearl,” Written by Deirdre O’Connor, “Charlotte,” Written by Stephen Godchaux, “Cheyanne,” Written by Howard Morris, “Lili,” Written by Jill Gordon, “Mia,” Written by Wendy West; Lifetime
LONG FORM – ADAPTED
Mildred Pierce, Teleplay by Todd Haynes & Jon Raymond, Based on the novel by James M. Cain; HBO
*WINNER: Too Big to Fail, Written by Peter Gould, Based on the book written by Andrew Ross Sorkin; HBO
“Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts” (The Simpsons), Written by Tim Long; Fox
“The Blue and the Gray” (The Simpsons), Written by Rob LaZebnik; Fox
“Donnie Fatso” (The Simpsons), Written by Chris Cluess; Fox
*WINNER: “Homer the Father” (The Simpsons), Written by Joel H. Cohen; Fox
“Moonstruck” (Ben 10: Ultimate Alien), Written by Len Uhley; Cartoon Network
“The Silence of the Clamps” (Futurama), Written by Eric Rogers; Comedy Central
COMEDY / VARIETY – (INCLUDING TALK) SERIES
Conan, Writers: Jose Arroyo, Andres du Bouchet, Deon Cole, Josh Comers, Dan Cronin, Michael Gordon, Berkley Johnson, Brian Kiley, Laurie Kilmartin, Rob Kutner, Todd Levin, Brian McCann, Conan O'Brien, Matt O'Brien, Jesse Popp, Andy Richter, Frank Smiley, Brian Stack, Mike Sweeney; TBS
Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Writers: Leo Allen, Jon Benjamin; Comedy Central
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Head Writer: AD Miles, Writers: David Angelo, Patrick Borelli, Gerard Bradford, Jeremy Bronson, Mike DiCenzo, Jimmy Fallon, John Haskell, Eric Ledgin, Dan Opsal, Amy Ozols, Gavin Purcell, Diallo Riddle, Jon Rineman, Bashir Salahuddin, Justin Shanes, Michael Shoemaker, Jen Statsky, CJ Toledano; NBC
Real Time with Bill Maher,Writers: Scott Carter, Adam Felber, Matt Gunn, Brian Jacobsmeyer, Jay Jaroch, Chris Kelly, Bill Maher, Billy Martin, Amani Redd; HBO
Saturday Night Live, Head Writer: Seth Meyers, Writers: Doug Abeles, James Anderson, Alex Baze, Heather Anne Campbell, Matt Craig, Jessica Conrad, James Downey, Tom Flanigan, Shelly Gossman, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Zach Kanin, Chris Kelly, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, Jonathan Krisel, Lorne Michaels, John Mulaney, Christine Nangle, Michael Patrick O’Brien, Paula Pell, Simon Rich, Marika Sawyer, Akiva Schaffer, Sarah Schneider, Pete Schultz, John Solomon, Kent Sublette, Jorma Taccone, Bryan Tucker; NBC
*WINNER: The Colbert Report, Writers: Michael Brumm, Stephen Colbert, Rich Dahm, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Dan Guterman, Peter Gwinn, Jay Katsir, Barry Julien, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi, Tom Purcell, Meredith Scardino, Scott Sherman, Max Werner; Comedy Central
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,Writers: Rory Albanese, Kevin Bleyer, Richard Blomquist, Steve Bodow, Tim Carvell, Wyatt Cenac, Hallie Haglund, J.R. Havlan, Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy, Sam Means, Jo Miller, John Oliver, Zhubin Parang, Daniel Radosh, Jason Ross, Jon Stewart; Comedy Central
COMEDY / VARIETY – MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES – SPECIALS
*WINNER: After the Academy Awards, Head Writers: Gary Greenberg, Molly McNearney; Writers: Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, John N. Huss, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Jimmy Kimmel, Jonathan Kimmel, Jacob Lentz, Danny Ricker, Richard G. Rosner; ABC
The Kennedy Center Honors,Written by Lewis Friedman, Sara Lukinson, Michael Stevens, George Stevens, Jr.; CBS
All My Children,Written by Jeff Beldner, Lorraine Broderick, Joanna Cohen, Lisa K. Connor, Chris Dunn, Lucky Gold, Kate Hall, Chip Hayes, David Kreizman, Dave Ryan, Donna Swajeski, Rebecca Taylor, Addie Walsh; ABC
*WINNER: General Hospital, Written by Meg Bennett, Nathan Fissell, David Goldschmid, Robert Guza, Jr., Karen Harris, Elizabeth Korte, Mary Sue Price, Michele Val Jean, Susan Wald, Tracey Thomson; ABC
The Young and the Restless,Written by Amanda L. Beall, Tom Casiello, Susan Dansby, Janice Ferri Esser, Jay Gibson, Scott Hamner, Marla Kanelos, Natalie Minardi Slater, Beth Milstein, Michael Montgomery, Anne Schoettle, Linda Schreiber, Sarah Smith, Sandra Weintraub, Chris Whitesell, Teresa Zimmerman; CBS
CHILDREN'S – EPISODIC & SPECIALS
“The Good Birds Club” (Sesame Street), Written by Joseph Mazzarino; PBS
*WINNER: “Hero of the Shadows” (Supah Ninjas), Written by Leo Chu, Eric S. Garcia; Nickelodeon
“iLost My Mind” (iCarly), Written by Dan Schneider, Matt Fleckenstein; Nickelodeon
“Luther Turns 4” (Zeke and Luther), Written by Devin Bunje, Nick Stanton; Disney XD
“Oh, Brother” (The Troop), Written by Max Burnett; Nickelodeon
“The Prince Frog” (Imagination Movers), Written by Jennifer Heftler, Randi Barnes, Rick Gitelson, Vivien Mejia, Michael G. Stern; Disney Channel
DOCUMENTARY – CURRENT EVENTS
“Smartest Machine on Earth” (Nova), Written by Julia Cort, Michael Bicks; PBS
“The Spill” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria, Martin Smith; PBS
*WINNER: “Top Secret America” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk, Mike Wiser; PBS
DOCUMENTARY – OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS
“Dinosaur Bone War” (American Experience), Written by Mark Davis; PBS
“Episode One: A New Adam, a New Eden” (God in America), Written by David Belton; PBS
“The Great Famine” (American Experience), Written by Austin Hoyt; PBS
“Making Stuff Smarter” (Nova), Written by Daniel McCabe; PBS
“Prohibition: Episode Two: A Nation of Scofflaws,” Written by Geoffrey C. Ward; PBS
“Triangle Fire” (American Experience), Written by Mark Zwonitzer; PBS
*WINNER: “Wiki Secrets” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria & Martin Smith; PBS
NEWS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“An American Tragedy in Joplin” (ABC World News with Diane Sawyer), Written by Lisa Ferri, Julia Kathan; ABC
“The Bond King” (CBS News), Written by Polly Leider; CBS
“CBS News Special Report-9/11: Ten Years Later” (CBS News), Written by Jerry Cipriano; CBS
*WINNER: “Educating Sergeant Pantzke” (Frontline), Written by John Maggio, Martin Smith; PBS
“North Carolina Sterilization” (CBS News), Written by Amy Westerby; CBS
“The Shootings in Tucson” (ABC Weekend World News), Written by Joel Siegel, Karen Mooney, David Muir; ABC
NEWS – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Blind Surfers” (ABC News), Written by Joel Siegel, Sharyn Alfonsi; ABC
*WINNER: “Doctor Hot Spot” (Frontline), Written by Thomas Jennings; PBS
“Flying Cheaper” (Frontline), Written by Rick Young; PBS
“The Year in Politics” (CBS News), Written by Heather M. Scott; CBS
NEW MEDIA NOMINEES
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN WRITING ORIGINAL NEW MEDIA
*WINNER: “Episode 1,” “Episode 2,” “Episode 4,” “Episode 5,” “Episode 6” (Aim High), Written by Heath Corson & Richie Keen; cambio.com/aim-high
“Episode 2.1: Employment,” “Episode 2.2: Clientele,” “Episode 2.3: Personal Property,” “Episode 2.4: The American Dream,” “Episode 2.5: Debt Ceiling” (Downsized), Written by Daryn Strauss; downsizedthewebseries.com
“Episode 3.1: The Return,” “Episode 3.5: The Testosterone,” “Episode 3.6: The Advice,” “Episode 3.7: The Date” (Jack in a Box), Written by Michael Cyril Creighton; jackinaboxsite.com
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN WRITING DERIVATIVE NEW MEDIA
“Soft Served!,” “Iced!,” “Rokered!” (Jack Donaghy: Executive Superhero), 30 Rock, Written by Tom Ceraulo; nbc.com
“Raiden,” “Kitana and Mileena,” “Johnny Cage” (Mortal Kombat: Legacy), Written by Todd Helbing & Aaron Helbing; machinima.com
“Pay Phone,” “Jax Meets His Second Son,” “Tara & Piney,” “Mexican Basketball” (Sons of Anarchy), Written by Kurt Sutter & Gladys Rodriguez; FXnetworks.com
*WINNER: “A New Day,” “Family Matters,” “Neighborly Advice,” “Step Mom,” “Everything Dies” (The Walking Dead), Teleplay by John Esposito, Story by John Esposito and Greg Nicotero; amc.com
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Story by Alexandre Amancio, Jean Guesdon, Corey May, Darby McDevitt; Multiplayer Story by Stéphane Blais, Richard Farrese, Jeffrey Yohalem; Lead Script Writer Darby McDevitt; Script Writers Richard Farrese, Nicholas Grimwood, Corey May, Jeffrey Yohalem; Greek and Turkish Ambient Dialogue Writer Vincenzo Beretta; Ubisoft
Batman: Arkham City,Lead Narrative Designer Paul Crocker; Story Written by Paul Dini, Paul Crocker and Sefton Hill; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Brink, Lead Writer Edward “Bongoboy” Stern; Bethesda Softworks
Mortal Kombat, Story by John Vogel, Brian Chard, Dominic Cianciolo, Alexander Barrentine, Jon Greenberg; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
*WINNER: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Written by Amy Hennig; Sony Computer Entertainment
*WINNER: 2010 Year in Review, Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News
NEWS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED OR BREAKING REPORT
*WINNER: Portraits of a Terrorist: Who is Osama Bin Laden?, Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News
NEWS – ANALYSIS, FEATURE OR COMMENTARY
*WINNER: Justice in a Time of Terror, Written by Andrew Cohen & Rob Mank; CBS Radio News
So Many Goodbyes, Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News
PROMOTIONAL WRITING AND GRAPHIC ANIMATION NOMINEES
ON-AIR PROMOTION (RADIO OR TELEVISION)
*WINNER: “Fairytale” (Today Show), Written by Carol M. Sullivan; NBC News
TELEVISION GRAPHIC ANIMATION
*WINNER: “CBS News Animations” (CBS News), Graphic Animation by David Rosen; CBS News
(*Editor Note: There were no nominees this year in the following WGA categories: Children’s Long Form or Special and Television Graphic Art.)