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As the Writers Guild of America on Wednesday announced its nominees in the theatrical and documentary screenplay categories, awards season favorites La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight each claimed a spot in the original screenplay category for their respective writer-directors Damien Chazelle, Kenneth Lonergan and Barry Jenkins.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter August Wilson, who died in 2005, earned a posthumous adapted screenplay nomination for his 1983 play Fences.
The tongue-in-check superhero movie Deadpool also popped up in the adapted screenplay category, where its writing team of Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick claimed a nomination for adapting the X-Men comics character to the screen.
Joining La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight in the original screenplay category were Taylor Sheridan's Texas-set crime thriller Hell or High Water and Jeff Nichols' Loving, a look at the interracial married couple Mildred and Richard Loving, whose names became synonymous with the landmark Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia.
The category could look quite different, however, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its nominations on Jan. 24, since the Academy has classified both Moonlight and Loving as adapted, rather than original, screenplays.
In addition to Deadpool and Fences, the adapted category includes the sci-fi film Arrival, written by Eric Heisserer; Hidden Figures, which tells of the black female mathematicians who came to the aid of the U.S. space program in the 1960s, penned by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi; and Nocturnal Animals, the contemporary psychological thriller written by Tom Ford, who also directed.
While the cheeky Deadpool might at first have appeared like something of a surprise — claiming a spot that might have gone to more dramatic features like Silence, Hacksaw Ridge or Sully — the movie, starring Ryan Reynolds, is actually doing quite well this week, having also earned an ACE Eddie nomination and another nom from the Casting Society of America's Artios Awards.
Among the TV nominees, new shows vying for the top prize for scribes include HBO drama Westworld, Netflix breakout Stranger Things, NBC darling This Is Us and critical favorite comedies such as FX's Atlanta and Better Things. Veep, last year's top comedy, also scored a key nomination, while drama sees mostly new blood on account of departed victor Mad Men.
Bragging rights for mentions go to AMC's Better Call Saul and Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Each scored a nomination in the drama and comedy races, respectively, and they nabbed multiple episodic mentions — three for Better Call Saul and two for Kimmy Schmidt.
The 69th annual Writers Guild Awards will be handed out Sunday, Feb. 19, at simultaneous ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles. Nominees for television, new media, radio, news, promotional writing and graphic animation were announced in December. Video game writing nominations were unveiled Thursday, Jan. 12th.
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