WGA Awards: Elaine May to be Honored for Screenwriting Achievement

Elaine May  - H 2016
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The comedy screenwriter-director-actress will be recognized at the WGA's West Coast ceremony.

Elaine May will receive the Writers Guild of America, West's 2016 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement, honoring her career and body of work.

May will be honored at the WGA's Los Angeles ceremony on Feb. 13.

“Elaine May defines the phrase ‘smart and funny,'" WGAW president Howard A. Rodman said Tuesday in a statement. "From the Compass Players to Nichols & May to A New Leaf and The Heartbreak Kid and Mikey and Nicky, she invented a strain of knowing, painful, ironic humor that quickly became central to what we now think of as comedy. She's received Oscar nominations and WGA nominations and Writers Guild Awards, all well-deserved; but it is time to recognize, plainly and simply, the debt that all of us owe to her brave, groundbreaking, fiercely intelligent, deeply human, relentlessly honest, scorchingly funny work.” 

May earned a WGA Award and Oscar nomination for co-writing 1978's Heaven Can Wait, starring Warren Beatty. She also received WGA nominations for her 1971 debut film A New Leaf, which she also directed and co-starred in opposite Walter Matthau, as well as 1996's The Birdcage and 1999's Primary Colors, for which she also received an Oscar nomination and won a BAFTA award for best adapted screenplay. Her other credits include 1972's The Heartbreak Kid and 1987's Ishtar.

May received a National Medal of the Arts from President Barack Obama in 2013.