'Slumdog,' 'Milk' win WGA screenplay nods

'Mad Men,' '30 Rock' take top television honors

Fox Searchlight's Indian drama "Slumdog Millionaire" put another notch in the kudos-season win column Saturday, copping a WGA Award for best adapted screenplay for Simon Beaufoy.

Focus Features' Harvey Milk biopic "Milk," penned by Dustin Lance Black, won best original screenplay.

"This wasn't the easiest movie to produce, you know -- it's pretty gay!" said a grinning Black, who also was honored with the guild's Paul Selvin Award for championing constitutional rights and civil liberties.

Black added that he prayed a lot during the writing of the "Milk" screenplay.

"Mostly, I'll admit, I prayed for a green light," he said. "So I have to thank God, and I want to thank God for making my dreams come true."

In addition to "Milk," nominees in the original screenplay category included "Burn After Reading, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," The Visitor" and "The Wrestler."

In winning the best-adapted laurels, "Slumdog" overcame competition from scribes on "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," Doubt" and "Frost/Nixon." Beaufoy's screenplay for "Slumdog" was based on the novel "Q&A" by Vikas Swarup.

Accepting in New York, Beaufoy called the WGA award "a considerable honor."

Ari Folman won the best documentary screenplay award for Sony Pictures Classics' animated feature "Walz With Bashir." Among television winners, a team of writers on AMC's "Mad Men" earned best dramatic series accolades, while the WGA Award for comedy series went to a group of writers on NBC's "30 Rock."

Awards in film, TV and other categories were presented in simultaneous ceremonies at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Century City and the Millennium Broadway Hotel's Hudson Theatre in New York. Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother") hosted on the West Coast, while John Oliver ("The Daily Show With Jon Stewart") emceed back East.

"We are here tonight to honor writing -- and to figure out how to get a piece of President Obama's huge stimulus package," Harris cracked.

Carl DiOrio reported from Los Angeles; Georg Szalai reported from New York.

A complete list of winners follows:


Original screenplay
"Milk," written by Dustin Lance Black, Focus Features

Adapted screenplay

"Slumdog Millionaire," screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Documentary screenplay
"Waltz With Bashir," written by Ari Folman, Sony Pictures Classics


Dramatic series
"Mad Men," written by Lisa Albert, Jane Anderson, Rick Cleveland, Kater Gordon,
David Isaacs, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Marti Noxon, Robin Veith,
Matthew Weiner; AMC

Comedy series
"30 Rock," written by Jack Burditt, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Donald Glover,
Andrew Guest, Matt Hubbard, Jon Pollack, John Riggi, Tami Sagher, Ron Weiner; NBC

New series
"In Treatment," written by Rodrigo Garcia, Bryan Goluboff, Davey Holmes, William Merritt
Johnson, Amy Lippman, Sarah Treem; HBO

Episodic drama (any length -- one airing time)

"Pilot" ("Breaking Bad"), written by Vince Gilligan; AMC

Episodic comedy (any length -- one airing time)

"Succession" ("30 Rock"), written by Andrew Guest & John Riggi; NBC

Longform -- original (over one hour -- one or two parts, one or two airing
"Recount," written by Danny Strong; HBO

Longform -- adaptation (over one hour -- one or two parts, one or two
airing times)
"John Adams," "Episode 1, Join or Die," teleplay by Kirk Ellis, based on the book by
David McCullough; "Episode 2, Independence," Teleplay by Kirk Ellis, based on the book by
David McCullough; HBO

Animation (any length -- one airing time)
"Apocalypse Cow" ("The Simpsons"), written by Jeff Westbrook; Fox

Comedy/variety (including talk) series
"Saturday Night Live," head writers Seth Meyers, Andrew Steele, Paula Pell, Writers
Doug Abeles, James Anderson, Alex Baze, Jessica Conrad, James Downey,
Charlie Grandy, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, John Lutz,
Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, John Mulaney, Paula Pell, Simon Rich, Marika Sawyer,
Akiva Schaffer, Robert Smigel, John Solomon, Emily Spivey, Andrew Steele, Kent
Sublette, Jorma Taccone, Bryan Tucker, Additional Sketches by Robert Carlock; NBC

Comedy/variety (music, awards, tributes) specials
"2008 Film Independent Spirit Awards," written by Billy Kimball, Aaron Lee, Jennifer Celotta,
Rainn Wilson; IFC/AMC

Daytime serials
"As the World Turns," written by Jean Passanante, Leah Laiman, Courtney Simon, Lisa
Connor, David A. Levinson, Peter Brash, Richard Culliton, Susan Dansby, Cheryl Davis,
Leslie Nipkow; CBS

Children's episodic & specials
"Elmo's Christmas Countdown" (Sesame Workshop), written by Joey Mazzarino; ABC

Children's script -- longform of special
"Polar Bears" ("The Naked Brothers Band"), written by Polly Draper; Nickelodeon

Documentary -- current events
"Bush's War: Part One" (Frontline), written by Michael Kirk; PBS

Documentary -- other than current events
"Secrets of the Parthenon" ("Nova"), written by Gary Glassman; PBS

News -- regularly scheduled, bulletin or breaking report
ABC Weekend News, written by Joel Siegel, Karen Mooney, David Muir; ABC

News -- analysis, feature or commentary
"Yankee Stadium and the New Gilded Age" (Bill Moyers Journal), Writers Bill Moyers &
Michael Winship; PBS


Black History Month, Written by Anthony J. McHugh; CBS

News -- regularly scheduled or breaking
World News This Week, Written by Marianne J. Pryor; ABC

News -- analysis, feature or commentary
Tributes, Written by Gail Lee; CBS

Promotional writing and graphic art winners

On-air promotion (radio or television
"Jericho: Two-Minute Drills," written by Eric Jacobson; CBS

Television graphic animation
"Medical Animations" (CBS Evening News), David Rosen; CBS


Video game writing
"Star Wars: The Force Unleashed," writers Haden Blackman, Shawn Pitman, John Stafford and Cameron Suey, LucasArts

The WGA West presented special honors to: William Blinn -- Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television; Dustin Lance Black (Milk) -- Paul Selvin Award; Carl Reiner and Victoria Riskin -- Valentine Davies Award; Larry DiTillio -- Morgan Cox Award; and Suso D'Amico for the WGAW's first-ever Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement.

The WGA East presented special honors to: John Patrick Shanley -- Ian McLellan Hunter Lifetime Achievement Award; Norman Stiles -- Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence; The Committee To Protect Journalists accepted by Board Chairman
Paul Steiger and Executive Director Joel Simon -- Evelyn F. Burkey Award for contributions bringing honor and dignity to writers everywhere; Chris Albers and Tom Fontana -- Jablow Award for devoted service to the Guild; and Sarah Tobianski - John Merriman Award for Study of Broadcast Journalism at American University.

In addition, the WGA East Foundation presented the first Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting to Sara Van Acker of New York University.