WGA Awards: 'The Good Lie's' Margaret Nagle to Receive Civil Rights Award

Courtesy of WGAW
Margaret Nagle

The screenwriter, who also worked on the TV shows 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'Red Band Society,' will receive the Paul Selvin Award, named for the guild's former general counsel.

Screenwriter Margaret Nagle, who wrote The Good Lie, the recent Reese Witherspoon film about a woman who assists Sudanese refugees, will be honored by the Writers Guild of America West with its 2015 Paul Selvin Award for her screenplay.

Named after the late Paul Selvin, general counsel to the guild for 25 years, the award is given each year to the WGA member whose script best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties that are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere and to which Selvin devoted his professional life.

Nagle will be recognized, along with other honorees, at the 2015 Writers Guild Awards L.A. ceremony on Feb. 14 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. A simultaneous ceremony will take place in New York.

“Margaret Nagle’s script for The Good Lie raises profound issues of resilience and survival in the face of unspeakable atrocities," WGAW president Christopher Keyser said. “The struggles of the Lost Boys of Sudan in her film remind us how desperately all human beings strive for freedom. But what makes Nagle’s screenplay particularly heart-wrenching is that the civil war in Sudan was a humanitarian crisis of epic proportion, and yet many people were not even aware of it. In shining a light on the Lost Boys, Nagle illuminates their struggle for freedom and the paradoxical complexity of adjusting to it in the foreign culture of America.”

“I’m happy and very moved to learn The Good Lie is receiving the Paul Selvin Award. We live in a world where free speech, protection of the lives of children and policies towards refugees of war, are being challenged on a daily basis. These issues are of central importance to the safety and future of mankind. Writing The Good Lie brought me face to face with the very highest and lowest parts of the human spirit, as well as the remarkable humanitarian organizations who risk their lives on a daily basis, and the Lost Boys and Girls themselves, who I am honored to call my friends,” Nagle said.

Directed by Philippe Falardeau, The Good Lie is the fictional story of four Sudanese orphans (played by Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal and Kuoth Wiel) who walk a thousand miles across war-torn Sudan to a Kenyan refugee camp and ultimately relocate to the United States, where they struggle to rebuild their lives. It was produced by Alcon Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment, Black Label Media and Reliance Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It was the first script produced out of Imagine Entertainment’s Writers Lab.

Nagle’s credits also include HBO’s Warm Springs, which won the Emmy for Outstanding TV Movie in 2005. It also brought Nagle a Writers Guild Award (Long Form – Original), as well as Humanitas and Pen Award nominations in 2006. She also received the 2007 Academy Honors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for writing television that has an impact on the daily lives of others for her work on her series Side Order of Life for Lifetime.

Nagle worked as a writer and supervising producer on the first season of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, which won her a second Writers Guild Award in 2011. She also earned a second Emmy nomination when Boardwalk was cited for Outstanding Drama Series. The show also won the Golden Globe for best drama that year. This past fall, Nagle also executive produced and wrote the pilot for Fox's Red Band Society.