WGAW Laurel goes to Benton


Robert Benton, who has won two Academy Awards for screenwriting and one for directing, will receive the WGA West's Screen Laurel Award for career achievement.

Benton took home screenwriting and directing Oscars for 1979's "Kramer vs. Kramer" and a writing statuette for 1984's "Places in the Heart." Also a four-time winner of WGA screenplay awards, he will be feted at the 2007 Writers Guild Awards on Feb. 11 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Century City.

"What an impressive and varied screenwriting career Robert Benton has had," WGAW president Patric Verrone said. "Yet what hasn't varied is the quality of his work and audiences' appreciation of it."

Among Benton's screenwriting credits are "Bonnie and Clyde," co-written with David Newman in 1966; "Nobody's Fool" (1994), which he also directed; and "Billy Bathgate" (1991). His next directorial effort, "The Feast of Love," is slotted for August from MGM.

The Screen Laurel Award is bestowed annually on a WGAW member "who has advanced the literature of the motion picture and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter."

Previous winners include Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, Blake Edwards and last year's honoree, Lawrence Kasdan.