The Writers Guild of America has announced its annual slate of awards nominees, solidifying La La Land, Moonlight, and Fences as Oscar frontrunners in the script category while adding more fuel to the burgeoning Deadpool Oscar fire.
Original screenplays for awards season mainstays Hell or High Water and Manchester by the Sea also picked up WGA nominations Wednesday, joining adapted scripts for festival favorites Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, and the late-breaking crowd-pleaser Hidden Figures.
In December, screenplays for two major Oscar contenders, Moonlight and Loving, were deemed ineligible to compete in the original category — as the former is adapted from an unproduced stage play, while the latter was inspired by Nancy Buirski’s 2011 documentary The Loving Story. Both films, however, landed original script nominations from the WGA.
The biggest surprise of the bunch is arguably the inclusion of Marvel’s Deadpool among the adapted set. The blockbuster comic book film has performed well beyond expectations in the awards race at-large, winning two Critics Choice Awards before earning a pair of Golden Globe nominations (Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Musical or Comedy for star Ryan Reynolds) and an ACE Eddie nod for Best Edited Feature Film.
Though industry guilds of its size often influence the Oscar race thanks to crossover membership, the WGA’s strict rules (nominees must be WGA members or a production must be a guild signatory) often hinder it from concretely predicting the Academy’s nominations in the corresponding categories, though they don’t stray too far outside the Oscar wheelhouse.
Since 2007, the WGA and the Academy have awarded the same original and adapted screenplay seven times in both categories. Several prospective Oscar contenders from 2016, including Florence Foster Jenkins, Lion, and potential dark horses The Lobster and Everybody Wants Some!!, were omitted from the guild’s list of projects eligible for a nomination, though the WGA’s current batch of nominees seems poised to closely mirror the Academy’s more than it has in recent years.
Winners will be announced at concurrent ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 19.
The 2017 WGA Awards nominees are:
- Hell or High Water, Written by Taylor Sheridan; CBS Films
- La La Land, Written by Damien Chazelle; Lionsgate
- Loving, Written by Jeff Nichols; Focus Features
- Manchester by the Sea, Written by Kenneth Lonergan; Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions
- Moonlight, Written by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell McCraney; A24
- Arrival, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer; Based on the Story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang; Paramount Pictures
- Deadpool, Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick; Based on the X-Men Comic Books; Twentieth Century Fox Film
- Fences, Screenplay by August Wilson; Based on his Play; Paramount Pictures
- Hidden Figures, Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi; Based on the Book by Margot Lee Shetterly; Twentieth Century Fox Film
- Nocturnal Animals, Screenplay by Tom Ford; Based on the Novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright; Focus Features
- Author: The JT LeRoy Story, Written by Jeff Feuerzeig; Amazon Studios
- Command and Control, Telescript by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, Story by Brian Pearle and Kim Roberts; Based on the book Command and Control by Eric Schlosser; American Experience Films
- Zero Days, Written by Alex Gibney; Magnolia Pictures