''Sideways,'' ''Sunshine'' win writers' awards. The two movies are frontrunners for Best Screenplay Oscars

By Gary Susman
Updated February 22, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Sideways: Merie W. Wallace

In a decision that probably came as a surprise to no one, the Writers Guild of America gave its top prizes to Sideways and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor winning the Best Adapted Screenplay prize for Sideways and Charlie Kaufman taking Best Original Screenplay honors for Sunshine. With those awards, handed out at the guild’s annual awards ceremony on Saturday, the two films cemented their status as frontrunners for those same prizes at the Academy Awards this weekend.

Other prizes handed out at the WGA ceremony, which was staged simultaneously at the Hollywood Palladium and New York’s Pierre Hotel, honored the best in TV. HBO’s Angels in America won Best Longform Adapted Screenplay, while the channel’s Something the Lord Made won Best Longform Original Screenplay. Individual episodes of Fox’s Arrested Development and Malcolm in the Middle tied for the episodic comedy prize, while the episodic animation prize went to the network’s The Simpsons. The episodic drama prize went to NBC’s The West Wing, and the network’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien won Best Comedy-Variety Series.