Every year, the Writers Guild of America excludes a number of quality screenplays from consideration for its awards because they either weren’t submitted or they were not written by signatories to the guild. This ultimately cheapens the award, but the awards aren’t for me. They’re to recognize members of the guild. In Contention got their hands this years ballot today and picked out a bunch of high profile screenplays that were disqualified from among the 55 original and 33 adapted screenplays.

Original screenplays not on the WGA ballot:

  • The Artist
  • Beginners
  • The Iron Lady
  • The Lady
  • Like Crazy
  • Margin Call
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • Melancholia
  • Rango
  • Take Shelter

Adapted Screenplays not on the WGA Ballot

  • Albert Nobbs
  • Carnage
  • Drive
  • Jane Eyre
  • My Week with Marilyn
  • Sarah’s Key
  • Shame
  • The Skin I Live In
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Such as they are, the WGA nominees will be announced on January 5, 2012 and the hardware will be handed out on February 19.

via: In Contention

7 Responses to “Take Shelter, Melancholia, Drive among notable WGA exclusions”

  1. In theory, I hate this. Can we really consider any screenwriting list the “best” for this year (as much as there is any best in any aspect of filmmaking) without it including The Artist, or The Skin I Live In? That said, I like what the end often ends up being, which is that the WGA ends up recognizing films that are either too funny (The Hangover, Knocked Up, Mean Girls), too indie (Please Give, Crazy Heart, The Visitor), or too quirky (I Love You Phillip Morris, Burn After Reading, Bowling for Columbine) to have a real shot with the Writers Branch of the Academy.

  2. But not considering films always happen in awards ;) – I mean, the Academy doesn’t consider films that hadn’t opened in the US first, that alone takes tons of movies out of the race. There are tons of animated films from Japan that could’ve given Pixar a run for their money all these years~~~

    But yeahhhh, award season has lost its charm for me T_T lol

  3. I think this used to matter more than it does now. Because there are so many more media sources in our culture, there are more “voices of authority” telling us what’s good. The best example, I suppose, is the Oscars, which aren’t the “big brother” they used to be. People are more and more listening to “different drummers.” Whatever particular work of art is singled out by any particular awards body doesn’t carry as much weight any more. People are more readily realizing that insider politics are always involved when it comes to dictating quality. When they hear (and if they hear) that any particular film is “best,” it’s taken with a grain of salt.

  4. Yeahhh, I don’t know. I’ve been sort of eying the upcoming season with a little bit of dread. Like Amy says, they provide such a narrow idea of what’s good, but on the other hand, Jackson points out each group sometimes gives a nod to films that aren’t going to make it to the big show. Then again, as Pierre says, the big enchilada isn’t so big anymore, and that just makes the smaller guys even smaller and less relevant.

    One mistake I think awards watchers make every year though is the assumption that the awards are for “us” while they rely on “us” for the attention, really the awards are for the people handing them out and the people receiving them. In this case, it’s all about calling attention to the WGA. To stand on the outside and look at these lists as the real best in screenwriting is to kind of miss the point. The same applies in a bigger sense to the Oscars.

    As always, I think the whole thing needs to be taken with a grain of salt while hoping that at least a spotlight will be shone on a couple of quality films that don’t otherwise get noticed.

  5. But Oscar still holds some really good PR. I mean, they’re a brand that’s been building up for years… it’s like Coca Cola. Hip people may already be just taking bottled water or some herbal imported tea, but regular people still know Coca Cola.

    I think it’s different for guilds, though.

    It’s good they shine light to a few worthy films, though.

  6. Of the films I’ve seen so far this year, Beginners, Jane Eyre, Margin Call, The Skin I Live In and Take Shelter are among the “best” written and will surely factor into my end of year accounting. It’s a shame the WGA would exclude such careful plotting and finely-tuned dialogue.

    Regardless, I could still see Beginners and Margin Call breaking into the Oscars’ more liberal Original Screenplay category at year’s end. They’ve made some pretty interesting (and spot-on) choices in recent year, with films like In Bruges, The Messenger and A Serious Man sneaking in.

  7. Screenplay and supporting acting categories are good places for interesting films to sneak into the Oscar race.

    Along those lines, I hope Christopher Plummer makes it in for Beginners

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