Writers Guild honours Argo, Zero Dark Thirty scriptwriters

The Writers Guild of America gave its top prizes to Chris Terrio for Argo for adapted screenplay and Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty for original screenplay on Sunday night in a bicoastal awards ceremony held simultaneously in Los Angeles and New York City.

In the cruel algebra of awards season, where x-award plus y-award increases the perceived likelihood of final Oscar victory, Sunday night's WGA award is the latest sign that Hollywood had gone all in on Argo, with the diminishing likelihood of a last stand for Lincoln.

Boal began his acceptance by noting, "I don't usually agree with pitting works of art against each other, unless of course I'm the one getting the award. Which puts me in the uncomfortable position of wanting to thank you for your wisdom."

Acknowledging Kathryn Bigelow, the director of the controversial Zero Dark Thirty, Boal said, "You've said many times that you wanted to shine a light on a dark decade and by my money you have done that."

In accepting his prize for Argo, Terrio thanked the guild by saying: "When I started this in 2008, I couldn't pay my rent and I was living in New York and I had defaulted on my student loans.

"I had nothing, but I had my spec scripts and I had my Guild card. And I can't tell you how that propped me up, to know that in a very lonely profession I was in the same club as all you guys."


Other nominated screenplays in the adaptation category were Tony Kushner's Lincoln, David Magee's Life of Pi, Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower and David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook. Of the nominees, only Chbosky was not nominated for the Oscar as well.

The other nominees for original screenplay were John Gatins for Flight, Rian Johnson for Looper, Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master and Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom. Only the scripts for Moonrise Kingdom and Zero Dark Thirty are also nominated for the Oscar.

Both of last year's WGA winners, The Descendants and Midnight in Paris, went on to win the Oscar, emerging from a patchwork of films nominated across both voting bodies.

This year, the Oscar-nominated scripts for Amour and Django Unchained in the original category and Beasts of the Southern Wild for adapted were not eligible for WGA awards under the guild's guidelines.

In the category of documentary screenplay, Malik Bendjelloul won for Searching for Sugar Man, the film about the rediscovery of the musician, obscure no more, known as Rodriguez.

In the television categories, Breaking Bad won for drama series and Louie won for comedy series. In the episodic categories, The Other Woman episode of Mad Men written by Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner won for drama, while the Virgin Territory episode of Modern Family written by Elaine Ko won for comedy. Girls took the prize for new series.

Danny Strong won for Game Change for long-form adapted television, and Ted Mann, Ronald Parker and Bill Kerby won for Hatfields and McCoys for long-form original. The Ned 'n Edna's Blend Agenda episode of The Simpsons by Jeff Westbrook won in the animation category.

In other awards news this past weekend, William Goldenberg won the American Cinema Editors 63rd ACE Eddie Award for best-edited dramatic feature film Saturday evening for Argo. Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers won best-edited comedy/musical feature film for Silver Linings Playbook.

Life of Pi won two awards Sunday at the 60th Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards — sound editing: music in a feature film and sound editing: dialogue and ADR in a feature film.

Oscar nominee Les Miserables won the Golden Reel for sound editing: music in a musical feature film and Skyfall for sound editing: sound effects and Foley in a feature film.

Los Angeles Times