It’s that time of awards season when the various guilds begin weighing in with their nominations, and on the heels of the Screen Actors Guild nods, the Writers Guild of America has announced the nominees for its screenwriting awards. Most surprising of the bunch is the fact that Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick scored a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Deadpool. This was a script that they worked on tirelessly for years trying to convince 20th Century Fox to make the movie, and when it was finally realized onscreen last spring, the finished film apparently bore an extremely close resemblance to their initial screenplay.
The WGA isn’t exactly averse to genre films—Looper, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Martian all previously scored nods—but Deadpool is a surprising entry to the Best Adapted Screenplay race that few saw coming.
Elsewhere in the Adapted Screenplay category, Eric Heisserer’s script for Arrival landed notice, and it’s now the presumed frontrunner when it comes Oscar time. Meanwhile, Original Screenplay is straight up competitive, with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea, and Damien Chazelle’s La La Land—the three biggest Best Picture contenders of the year—all scoring nods. But Taylor Sheridan’s well-received script for Hell or High Water poses a serious threat, and it’s excellent to see Jeff Nichols receiving notice for Loving.
The full list of nominees is as follows:
- Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
- La La Land – Damien Chazelle
- Loving – Jeff Nichols
- Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan
- Moonlight – Barry Jenkins
- Arrival – Eric Heisserer
- Deadpool – Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick
- Fences – August Wilson
- Hidden Figures – Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
- Nocturnal Animals – Tom Ford
- Author: The JT LeRoy Story – Jeff Feuerzeig
- Command and Control – Telescript by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, Story by Brian Pearle and Kim Roberts
- Zero Days – Alex Gibney
This is actually a really swell lineup, with the scripts for Lion, The Lobster, Zootopia, Florence Foster Jenkins and others deemed ineligible by WGA rules. But what does this mean for Oscar? The biggest snub here is Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks’ script for Silence, which could be bad news for the Paramount film when it comes to gaining widespread support needed for a Best Picture nod. And Mike Mills not landing notice for 20th Century Women is another hit for that movie after being given the cold shoulder by the Screen Actors Guild.
It’s also worth noting that the Academy has ruled that Moonlight and Loving will be competing in Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, not Original, so that takes away two of the Adapted slots and opens up more possibilities in Original. But the Deadpool inclusion is interesting and could get Academy members thinking about recognizing it at the ceremony.
What do you think folks? Sound off in the comments below, and for more Oscar updates check out my Oscar Beat columns.