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HAMMOND: WGA Nominations Exclude ‘The Artist’ But Don’t Offer Many Surprises

Pete Hammond

WGA Awards Nominations Announced

The Writers Guild nominations seemed to fall right in line with expectations, with one glaring exception. The noticeable absence of Oscar frontrunner The Artist in Original Screenplay was not a diss but simply because that film — written by its director, Michel Hazanavicius — was ineligible under the WGA’s award rules as it was not produced under a guild contract. Mike Mills’ Focus Features film Beginners was similarily ineligible in the Original Screenplay category along with titles like Shame and Margin Call, with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive among those in the Adapted Screenplay lineup.

The Writers Guild, unlike SAG, DGA or PGA, will only consider movies made under their auspices, which means often that likely Oscar nominees in the writing categories are often AWOL at the WGA, which believes these awards should be restricted to union-approved productions. Animated and foreign films also regularly fail to make the cut at WGA but often wind up on the Academy’s list, so the absence of Paramount’s Rango for instance shouldn’t be an indication of its ultimate chances with Oscar.

Certainly The Artist, even though it is a silent film, will likely be nominated by the Academy’s writers branch at the expense of one of the WGA’s strong list of nominees: 50/50, Bridesmaids, Midnight In Paris, Win Win and Young Adult. Terrence Malick’s Cannes winner The Tree of Life, missing from the WGA lineup along with the WGA-ineligible screenplay for the Iranian Oscar entry A Separation, would also appear to be strong contenders to replace one or two of the WGA choices when Academy Award nominations are announced January 24. Read More »

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UPDATE: ‘The Artist’ Is NY Film Critics Circle Best Picture; Meryl Streep Best Actress For ‘Iron Lady’, Brad Pitt Best Actor

New York Film Critics Jump The Gun, Unveil New November Awards Voting Date

The NY Film Critics Circle has just bestowed its Best Picture award for 2011 to Michel Hazanavicius’ black-and-white silent film The Artist, putting the Weinstein Co drama squarely in the race for the Best Picture Oscar. The NYFCC announced its winners today via its Twitter feed. Hazanavicius also won Best Director from the critics group. Meryl Streep won Best Actress for the Weinsteins’ The Iron Lady, the first shot fired in what is sure to be a heated awards-season race in that category. Brad Pitt picked up the Best Actor nod for his work in Moneyball and The Tree Of Life, while Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin won Best Screenplay for Moneyball. Terrence Malick’s Tree Of Life had a good day, also nabbing wins for Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki) and for Best Supporting Actress Jessica Chastain, who also was noted for her work in The Help and Take Shelter. Here’s the final list:

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Best Screenplay: Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball)
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Best Foreign-Language Film: A Separation
Best Actor:
Brad Pitt (Moneyball, The Tree Of Life)
Best Actress:
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain (The Tree Of Life, The Help and Take Shelter)
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks (Drive)
Best Nonfiction Film: Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
Best First Feature: Margin Call
2011 Special Award: Raoul Ruiz (posthumous)
Read More »

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