The Writers Guild of America sounded off today, and the Original Screenplay category is loaded with contenders that are probable Oscar nominees. Mind you, that's because two of them (Moonlight and Loving) will be competing in the Adapted Screenplay category for the Academy Awards. Accordingly, the WGA's Adapted Screenplay lineup is fleshed out with some contenders which stand little chance of landing a corresponding Oscar nod.
HELL OR HIGH WATER, Taylor Sheridan
LA LA LAND, Damien Chazelle
LOVING, Jeff Nichols
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, Kenneth Lonergan
MOONLIGHT, Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney
ARRIVAL, Eric Heisserer
DEADPOOL, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
FENCES, August Wilson
HIDDEN FIGURES, Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, Tom Ford
Thank God Moonlight was moved to this category for Oscar purposes, because this (with the notable exception of the superb Arrival) is a weak group. Here's my question: Does Moonlight now being considered an adaption disqualify the original playwright Tarell McCraney from what would otherwise be considered a nomination-eligible writing credit on the screenplay? The move might have guaranteed an Oscar for Jenkins, but effectively robbed McCraney of the nomination. I'll be interested to see how AMPAS rules.
Having recently seen Fences and Hidden Figures, I can't say I'm all that jazzed for them receiving accolades for screenwriting. Fences is a great performance showcase, but the script suffers for overly long scenes and exposition-heavy dialogue.
AUTHOR: THE J.T. LEROY STORY, Jeff Feuerzeig
COMMAND AND CONTROL, Robert Kenner, Eric Schlosser, Brian Pearle, Kim Roberts
ZERO DAYS, Alex Gibney
Command and Control and Zero Days are shortlisted for the Oscar, but are severely trailing the precursor tally to the likes of O.J., 13th, Cameraperson, Weiner and I Am Not Your Negro.