Snubbed by the Oscars? The Writers Guild of America has got your back.
In ceremonies held Sunday night on both coasts, the last major Hollywood guild to weigh in on this awards season added some new surprises to the mix: The original-screenplay winner was Bo Burnham for Eighth Grade, a film the Oscars overlooked entirely, while Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty won the adapted-screenplay prize for Can You Ever Forgive Me? over several movies that are Oscar-nominated for best picture, including BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther and A Star Is Born.
“To the other nominees in the category: Have fun at the Oscars, losers!” Burnham joked upon receiving his WGA Award. Then, looking down at his award with evident amazement, he muttered, “What is happening?”
For his film about an awkward middle-schooler, Burnham beat some stiff competition — best-picture front-runners Roma and Green Book were also-rans in his category — though it wasn’t the first time this season that the 28-year-old has notched an unexpected win: Earlier this month, Burnham also prevailed over A Star Is Born filmmaker Bradley Cooper for the Directors Guild’s first-timer prize.
Holofcener seemed just as surprised by her film’s win. “It’s been a very long road,” she said in her acceptance speech, referring to a complicated back story. Holofcener was initially going to take the director’s chair, and Julianne Moore and Chris O’Dowd were cast as the leads. When that iteration fell apart, director Marielle Heller came on board with new stars, Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, who have both received Oscar nominations.
The Writers Guild wins for both films shed little light on this year’s diffuse Oscar writing races: The Favourite was not eligible in the original-screenplay category due to guild rules, though it remains a strong contender for the Academy Award, while many pundits think BlacKkKlansman has a better shot at triumphing in the Oscar race for adapted screenplay since it would provide an opportunity for Spike Lee to win his first competitive Oscar.
In any case, the writing awards underline that this is an Oscar season where anything can happen. The major Hollywood guilds have come to no consensus with their top prizes: The Producers Guild favored Green Book, the Directors Guild picked Roma, and Black Panther won the ensemble award from the Screen Actors Guild, while The Favourite and Bohemian Rhapsody both took home wins from the American Cinema Editors. Meanwhile, though BlacKkKlansman and A Star Is Born have notched no major wins, they were by far the most consistently nominated by guilds.
With Oscar voting ending Tuesday, this remains anyone’s game.