‘Eighth Grade,’ ‘Americans,’ ‘Maisel’ Win at 71st WGA Awards

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Photo Source: Courtesy A24

The bi-coastal Writers Guild Awards ceremonies, honoring the best screenwriters of the past year, were held Feb. 17. Hosted by Roy Wood Jr. at the Edison Ballroom in NYC and Chelsea Peretti at The Beverly Hilton in L.A., the guild’s 71st annual awards highlighted writing achievements in film, television, new media, and more. 

Following up on win from the Gotham Awards and Directors Guild of America, A24’s “Eighth Grade” took home the WGA’s original screenplay prize. The story of an awkward middle schooler starring Elsie Fisher from writer-director Bo Burnham, making his feature film debut, was not nominated at this year’s Academy Awards. Winning the adapted screenplay award was Fox Searchlight’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty’s script is nominated in the corresponding Oscars category, although the film is notably absent from this year’s best picture lineup.

This means the Feb. 24 Oscars ceremony has no clear frontrunner for best picture. Each year Hollywood’s major guilds usually provide clues pointing toward a consensus, but 2019’s precursors have been divided between Disney’s “Black Panther” (winning the Screen Actors Guild’s top cast award), Universal Pictures’ “Green Book” (the Producers Guild of America), and Netflix’s “Roma” (the DGA).

FX’s “The Americans” and Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” continued their victory lap after last year’s Emmy Awards, earning the top WGA Awards for drama and comedy series, respectively. HBO’s Bill Hader and Alec Berg comedy “Barry” won the award for new series, while Hulu’s “Castle Rock” and FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” were recognized in the long form original and adapted categories.

READ: How to Get Cast on ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’

Made up of film, TV, radio, and new media writers, the east and west coast branches of the Writers Guild of America together cast nominations and vote for their annual accolades. For more information and a full list of winners, visit www.wgaeast.org and www.wga.org.

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Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
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