Although we ran out the clock on 2013 tallying the accolades of every conceivable industry, critical, and therapy group, the beginning of January brings with it the most important part of any Oscar race: not succumbing to hypothermia, even though it suddenly feels so very warm and fuzzy in here, like maybe you could slip off to sleep for just a minute, and curl up inside this snowdrift where no one will make us debate Wolf Of Wall Street. Mmm, that’s nice. But no! As tempting as it is to close our eyes and let the last year of movies blur into a pleasant dream while our nervous system slowly shuts down, there are other things to consider—like our families, or equally importantly, the Producers and Writers Guilds, who also have a say in the matter.
With the PGA and WGA having both weighed in on episodic television already, the Producers Guild offered its nominations for the annual Darryl F. Zanuck Award—so named for the studio executive whose ghost appears every February to harangue Oscar voters with his wrathful demands, thus making his award an excellent predictor for Best Picture. (The last time the two diverged was when the guild went for Little Miss Sunshine, and not even the terrifying specter of Darryl F. Zanuck could get Oscar voters to take that seriously.) Anyway, if you’ve been following the awards race, or you are aware of the dearth of worthwhile animated films out there, these nominations probably aren’t all that surprising. So maybe try livening them by singing them to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire.”
Darryl F. Zanuck Award For Outstanding Motion Picture
12 Years A Slave
Dallas Buyers Club
Saving Mr. Banks
The Wolf Of Wall Street
Outstanding Animated Motion Picture
Despicable Me 2
Outstanding Longform Television
American Horror Story: Asylum
Behind The Candelabra
Top Of The Lake
If the omission of Inside Llewyn Davis counts as the PGA’s one somewhat-surprising decision, it could be considered an outright snub by the Writers Guild—writers who didn’t spark to a story about a moody and self-involved creative embittered by the demands of a cynically marketing-driven business, because they go to the movies to escape, okay? So that leaves the Original Screenplay race to other writer/directors Woody Allen, Spike Jonze, and David O. Russell, while the Adapted Screenplay nominations is a competition to see who has the worst true story between Captain Phillips, Lone Survivor, and The Wolf Of Wall Street. The Guild also recognized Tracy Letts’ adaptation of his own August: Osage County and—in one of the WGA’s charming little quirks—Before Midnight, which was technically “adapted” from characters co-created by Kim Krizan.
American Hustle, Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club, Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
Her, Spike Jonze
Nebraska, Bob Nelson
August: Osage County, Tracy Letts (based on his play)
Before Midnight, Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke (based on characters created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan)
Captain Phillips, Billy Ray (based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, And Dangerous Days At Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty)
Lone Survivor, Peter Berg (based on the book by Marcus Lutrell with Patrick Robinson)
The Wolf Of Wall Street, Terence Winter (based on the book by Jordan Belfort)
Dirty Wars, Jeremy Scahill & David Riker
Herblock: The Black & The White, Sara Lukinson & Michael Stevens
No Place On Earth, Janet Tobias & Paul Laikin
Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley
We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks, Alex Gibney
As in years before, the WGA did not recognize many other presumed Oscar contenders according to the rules set by its own guidelines, which restrict nominations to movies written by guild members or for a production under the jurisdiction of the guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement. That meant no nods for non-voting members like John Ridley and 12 Years A Slave, and… oh look, this snow bank is like a big, fluffy cloud. I bet if we crawled inside it, it would feel like we were floating on a sunbeam… let’s just see….
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