- Now widely popular Mean Girls quotes – e.g., “Boo, you whore!” – have earned actress-screenwriter Tina Fey a surprising Writers Guild Award nomination.
Tina Fey’s Mean Girls quotes earn Lindsay Lohan teen movie comedy surprising Writers Guild Award nomination
The inclusion of 30 Rock actress-screenwriter Tina Fey’s Mean Girls screenplay was the big surprise among the 2005 Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award nominations. After all, despite plenty of Mean Girls quotes floating about, the Mark Waters-directed hit teen comedy starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lacey Chabert, has been largely ignored this awards season. (Several memorable Mean Girls quotes can be found a few paragraphs down.)
Moreover, the other nominees in the WGA Awards’ big-screen categories are all U.S. critics’ favorites to some extent or other, including The Aviator, Sideways, and Million Dollar Baby. Mean Girls is undeniably the outlier.
Update: See further below a partial list of this year’s WGA Award winners and nominees.
WGA Awards eligibility
It should be noted that as a result of the WGA’s guild-oriented eligibility rules, non-English-language releases are almost invariably disqualified from the awards.
One exception is this year’s Spanish-language entry The Motorcycle Diaries / Diarios de motocicleta, deemed eligible because Walter Salles’ partly U.S.-funded road movie/political drama was produced according to WGA regulations.
On the other hand, certain U.S./part-U.S. films made by companies not affiliated with the Guild were ineligible for the awards. Case in point: Marc Forster’s Miramax-distributed Finding Neverland, which was produced outside the WGA’s current labor regulations.
The most notorious such exclusion is probably that of another Miramax movie, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, which was left off the 1994 WGA Awards’ longlist.
Ineligible for WGA Awards, eligible for Oscars
Although ineligible for the WGA Awards, well-regarded non-English-language films such as Alejandro Amenábar’s The Sea Inside, Pedro Almodóvar’s Bad Education, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s A Very Long Engagement, remain potential Oscar contenders in the writing categories (but not necessarily for Best Foreign Language Film), as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a different set of eligibility rules.
In early 2004, for instance, Denys Arcand’s French-language The Barbarian Invasions and Fernando Meirelles’ Portuguese-language City of God were left off the WGA’s list. Yet both films went on to receive Oscar nominations in the screenwriting categories.
The previous year, the same off/on thing happened with two Spanish-language titles: Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También and Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her. The latter would earn screenwriter-director Almodóvar the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
Also absent from the 2003 WGA Awards list was Roman Polanski’s English-language The Pianist, a Polish-British-French-German co-production that ultimately was given the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.
Going back one more year: in early 2002, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s French-made, WGA Award-bypassed Amélie found itself listed as one of the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nominees.
WGA Awards vs. animated films
Something else: bizarrely, animated films are not allowed to compete for the WGA Awards. The Academy Awards have no such rule.
Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson’s Shrek (2001) and Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo (2003) are two recent animated features that received Oscar nominations in the writing categories. This year, the same will probably happen with Brad Bird’s The Incredibles.
Somewhat ironically, due to the fiercer competition for the Oscars, Tina Fey’s WGA-recognized Mean Girls script has only an iffy chance of earning a nomination.
Update: As it turned out, WGA nod or no, Mean Girls was indeed bypassed for the Academy Awards.
Mean Girls quotes: Monday pants & Halloween sluts
Partially based on Rosalind Wiseman’s 2002 nonfiction self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes, Mean Girls is set in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Evanston, where a teenager (Lindsay Lohan), recently returned to the U.S. after years in Africa, is enrolled at the local public high school.
There she meets the members of the fearsome Plastics clique: A rich bitch (Rachel McAdams), her sycophantic pal (Lacey Chabert), and their dimwitted blonde friend (Amanda Seyfried).
Other key characters: The Plastics’ mortal goth enemy (Lizzy Caplan), a flamboyant gay stereotype (Daniel Franzese), and a calculus teacher who may or may not be a drug dealer (Tina Fey).
Among the popularized Mean Girls quotes are:
- Rachel McAdams’ Regina asserting, “I can’t go to Taco Bell, I’m on an all-carb diet.”
- Amanda Seyfried’s Karen marveling, “It’s like I have ESPN or something. My breasts can tell when it’s gonna rain.”
- Daniel Franzece’s Damian confiding, “My grandma takes her wig off when she’s drunk.”
- Lacey Chabert’s Gretchen exclaiming, “Regina, you’re wearing sweatpants. It’s Monday. … You can’t sit with us!”
- Also Gretchen, faux lamenting, “I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me. But I can’t help it that I’m popular.”
- Lindsay Lohan’s Cady philosophizing, “In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up and beg for candy. But in Girl World, Halloween is the one day of the year a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
Mean Girls’ awards season recognition
Apart from the WGA Awards, Mean Girls has received nominations only from lesser-known and/or populist groups, among them:
- Online Film & Television Association: Tina Fey (Best First Screenplay) and Lindsay Lohan (Best Youth Performance).
- Broadcast Film Critics Association (and its Critics’ Choice Awards): Lindsay Lohan (Best Young Actress).
- People’s Choice Awards: Favorite Movie Comedy.
See below a partial list of the 2005 WGA Award winners (announced on Feb. 19) and nominees. Tina Fey’s Mean Girls quotes lost out to Sideways’ Pinot odes.
WGA Awards: Winners & nominations
The Aviator – John Logan.
* Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Charlie Kaufman; story by Kaufman, Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth.
Garden State – Zach Braff.
Hotel Rwanda – Keir Pearson & Terry George.
Kinsey – Bill Condon.
Before Sunset – Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke; story by Linklater & Kim Krizan.
The Motorcycle Diaries – José Rivera.
Mean Girls – Tina Fey.
Million Dollar Baby – Paul Haggis.
* Sideways – Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor.
Bright Leaves – Ross McElwee.
Control Room – Julia Bacha and Jehane Noujaim.
Home of the Brave – Paola di Florio.
The Hunting of the President – Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry.
In the Realms of the Unreal – Jessica Yu
* Super Size Me – Morgan Spurlock.
* Something the Lord Made – Peter Silverman & Robert Caswell.
Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story – J.T. Allen.
Spinning Boris – Yuri Zeltser & Grace Cary Bickley.
* Angels in America – Tony Kushner.
Cavedweller – Anne Meredith.
The Wool Cap – William H. Macy & Steven Schachter.
Laurel Award for Screen Writing Achievement: David Mamet.
“Mean Girls Earns Tina Fey Surprising WGA Recognition” notes
Writers Guild Awards website.
Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert, Lindsay Lohan, and Rachel McAdams Mean Girls movie images: Paramount Pictures.
“Mean Girls Earns Tina Fey Surprising WGA Recognition” last updated in December 2023.