WGA Awards: Christopher Nolan Victory with 'Qualification'

Christopher Nolan, Aaron Sorkin win WGA Awards

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, the multi-layered sci-fi thriller Inception was the Best Original Screenplay winner at the 2011 Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards, held on Feb. 5 in Los Angeles. Written by Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network was named the winner in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. (See further below a partial list of 2011 WGA Awards' winners and nominations.)

Inception stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the leader of a group of “dream crashers.” Other cast members include Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, and Michael Caine.

Directed by David Fincher, The Social Network a.k.a. The Facebook Movie, features Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara, and Justin Timberlake.

The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal presented the narrative film awards. As quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Sorkin remarked, “I think I wrote a good screenplay, but David Fincher made a great movie.” As per indieWIRE's Anne Thompson, that's exactly what Sorkin said when he won the USC Scripter Award the day before.

WGA Awards: 'The King's Speech' ineligible

“Nine years ago I had a lot of success for Memento,” this year's WGA Award winner Christopher Nolan remarked. “Nothing is more important than recognition from my peers.”

Nolan then added, “There were some notables left off the list this year. I'm not going to name them, for fear that it boosts their chances at the other show,” referring to the upcoming Academy Awards. “I hope next year the person who stands up here can give thanks without qualification.”

According to the Writers Guild rules, David Seidler's The King's Speech screenplay was ineligible for the WGA Awards. The Tom Hooper-directed period drama is the top contender for the 2011 Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

The King's Speech stars Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, and veteran Claire Bloom (Limelight, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold).

Inside Job Eliot Spitzer'Inside Job': Eliot Spitzer, former New York governor in the documentary directed and cowritten by Charles Ferguson.

'Inside Job': The 2008 Global Meltdown

The other big-screen winner at the WGA Awards was the documentary Inside Job, which last week earned Charles Ferguson the Directors Guild Award. Director-coscreenwriter Ferguson shared the Best Documentary Screenplay WGA Award with Chad Beck and Adam Bolt.

As quoted in Variety, in his acceptance speech Ferguson remarked, “this is only the second film I've ever made.” His first documentary, No End in Sight, about the disastrous U.S. involvement in Iraq, was an Academy Award nominee three years ago. No End in Sight lost the Oscar to Alex Gibney's Taxi to the Dark Side.

Inside Job depicts the causes – greed, corruption, imbecility, apathy – that led to the global economic meltdown of 2008, whose effects are still with us. Ferguson's film is also in the running for the 2011 Best Documentary Feature Oscar.

As an aside, Inside Job features former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who in 2010 was the subject of Alex Gibney's Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer.

Other 2011 WGA Award winners

The Screen Laurel Award – the Writers Guild's equivalent to a Lifetime Achievement Award for film writers – was presented by Sony Pictures cochairman Amy Pascal to Steven Zaillian, whose credits include John Schlesinger's The Falcon and the Snowman, Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, and Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York.

Zaillian's upcoming movies are David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, and Bennett Miller's Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Robin Wright.

WGA television winners included Modern Family for Best Comedy Series, Mad Men for Best Drama Series, and Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award recipient Diane English.

English, the creator of the TV hit Murphy Brown, was honored for her “outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer.” Murphy Brown star Candice Bergen handed her the trophy.

A parallel ceremony honoring the Writers Guild of America's East Coast branch was held in New York City.

See below the list of the 2011 WGA Awards' winners and nominees in the feature film / documentary categories.

The Social Network WGA Awards winner'The Social Network': WGA Awards winner starring Jesse Eisenberg.

    2011 WGA Awards winners and nominees (film)


  • Black Swan.
    Screenplay by Mark Heyman. Andres Heinz. John McLaughlin.
    Story by Andres Heinz.
    Fox Searchlight.
  • The Fighter.
    Screenplay by Scott Silver. Paul Tamasy. Eric Johnson.
    Story by Keith Dorrington. Paul Tamasy. Eric Johnson.
    Paramount Pictures.
  • * Inception.
    Written by Christopher Nolan.
    Warner Bros.
  • The Kids Are All Right.
    Written by Lisa Cholodenko. Stuart Blumberg.
    Focus Features.
  • Please Give.
    Written by Nicole Holofcener.
    Sony Pictures Classics.


  • 127 Hours.
    Screenplay by Danny Boyle. Simon Beaufoy.
    Based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston.
    Fox Searchlight.
  • I Love You Phillip Morris.
    Screenplay by John Requa. Glenn Ficarra.
    Based on the book by Steven McVicker.
    Roadside Attractions.
  • * The Social Network.
    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.
    Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich.
    Sony Pictures.
  • The Town.
    Screenplay by Peter Craig. Ben Affleck. Aaron Stockard.
    Based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan.
    Warner Bros.
  • True Grit.
    Screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen.
    Based on the novel by Charles Portis.
    Paramount Pictures.


  • Enemies of the People.
    Written, Directed, Filmed and Produced by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath.
    International Film Circuit.
  • Freedom Riders.
    Written, Produced and Directed by Stanley Nelson.
    International Film Circuit.
  • Gasland.
    Written and Directed by Josh Fox.
    HBO Documentary Films and International WOW Company.
  • * Inside Job.
    Produced, Written and Directed by Charles Ferguson. Co-written by Chad Beck. Adam Bolt.
    Sony Pictures Classics.
  • The Two Escobars.
    Written by Michael Zimbalist. Jeff Zimbalist.
    ESPN Films.
  • Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?.
    Written and Directed by John Scheinfeld.
    Lorber Films.


Christopher Nolan WGA Awards quote via the Los Angeles Times.

Image of Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Caine in the Christopher Nolan movie Inception: Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros.

Image of Eliot Spitzer in the Charles Ferguson documentary Inside Job: Sony Pictures Classics.

Image of Jesse Eisenberg in David Fincher's WGA Awards winner The Social Network: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures.

Writers Guild of America official website.

WGA Awards: Christopher Nolan Victory with 'Qualification' © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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1 Comment to WGA Awards: Christopher Nolan Victory with 'Qualification'

  1. Daniel

    This movie was well done and quite an eye opener. Be prepared to get angry as you watch it. How in the world “they” were able to get away with ripping off working people around the world – that's just amazing. However, it never would have been able to happen if we weren't so much into borrowing money. That is at the root of it. Wake up people, let's get out of debt once and for all! Boiled Down Money Goo can help you get there.