WGA Awards: Populist & Outlandish Winners + 'Maurice Richard' Tops Genie Nods

Robert Benton Jeff Bridges Nadine: 3-time Oscar winner is WGA Awards Laurel recipientRobert Benton and Jeff Bridges on the Nadine set. This year's WGA Laurel Award recipient was veteran screenwriter-director Robert Benton, whose writing credits range from the crime dramas Bonnie and Clyde and The Late Show to the comedies What's Up Doc? and Nadine. By then a three-time Academy Award winner, Benton (Best Director & Best Adapted Screenplay for Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979; Best Original Screenplay for Places in the Heart, 1984) guided Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger in the 1987 crime comedy Nadine, a stab at the screwball genre that turned out to be a critical and commercial flop.

WGA Awards go to populist & outlandish screenplays

February 2007 update: The populist family comedy-drama Little Miss Sunshine and the outlandish Irish mob drama The Departed were given, respectively, Best Original Screenplay (Michael Arndt) and Best Adapted Screenplay trophies (William Monahan) at the 2007 Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards, announced on Feb. 11.

Amy Berg's script for Deliver Us from Evil, about a pedophilic priest, was the other big-screen winner, receiving the WGA Award for Best Documentary Screenplay.

Earlier that day, Little Miss Sunshine also won top original screenplay honors at the British Film Academy's BAFTA ceremony. As quoted in the Hollywood Reporter, Little Miss Sunshine screenwriter Michael Arndt thanked his agent and producers for helping him to achieve “the screenwriters' dream of seeing their words up on the screen uncompromised and undiluted.” Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris directed the sentimental 2006 sleeper hit.

Peter Morgan's equally populist and sentimental – but more astute – The Queen screenplay was a favorite among U.S. film critics, but looks like it has now been demoted to lady-in-waiting. Expect Little Miss Sunshine to take home the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award.

Robert Benton

Another 2007 WGA Awards big-screen honoree was veteran Robert Benton, the recipient of this year's Laurel Award. Benton's screenwriting credits, solo or in collaboration, include Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Joseph L. Mankiewicz's There Was a Crooked Man… (1970), Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up Doc? (1971), Richard Donner's Superman (1978), and, more recently, Harold Ramis' The Ice Harvest (2005).

Moreover, Benton was the screenwriter-director of a trio of well-received efforts: The Late Show (1977), Kramers vs. Kramer (1979), and Places in the Heart (1984). The latter two earned him Academy Awards for his screenwriting work, while 1979 Best Picture winner Kramer vs. Kramer also earned him that year's Best Director Oscar statuette.

Upcoming WGA strike?

But the 2007 WGA Awards didn't revolve only around winners and losers and veteran honorees. As per The Hollywood Reporter, WGA West president Patric Verrone “joked that he would not subject the crowd to long speeches about 'the guild's determination to work with our sister unions to preserve health and pension benefits.'”

The WGA's film and television contracts expire in October. A debilitating strike is a possibility — some say a probability — after that.

Prestigious awards season titles not even nominated

Of note, strict WGA rules make it difficult for non-English-language movies to be eligible for the awards. In the Best Original Screenplay category, that may help to explain the absence of screenwriter-director Guillermo del Toro's dark fantasy Pan's Labyrinth / El Laberinto del fauno and screenwriter-director Pedro Almodóvar's female-centered comedy Volver.

Notably missing in action from the Best Adapted Screenplay category were Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis for Letters from Iwo Jima, Patrick Marber for Notes on a ScandalBill Condon for Dreamgirls, and Alan Bennett for The History Boys.

On the other hand, included on that particular roster was Borat, even though some of the film's most memorable lines and situations are supposed to have come from the minds of unrehearsed non-actors.

See below the list of this year's WGA Award winners and nominees in the Feature Films and Television categories.

WGA Awards: Winners & nominations

Feature Films

Babel, Guillermo Arriaga.
* Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt.
The Queen, Peter Morgan.
Stranger Than Fiction, Zach Helm.
United 93, Paul Greengrass.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines, Todd Phillips.
* The Departed, William Monahan; Based on the motion picture Infernal Affairs, written by Alan Mak & Felix Chong.
The Devil Wears Prada, Aline Brosh McKenna; Based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger.
Little Children, Todd Field, Tom Perrotta; Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta.
Thank You for Smoking, Jason Reitman; Based on the novel by Christopher Buckley.

* Deliver Us from Evil, Amy Berg.
The Heart of the Game, Ward Serrill.
Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos, Story by Mark Monroe & John Dower, Screenplay by Mark Monroe.
Who Killed the Electric Car? Chris Paine.
Why We Fight, Eugene Jarecki.



Broken Trail, Alan Geoffrion.
* Flight 93, Nevin Schreiner.
The Ron Clark Story, Max Enscoe & Annie DeYoung.

Grey's Anatomy.
* The Sopranos.

30 Rock.
Arrested Development. Curb Your Enthusiasm.
* The Office.

30 Rock.
Friday Night Lights.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
* Ugly Betty.

EPISODIC DRAMA (Any Length, One Airing Time)
“Election Day - Part II” – The West Wing, Eli Attie & John Wells.
“Occupation/Precipice” – Battlestar Galactica, Ronald D. Moore.
“Two for the Road” – Lost, Elizabeth Sarnoff & Christina M. Kim.
“The End of the Whole Mess” – Nightmares, Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, Teleplay by Lawrence D. Cohen, Based on the short story by Stephen King.
Pilot – Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Aaron Sorkin.
* Pilot – Big Love, Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer.

EPISODIC COMEDY (Any Length, One Airing Time)
“It Takes Two” – Desperate Housewives, Kevin Murphy & Jenna Bans.
“Don't Look at Me” – Desperate Housewives, Josh Senter.
“Bomb Shelter” – Malcolm in the Middle, Rob Ulin.
* “Casino Night” – The Office, Steve Carell.
“The Coup” – The Office, Paul Lieberstein.
“Jump for Joy” – My Name is Earl, Vali Chandrasekaran.





Maurice Richard The Rocket Roy Dupuis: Prix Jutra big loser = Genie Awards big leaderThe Rocket / Maurice Richard with Roy Dupuis. Last year's big loser at Quebec's Prix Jutra, the Charles Binamé-directed The Rocket / Maurice Richard is this year's big leader at the Genie Awards, with a total of 13 nominations. Featuring cameos by several National Hockey League players, The Rocket tells the story of francophone ice-hockey star Maurice Richard (Best Actor Genie Award nominee Roy Dupuis), deified by Quebecois fans for his fierce playing against anglophone Canadians. According to some reviewers, Maurice Richard is also shamelessly deified by The Rocket's filmmakers.

Four (at least partly) francophone Quebec productions in contention for Canada's Oscars

January 2007: In other early 2007 awards season news, four of the five Best Film nominees for the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television's Genie Awards – the Canadian Oscars – are (at least in part) French-language Quebec productions. Of these, The Rocket /Maurice Richard garnered the most nods – 13 in all.

Directed by Charles Binamé and starring Roy Dupuis, the film traces the career and personal life of the immensely popular (and, in real life, apparently short-tempered) Quebecois hockey player who faced anti-francophone prejudice on the ice.

In addition to its inclusion in the Best Film shortlist, The Rocket is also in the running in several top categories, including Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress (Julie LeBreton), and Best Original Screenplay (Ken Scott).

All these Genie nominations, however, feel anti-climactic. Last year, The Rocket was up for 14 Jutra Awards – the Quebecois equivalent to the Oscars – and, hockey hagiography or no, it lost in every single category, most often to Jean-Marc Vallée's C.R.A.Z.Y., the humorous tale of a young gay man growing up in the Montreal of the 1960s and 1970s. (C.R.A.Z.Y. also dominated last year's Genie Awards.)

Cop comedy blockbuster & Rwanda genocide among Best Film competitors

The 2007 Genie Awards' three other Quebecois Best Film nominees are:

  • Jean-François Pouliot's The Little Book of Revenge / Guide de la Petite Vengeance, the story of an accountant (Marc Béland) seeking revenge on his mean-spirited boss (Gabriel Gascon).
  • Robert Favreau's A Sunday in Kigali / Un dimanche à Kigali, the story of a documentary filmmaker and journalist (Best Actor nominee Luc Picard) who, following the 1994 Tutsi genocide, returns to Rwanda in search of his lover (Best Actress nominee Fatou N'Diaye).
  • Erik Canuel's bilingual Bon Cop Bad Cop, about a by-the-book Ontario cop (Colm Feore) and an easy-going, rule-bending Quebecois cop (Patrick Huard) working together to solve a murder. Not taking inflation into account, after collecting $12.6 million Bon Cop Bad Cop became the highest-grossing home-grown movie of all time in Canada. Feore and Huard are competing with each other in the Best Actor category.

Lone English-language Best Film contender + Best Actor & Best Actress nominees

English-language Canadian films are usually eclipsed by the big-budget productions from south of the border, but one such local effort succeeded in landing a Genie nomination: Mike Clattenburg's Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, inspired by a popular TV show, and featuring three buds that come up with a scheme to get rich or die trying: stealing cash from ATM machines.

Joining Roy Dupuis, Colm Feore, Patrick Huard, and Luc Picard in the Best Actor category is Olivier Gourmet for his performance as a quirky Belgian inventor who travels to Quebec in search of his family in Philippe Falardeau's Congorama.

Besides Julie LeBreton and Fatou N'Diaye (Best Actress winner at the 2006 Marrakech Film Festival), the other Best Actress Genie Award nominees are 11-year-old Jodelle Ferland in Terry Gilliam's Tideland, Sigourney Weaver as an autistic woman who befriends a man (Alan Rickman) traumatized after a deadly car accident in Marc Evans' Snow Cake, and Ginette Reno in Ghyslaine Côté's family comedy-drama A Family Secret /Le Secret de ma mère.

The 2007 Genie winners will be announced on Feb. 13.

Storm Eric Ericson: Will time travel save the world from destruction?Storm with Eric Ericson. Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein's feature directorial debut, the sci-fi thriller Storm is one of the three titles in contention for the Swedish Film Institute's Best Film Guldbagge Award. Set in Stockholm, Storm chronicles the hardships a young man (Eric Ericson) must face after a mysterious woman (Eva Röse) and her mysterious box enter his life. Like Raiders of the Lost Ark's Ark of the Covenant, the box is ardently coveted by degenerate forces who will do whatever it takes to possess its potentially deadly secrets. Looks like only a bit of time-traveling will help to save humankind from imminent destruction.

Coming-of-age drama & sci-fi thriller among Swedish Guldbagge Award nominees

More awards season news: All three Best Film nominees for the Swedish Film Institute's Guldbagge (“Golden Beetle” or “Golden Scarab”) Awards are their respective directors' feature debuts:

  • Shot in semi-documentary style, Jesper Ganslandt's coming-of-age comedy-drama Falkenberg Farewell / Farväl Falkenberg follows five childhood friends in the small beach town of Falkenberg, where they do drugs, fool around, and eventually come face to face with death.
  • Catti Edfeldt's and Ylva Gustavsson's Kidz in da Hood / Förortsungar tells the story of a young Sierra Leone woman (Beylula Kidane Adgoy) who, while seeking asylum in Sweden, finds a foster parent in the figure of a tattooed, pierced musician. As the surrogate father, Gustaf Skarsgård, Stellan Skarsgård's son, was shortlisted in the Best Actor category.
  • Set in Stockholm, Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein's sci-fi thriller Storm revolves around a young man (Eric Ericson) whose life goes off the rails after he meets a mysterious woman (Eva Röse) with an equally mysterious box in her possession. Before he knows it, the fate of humankind lies in his hands.

Pedro Almodóvar's Spanish family comedy Volver, Alejandro González Iñárritu's multicultural drama Babel, and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's German Stasi drama The Lives of Others / Das Leben der Anderen are the 2007 Guldbagge Awards' three Best Foreign Language Film nominees.

The Guldbagge Awards ceremony will be held on Jan. 22 at the Cirkus arena in Stockholm. The statuette itself, in the form of a beetle/scarab, was designed by Karl Axel Pehrson.

Critics' Choice Awards' mainstream winners

Final awards season news: Martin Scorsese's B-movieish The Departed, in which Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon become enmeshed with the Irish mob, was the Broadcast Film Critics Association's top pick in the Critics' Choice Awards' Best Film and Best Director categories. Also featuring Jack Nicholson, Vera Farmiga, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen, The Departed is one of the top contenders for this year's Best Picture Oscar.

Matching the choices of most other U.S.-based critics groups, Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker topped the Best Actress and Best Actor categories for, respectively, Stephen FrearsThe Queen and Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland.

Other Critics' Choice Award winners include Clint Eastwood's U.S.-made, Japanese-language Letters from Iwo Jima as Best Foreign Language Film; Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson topping the supporting categories for Bill Condon's musical Dreamgirls; and Michael Arndt's WGA Award-winning Little Miss Sunshine screenplay.

The 2007 Critics' Choice Award winners were announced at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles County on Jan. 12.

Critics' Choice Awards: Winners & nominations (partial list)

Blood Diamond.
* The Departed.
Letters from Iwo Jima.
Little Children.
Little Miss Sunshine.
Notes on a Scandal.
The Queen.
United 93.

Days of Glory.
* Letters from Iwo Jima.
Pan's Labyrinth.

Penélope CruzVolver.
Judi DenchNotes on a Scandal.
* Helen Mirren - The Queen.
Meryl StreepThe Devil Wears Prada.
Kate WinsletLittle Children.

Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond.
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed.
Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson.
Peter O'Toole - Venus.
Will SmithThe Pursuit of Happyness.
* Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland.

Ben AffleckHollywoodland.
Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine.
Adam Beach - Flags of Our Fathers.
Djimon Hounsou - Blood Diamond.
* Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls.
Jack Nicholson - The Departed.

Adriana Barraza - Babel.
Cate BlanchettNotes on a Scandal.
* Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls.
Rinko Kikuchi - Babel.
Catherine O'Hara - For Your Consideration.
Emma ThompsonStranger Than Fiction.

The Departed.
* Little Miss Sunshine.
A Prairie Home Companion.

Bill Condon - Dreamgirls.
Clint Eastwood - Letters from Iwo Jima.
Stephen Frears - The Queen.
Paul Greengrass - United 93.
* Martin Scorsese - The Departed.

* Michael Arndt - Little Miss Sunshine.
Guillermo Arriaga - Babel.
Todd Field & Tom Perrotta - Little Children.
Zach Helm - Stranger Than Fiction.
William Monahan - The Departed.
Peter Morgan - The Queen.

* An Inconvenient Truth.
Shut Up & Sing.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated.
Who Killed the Electric Car?.

* Cars.
Flushed Away.
Happy Feet.
Monster House.
Over the Hedge

* Philip GlassThe Illusionist.
Clint Mansell - The Fountain.
Thomas NewmanThe Good German.
Gustavo SantaolallaBabel.
Howard Shore - The Departed.
Hans ZimmerThe Da Vinci Code.

* Elizabeth I.
The Librarian.
Nightmares & Dreamscapes.
The Ron Clark Story.
When the Levees Broke.


Writers Guild of America WGA Awards website.

Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television website.

Swedish Film Institute website.

Robert Benton and Jeff Bridges Nadine image: TriStar Pictures.

Roy Dupuis The Rocket / Maurice Richard image: Universal Pictures.

Eric Ericson Storm image: Breidablick Film.

“WGA Awards: Populist & Outlandish Screenplays Are Winners + Year-Old Maurice Richard Tops Genie Nominations” last updated in August 2018.

WGA Awards: Populist & Outlandish Winners + 'Maurice Richard' Tops Genie Nods © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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2 Comments to WGA Awards: Populist & Outlandish Winners + 'Maurice Richard' Tops Genie Nods

  1. nicolas

    Et oui meme si il était blessé il jouais quand meme ses extraordinaire!!!!!!!!!

  2. Nicolas

    et oui Mauris Richard c'était toute qu'un joueur j'aimerais qu'on l'aille encore dans le ch mais il est pas imortel ce qui est plate mais sa reste une léende le rocket ma donner le gou de jouer au hockey je ne serez jamais ousi bon que lui,mais je fait de mon mieux!!!!!!!