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The WGA Nominations Shine Some Light on Long-Shot Oscar Contenders

Eighth Grade. Photo: Courtesy of Sundance

Hot off the heels of the Golden Globes and the ACE Eddie Award nominations, the Writers Guild of America announced its picks for the best feature film, documentaries, and video-game screenplays of 2018 on Monday morning.

In an additional wrinkle to the proceedings, a number of presumed Oscar contenders — British films like The Favourite and Death of Stalin, indies like Sorry to Bother You and Leave No Trace, and animated films like Isle of Dogs — were ineligible because they weren’t written under the WGA’s collective bargaining agreement. While that’s sad for them, the ruling did have the benefit of opening up the best original screenplay race in particular, as Eighth Grade, A Quiet Place, and the Globes’ favorite screenplay, Green Book, all managed to get in. However, in a major blow to First Reformed, which was thought to be a strong horse in the screenplay race, Paul Schrader’s film did not make the cut despite being eligible — another sign that the industry possibly does not love that film as much as critics do. The original screenplay category at the Oscars probably still belongs to The Favourite, the talkiest of the major best picture players, but today’s news is a great boost for a little film like Eighth Grade, which has been fighting for recognition all season long.

Over in the adapted screenplay race, things mostly went chalk, as the Guild’s picks of BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, If Beale Street Could Talk, and A Star Is Born seem a solid bet to be Oscar’s final five in that category as well. Like Michael Collins and the moon landing, First Man was left on the outside here but may still nab a cut of the glory later, while Leave No Trace has an outside shot at breaking into the Oscar field despite being ineligible at the WGAs.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

Original Screenplay
Eighth Grade, Written by Bo Burnham; A24
Green Book, Written by Nick Vallelonga & Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly; Universal Pictures
A Quiet Place, Screenplay by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck and John Krasinski, Story by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck; Paramount Pictures
Roma, Written by Alfonso Cuarón; Netflix
Vice, Written by Adam McKay; Annapurna Pictures

Adapted Screenplay
BlacKkKlansman, Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee, Based on the book by Ron Stallworth; Focus Features
Black Panther, Written by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, Based on the Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, Based on the book by Lee Israel; Fox Searchlight
If Beale Street Could Talk, Screenplay by Barry Jenkins, Based on the novel by James Baldwin; Annapurna Pictures
A Star Is Born, Screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters, Based on the 1954 screenplay by Moss Hart and the 1976 screenplay by John Gregory Dunne & Joan Didion and Frank Pierson, Based on a story by William Wellman and Robert Carson; Warner Bros.

Documentary Screenplay
Bathtubs Over Broadway, Written by Ozzy Inguanzo & Dava Whisenant; Focus Features
Fahrenheit 11/9, Written by Michael Moore; Briarcliff Entertainment
Generation Wealth, Written by Lauren Greenfield; Amazon Studios
In Search of Greatness, Written by Gabe Polsky; Art of Sport

Video Game Screenplay
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Associate Narrative Directors Matthew Zagurak, Joel Janisse, James Richard Mittag; Narrative Director Melissa MacCoubrey; Story by Jonathan Dumont, Melissa MacCoubrey, Hugo Giard; Scriptwriters Madeleine Hart, Betty Robertson, Jesse Scoble, Diana Sherman, Kelly Bender, Jojo Chia, Ian Fun, Zachary M. Parris, Ken Williamson, Daniel Bingham, Jordan Lemos, Simon Mackenzie, Katelyn MacMullin, Susan Patrick, Alissa Ralph, Stephen Rhodes; Team Lead Writer Sam Gill; AI Writers Jonathan Flieger, Kimberly Ann Sparks; Ubisoft Quebec
Batman: The Enemy Within, Episode 5, “Same Stitch,” Lead Writer James Windeler; Written by Meghan Thornton, Ross Beeley, Lauren Mee; Story by Meghan Thornton, Michael Kirkbride; Telltale Games
God of War, Written by Matt Sophos, Richard Zangrande Gaubert, Cory Barlog; Story and Narrative Design Lead Matt Sophos; Story and Narrative Design Richard Zangrande Gaubert; Narrative Design Orion Walker, Adam Dolin; Sony Interactive Entertainment
Marvel’s Spider-Man, Story Lead Jon Paquette; Writers Benjamin Arfmann, Kelsey Beachum; Co-Written by Christos Gage; Additional Story Contributions by Dan Slott; Insomniac Games & Sony Interactive Entertainment
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, Narrative Designers Alex Scokel, Eric Fenstermaker, Kate Dollarhyde, Megan Starks, Olivia Veras, Paul Kirsch; Additional Writing Tony Evans, John Schmautz, Casey Hollingshead, Nitai Poddar; Narrative Design Leads Carrie Patel, Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment

WGA Nominations Shine Light on Long-Shot Oscar Contenders