The Writers Guild of America honored Spike Jonze for his future-set love story "Her" with its award for original screenplay and Billy Ray for "Captain Phillips," the true story of a hijacking at sea, for adapted screenplay on Saturday night. The awards were announced during simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.
The original screenplay category matched up five-for-five in nominations with the Academy Awards, perhaps tipping the hand of what awards-watchers may expect to see at the Oscars in a few weeks.
Those other nominees were "American Hustle," written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell; "Blue Jasmine," written by Woody Allen; "Dallas Buyers Club," written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack; and "Nebraska," written by Bob Nelson.
Jonze, in his acceptance speech, called the honor "an award for pain," noting that writers endure a very specific kind of torture.
"I owe quite a debt to Capt. Richard Phillips, who survived something I know would have killed me," Ray said in accepting his award. "It was Captain Phillips who wrote this movie; I just wrote it down."
In the adapted category, the other nominees were "August: Osage County," written by Tracy Letts; "Before Midnight," written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke; "Lone Survivor," written by Peter Berg; and "The Wolf of Wall Street," written by Terence Winter.
Neither "August: Osage County" nor "Lone Survivor" was nominated in the adapted category at the Oscars, replaced by "12 Years a Slave" from John Ridley and "Philomena," from Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope. Neither of those films was eligible for consideration with the WGA.
Sarah Polley won in the documentary category for "Stories We Tell," a personal look at memory and perception.
Though many eyes are on the WGA's film categories in search of clues to how the upcoming Oscars might go, the group also recognized television writing Saturday night. "Breaking Bad" won in the drama category, and "Veep" won for comedy.
The other nominees in the category of television drama series were "The Good Wife," "Homeland," "House of Cards" and "Mad Men." For comedy, the field included "30 Rock," "Modern Family," "Orange Is the New Black" and "Parks and Recreation."
In the episodic television categories, Gennifer Hutchinson won for the "Breaking Bad" episode titled "Confessions." Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock won in the comedy episodic category for the "Hogcock!" episode of "30 Rock."
The new-series winner marked another awards-season victory for Netflix for its original political drama "House of Cards." The other nominees in the category were "The Americans," "Masters of Sex," "Orange Is the New Black" and "Ray Donovan."
Paul Mazursky was given a Screen Laurel Award, honoring lifetime achievement in writing for motion pictures. A two-time Writers Guild Award winner and five-time Academy Award nominee, Mazursky, taking the stage in a wheelchair, received a standing ovation before delivering a delightfully bawdy, rather rambling and entirely heartfelt speech.
Mel Brooks, walking onstage to present the award to Mazursky, received the first standing ovation of the evening. "Sit down," Brooks said, "I'm still alive!"
In Los Angeles, the event was hosted by actor Brad Garrett and streamed live for the first time on latimes.com.
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