The very best news in today's list of Writers Guild nominees is that Stanley Nelson (right), the writer-director of "Freedom Riders," earned a nomination for best documentary screenplay. Nelson is a master storyteller as well as a superb documentary-maker. He was modest, frank and eloquent when he hosted "Freedom Riders" at the Maryland Film Festival last May. (It also unspooled a few months later at the Chesapeake Film Festival.) But he could have gloated. His film is one of the great social epics of our time. It deserves to win a huge audience when it plays on PBS' "American Experience" in May.
The biggest controversies for the Writers Guild of America awards this year occurred before nominations were announced. Movies as celebrated as "Toy Story 3," "Winter's Bone" and "The King's Speech" were not eligible, either because they weren't produced under WGA guidelines or weren't properly submitted for consideration.
But the list is still strong -- and here it is.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
"Black Swan," screenplay by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin; story by Andres Heinz (Fox Searchlight).
"The Fighter," screenplay by Scott Silver and 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).
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
"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," written 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 and Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard; based on the novel "Prince of Thieves" by Chuck Hogan (Warner Bros.).
"True Grit," screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen; based on the novel by Charles Portis (Paramount Pictures).
BEST DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY
"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)