It was a big night at the Writers Guild of America Awards for the films Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Eighth Grade, the television series Barry, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Americans and The Assassination of Gianni Versace; and, though he wasn’t nominated in any category, actor-director Ron Howard.
With a week remaining before the Academy Awards signal the end of the awards season, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty claimed the WGA’s trophy for adapted screenplay for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, based on the memoir of the dissembling author Lee Israel, while writer-director Bo Burnham’s middle school dramedy Eighth Grade took the honors for original screenplay.
Television trophies went to a string of series that have been frequently honored over the past several months, including FX’s spy family drama The Americans, earning the drama series honor for its final season; Amazon’s retro darling The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for comedy series; FX’s true-crime limited series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story for adapted longform series; and Hulu’s Stephen King-inspired thriller Castle Rock for original longform series. Also faring well was HBO’s hitman comedy Barry, garnering both the new series and episodic comedy trophies.
As Chelsea Peretti took the podium to host the West Coast ceremony, she started with the kind of knowing self-deprecation Hollywood scribes have become known for, characterizing the gala as having, she offered, “all the glitz and glamour of the Oscars without the pressure of public interest.”
“I’ve been going to so many Hollywood parties, it’s refreshing to just look out and remember what regular people look like,” Peretti quipped. Indeed, even the evening’s biggest winners lived up to the writers’ slightly left-of-the-limelight reputation, with a litany of honorees, including Bill Hader to Adam McKay, offering worshipful onstage shout-outs to Howard, who sat stage-side in L.A. awaiting his turn to pay tribute to his frequent screenwriting duo Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Happy Days, Night Shift, Splash, Parenthood, as well as films like A League of Their Own and City Slickers), who received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement.
“That’s been very, very flattering, I have to admit,” said Howard when he finally took the stage, likening the experience to seeing the many A-list actors caught on camera in the Academy Awards audience.”[But] this is the WGA — you get Ron Howard.”
In addition to Ganz and Mandel, the West Coast edition of the awards’ other distinctive honorees included writer-director McKay, who received the Paul Selvin Award for his satirical but socially relevant work on Vice; French filmmaker Agnès Varda, who received the Jean Renoir Award for International Screenwriting Achievement; Joan Meyerson, the writer regularly behind the PBS’ annually televised National Memorial Day Concert, who received the Morgan Cox Award for her guild service; and showrunner Jenji Kohan, who received the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement for her game-changing work on series including Weeds, Orange Is the New Black and GLOW.
WGAW president David Goodman addressed the audience midway through the L.A. ceremony, noting that “50 percent” of the WGAW board are women, and acknowledged the #MeToo movement, saying: “Our cynicism should temper our hope, but not replace it.”
(Excerpt) Read more in: The Hollywood Reporter