Non-Oscar Contenders EIGHT GRADE, BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY Dominate Writers Guild Awards

If you are looking to the Writers Guild Awards to help you figure out who might win at the Academy Awards this coming weekend, you are in for a bit of trouble as two films who were not nominated for an Oscar took home top prizes in their categories at the WGA Awards.

Bo Burnham’s Eight Grade, a poignant and bittersweet story of a pre-teen girl struggling to find herself and her place among her school peers, clinched the top prize of the evening for Best Original Screenplay. It was the first time a screenplay that was nominated for a WGA award without a corresponding Academy Award nomination won the WGA’s award since Michael Moore’s Bowling For Columbine in 2003.

Three of Eighth Grade‘s challengers in the category – Green Book, Roma and Vice – are nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. While accepting his award, Burnham made light of the screenplay’s lack of nomination while giving much of the credit to the young actress who played the lead in the film –

To the other nominees in the category – Have fun at the Oscars, losers! No, I prepared nothing. This all belongs to Elsie Fisher who performed the script. No one would care about the script if she hadn’t done it.

Earlier this month, Burnham took the Director’s Guild award for Best New Director.

Despite its shut out in terms of Academy Award nominations, Eight Grade is up for four Independent Spirit Awards which are awarded the evening before the Oscars this coming weekend.

In the documentary category, Bathtubs Over Broadway, a look at the nearly forgotten history of industrial musicals from the 19550s through the 1980s, beat out Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9, Generation Wealth and In Search Of Greatness for the top prize. None of the films nominated are in contention for the Oscars.

In a surprise upset, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, an adaptation of the memoirs of writer and forger Lee Israel, won in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, beating out the favorites BlacKkKlansman and If Beale Street Could Talk. All three are also nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category at the Academy Awards

At last year’s WGA Awards, Jordan Peele’s Get Out won Best Original Screenplay and then went on to win the same category at the Academy Awards. With no Oscar nomination for Eight Grade, this year’s race for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar has become something of a tossup.

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About Rich Drees 7124 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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