The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) tonight announced the winners of the 2018 Writers Guild Awards for outstanding achievement in writing for film, television, new media, videogames, news, radio/audio, promotional, and graphic animation categories at concurrent ceremonies at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and the Edison Ballroom in New York City.
Get Out, Written by Jordan Peele; Universal Pictures
Call Me by Your Name, Screenplay by James Ivory; Based on the Novel by André Aciman; Sony Pictures Classics
Jane, Written by Brett Morgen; National Geographic
TELEVISION AND NEW MEDIA WINNERS
The Handmaid’s Tale, Written by Ilene Chaiken, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Leila Gerstein, John Herrera, Lynn Renee Maxcy, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder, Wendy Straker Hauser, Eric Tuchman; Hulu
Veep, Written by Gabrielle Allan, Rachel Axler, Ted Cohen, Jennifer Crittenden, Alex Gregory, Steve Hely, Peter Huyck, Erik Kenward, Billy Kimball, David Mandel, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Dan Mintz, Lew Morton, Georgia Pritchett, Will Smith; HBO
The Handmaid’s Tale, Written by Ilene Chaiken, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Leila Gerstein, John Herrera, Lynn Renee Maxcy, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder, Wendy Straker Hauser, Eric Tuchman; Hulu
ORIGINAL LONG FORM
Flint, Written by Barbara Stepansky; Lifetime
ADAPTED LONG FORM
Big Little Lies, Teleplay by David E. Kelley, Based on the Novel by Liane Moriarty; HBO
ADAPTED SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA
“Starboy” (Zac & Mia), Teleplay by Allen Clary and Andrew Rothschild, Based on the novel Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts; go90.com
“Time’s Arrow” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Kate Purdy; Netflix
“Chicanery” (Better Call Saul), Written by Gordon Smith; AMC
“Rosario’s Quinceanera” (Will & Grace), Written by Tracy Poust & Jon Kinnally; NBC
COMEDY/VARIETY TALK SERIES
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Writers: Tim Carvell, Josh Gondelman, Dan Gurewitch, Geoff Haggerty, Jeff Maurer, John Oliver, Scott Sherman, Will Tracy, Jill Twiss, Juli Weiner, Ben Silva, Seena Vali; HBO
COMEDY/VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
Saturday Night Live, Head Writers: Chris Kelly, Sarah Schneider, Bryan Tucker, Writers: James Anderson, Kristen Bartlett, Jeremy Beiler, Neal Brennan, Zack Bornstein, Joanna Bradley, Megan Callahan, Michael Che, Anna Drezen, Fran Gillespie, Sudi Green, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, Nick Kocher, Michael Koman, Dave McCary, Brian McElhaney, Dennis McNicholas, Drew Michael, Lorne Michaels, Josh Patten, Katie Rich, Pete Schultz, Streeter Seidell, Will Stephen, Kent Sublette, Julio Torres; NBC Universal
39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, Written by Dave Boone; CBS
QUIZ AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
Hollywood Game Night, Head Writer: Grant Taylor; Writers: Michael Agbabian, Alex Chauvin, Ann Slichter, Dwight D. Smith; NBC
General Hospital, Head Writers: Shelly Altman, Jean Passanante; Writers: Anna Theresa Cascio, Suzanne Flynn, Charlotte Gibson, Lucky Gold, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Korte, Daniel James O’Connor, Dave Rupel, Katherine Schock, Scott Sickles, Christopher Van Etten, Christopher Whitesell; ABC
CHILDREN’S EPISODIC AND SPECIALS
“An American Girl Story – Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance” (American Girl), Written by May Chan; Amazon
DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT – CURRENT EVENTS
“Confronting ISIS” (Frontline), Written by Martin Smith; PBS
DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT – OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS
“The Great War, Part II” (American Experience), Written by Stephen Ives; PBS
NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“White Helmets” (60 Minutes), Written by Scott Pelley, Nicole Young, Katie Kerbstat; CBS News
NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Chief of Chobani” (60 Minutes), Written by Steve Kroft, Oriana Zill de Granados; CBS News
“The Super Predators,” Written by Melissa Jeltsen, Dana Liebelson; Huffingtonpost.com
“CBS Radio 90th Anniversary,” Written by Dianne E. James, Gail Lee; CBS News Radio
RADIO/AUDIO NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“World News This Week: June 9, 2017,” Written by Tara Gimbel Tanis; ABC News Radio
RADIO/AUDIO NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Dishin’ Digital on WCBS-AM,” Written by Robert Hawley; WCBS
ON-AIR PROMOTION (RADIO OR TELEVISION)
“CBS Comedy,” Written by Dan Greenberger; CBS Television
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN VIDEOGAME WRITING
Horizon Zero Dawn, Narrative Director John Gonzalez; Lead Writer Benjamin McCaw; Writing by Ben Schroder, Anne Toole; Additional Writing by Dee Warrick, Meg Jayanth; Guerrilla Games
Emmy and Grammy-winning actor-writer-comedian Patton Oswalt (Happy!, A.P. Bio, Annihilation) hosted the WGAW’s West Coast ceremony. Presenters who appeared in Los Angeles included: Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Glenn Close (Damages, Albert Nobbs); Golden Globe-nominated actress Alison Brie (GLOW, The Post, The Disaster Artist); Emmy-nominated Better Call Saul star, The Post co-star, and Emmy-winning writer Bob Odenkirk; Oscar-nominated Lady Bird screenwriter-director Greta Gerwig; Oscar, Get Out co-star Bradley Whitford; Emmy, and Golden Globe-nominated actress and Speechless co-star Minnie Driver; Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Jane Lynch (Hollywood Game Night, Manhunt: Unabomber, Criminal Minds, Glee); Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor Sir Patrick Stewart (Logan, Blunt Talk); Emmy-nominated actress and Emmy-winning writer Wanda Sykes (black-ish); Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star Terry Crews; SAG Awards-nominated Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star and WGA-nominated Parks and Recreationwriter Chelsea Peretti; The Jim Jefferies Show star Jim Jefferies; LA to Vegas star and Golden Globe-winning actor Dylan McDermott; Emmy-winning comedian-actress-writer Sarah Silverman (Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles, Bob’s Burgers); Emmy-winning comedian-actress Kathy Griffin (Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List); Ivory Aquino (When We Rise); Rob Riggle (Angie Tribeca, Modern Family, SNL); producers Doug Wick & Lucy Fisher (Divergent, The Great Gatsby); and a live performance by Puddles Pity Party.
In addition, the WGAW presented several honorary awards during its West Coast ceremony: Emmy-winning Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story star Glenn Close presented the WGAW’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement to Emmy-winning writer-producer Alison Cross (Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story, Roe vs. Wade, S.W.A.T.); Doug Wick & Lucy Fisher presented the WGAW’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement to Writers Guild and Academy Award-winning screenwriter-director-producer James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, As Good As It Gets); When We Rise co-star Ivory Aquino presented the WGAW’s Valentine Davies Award to Writers Guild and Academy Award-winning screenwriter and LGBTQ rights activist Dustin Lance Black (Milk, When We Rise) for his social activism which has positively impacted the LGBTQ community; Washington Post Executive Editor Martin “Marty” Baron presented the WGAW’s Paul Selvin Award to The Post screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, whose Post screenplay embodies the spirit of constitutional and civil rights and liberties, including the First Amendment and freedom of the press.
Attendees at the WGAW’s show included: The Big Sick co-screenwriter/star Kumail Nanjiani and co-screenwriter Emily V. Gordon; Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley and actress Michelle Pfeiffer (The Wizard of Lies, mother!); TV host Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live, 90th Academy Awards); Oscar-nominated Get Out screenwriter/director Jordan Peele; Oscar-nominated The Shape of Water co-screenwriter/directorGuillermo del Toro & co-screenwriter Vanessa Taylor; Get Out co-star Catherine Keener; Molly’s Game screenwriter Aaron Sorkin; Good Behavior co-star Joey Kern; The Honorable Adam Schiff; L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz; The OA co-creator/star Brit Marling; Call Me by Your Name screenwriter James Ivory; Nathan For You co-creator/star Nathan Fielder; and Portlandia writer-star Carrie Brownstein. In addition, the Guild commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Hollywood Blacklist, honoring Blacklist survivors Marsha Hunt and Norma Barzman who were in attendance.
The WGAE’s East Coast Ceremony was hosted by writer and comic Amber Ruffin (Late Night with Seth Meyers). Presenters who appeared in New York City included Golden Globe-winner Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel); Emmy Award-winner Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale); SAG Award-winner Anna Chlumsky (Veep); Academy Award-nominee Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird); two-time Emmy Award-winner Jane Pauley (CBS News Sunday Morning); Writers Guild Award-nominee Anthony Atamanuik (The President Show); late night host Robin Thede (The Rundown with Robin Thede); actress-writer Julie Klausner (Difficult People); late night host Jordan Klepper (The Opposition with Jordan Klepper); and correspondent-writer Laura Grey (The Opposition with Jordan Klepper).
The WGAE presented three honorary awards at the East Coast ceremony. It was a reunion for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock alums as Tracy Morgan and Rachel Dratch presented Tina Fey and Robert Carlock with the Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence and Mentorship. Ken Burns presented the Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Career Achievement to his long-time collaborator Geoffrey C. Ward (The Vietnam War, The Roosevelts, The Civil War). Courtney Simon (As the World Turns) presented the Richard B. Jablow Award for Devoted Service to the Guild to Hamilton Nolan (Splinter News / Gizmodo Media Group).
Attendees at the WGAE’s show included the Guild’s President and House of Cards creator Beau Willimon; Call Me By Your Name author André Aciman; The Disaster Artist co-screenwriter Michael H. Weber; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks writer-director George C. Wolfe; late night host Seth Meyers; Feud: Bette and Joan writer-producer Michael Zam; The Deuce writer-producer George Pelecanos; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actress Ellie Kemper; The President Show actor and executive producer Adam Pally; The Americans creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit creator Warren Leight; Ozcreator Tom Fontana; Dirty Dancing screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein; Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau; acclaimed actor Lawrence Arancio; SAG-AFTRA’s Senior Advisor John McGuire; Teamsters Local 817 President Tommy J. O’Donnell; IATSE International President Matthew Loeb; Writers Guild Initiative President Michael Weller; and former WGAE Presidents Chris Albers and Michael Winship.
Production credits for the WGAW’s show included: Executive Producer Hugh Fink; Producers Tara Power and Joselyn Allen; Co-Producer Kelly Brock; Director Nick Murray; Head Writer Joe O’Brien; Writers Hugh Fink, Danielle Koenig, Ed Lee, Janine Brito, Mike Drucker, Gerry Duggan, Matt Oswalt; Creative Consultant Shelly Goldstein; Line Producer Shannon Walden; and Production Designer Chris Giammalvo.
Production credits for the WGAE’s show included: Co-Executive Producers Bonnie Datt and Shannon Walker; Head Writer Ann B. Cohen; Writers Ashley Nicole Black, David Steven Cohen, Timothy Cooper, Bonnie Datt, Tarik Davis, Alex English, Ziwe Fumudoh, Jenny Hagel, Don Hooper, Shantira Jackson, Dewayne Perkins, Dan Perlman, Amber Ruffin, Bill Scheft, Craig Shemin and Shannon Walker; Line Producer LBI Audio, Video & Scenic Solutions; and Clips/Tribute Reels Craig Shemin.
Midnight Mass: The Blood of Life
The isolated island community of Crockett receives a mysterious new head priest, full of secrets and a brand new testament under a very unusual Messenger of God.
Meet poor Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), freshly released from prison and wracked with guilt over what got him there, a stupid drinking accident that caused the death of his ex-girlfriend. The last thing he wants to do is go back to Crockett and the judgment of the mostly religious community there, his disappointed family, and the nightmares of his ex’s death that plague him. But where else would have him? Resignedly on the ferry, he goes.
Riley’s dad Ed (Henry Thomas) isn’t the kind of man who talks very much at all, much less about his feelings, or his very real disappointment in his elder son. Riley’s teen brother Warren (Igby Rigney) has no idea what to say to him either, and just generally keeps mum. Riley’s mom Annie (Kristin Lehman) is accepting and loving, hesitant in how to help her eldest son but never wavering in her faith in the help of our lord Jesus. Mom seems to think a good heaping dose of the Church would set Riley right but is surprised to learn that the old priest of the Parish, Pruitt, has taken an extended leave of absence from the island, and his newcomer replacement Father Paul (Hamish Linklater) is young, charismatic, and bursting at the seams to tell the whole island about the gifts he brought them, most especially what he claims as a new testament under a messenger of God.
We’ll get back to that whole ball of issues in a moment, the other interesting characters of Crockett Island. Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan) is the nightmarish overly polite and gently, almost lovingly condescending neighbor Christian woman you’ve ever loathed, the kind of person who explains away every last thing her Church may do wrong or contradictory because, after all, God works in mysterious ways. Pfft. Of course, Bev immediately ingratiates herself as the second to the new Father Paul in their services and is the first to start covering up his transgressions as they become more rampant.
Newcomers to Crockett Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) and his son Ali (Rahul Abburi) present a burgeoning problem to the plans of Father Paul and his shadowy companion, for they are both practicing Muslims. The practical side of investigating these so-called ‘miracles’ and strange happenings falls on Hassan’s shoulders, as he already struggles with barely-concealed racism and suspicion from his fellow islanders, and of course his son is being wooed away from him by the promise of actual, tangible miracles, but from a different whole faith and God. Father Paul definitely does not practice a traditional Christian faith and relies far too much on making use of the eucharist, the ceremony of the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ turning into bread and wine and, well, consumed.
Wade (Michael Trucco) and his wife Dolly (Crystal Balint) are lifers of the island and both in general interested in one thing, the advancement of their own family, specifically their daughter Leeza (Annarah Cymone), who happens to be in a wheelchair. And that happens to be the canny Father Paul’s first real miracle-with-a-cost that he demonstrates to the astonishment of the parishioners, after a heartfelt and rousing sermon, Father Paul commands Leeza to rise, to stand, and to walk. And lo, she does. What parents wouldn’t wholly dedicate themselves to a cause after seeing this happen to their beloved precious daughter? The fringe benefits of healing, and power, the ones that come at a mighty, currently unnamed, cost, are simply a nice bonus.
Joe Collie (Robert Longstreet) is the town drunk, and while his reasons for drowning his sorrows in the sauce might be understandable, absolution wears a very different face when it comes from Father Paul. While Leeza might be willing to forgive Joe, and even as Joe begins attending the newly-formed Al-Anon meetings on the island of course hosted by Father Paul, redemption might’ve been better sought from medical professionals, and not this newfound method of religious worship.
Dr. Sarah Gunning (Annabeth Gish) is the islands’ kind of all-around medic, and this is how she and Riley’s old friend Erin (Kate Siegel), also newly returned to the island, a few months pregnant but traveling quietly alone, met when Erin comes to the Doc for obstetrics. Sarah’s older mother Mildred Gunning (Alexandra Essoe) has many medical and mental issues, and Sarah struggles in their shared home, to take care of her addled mom and balance her own life. Then Father Paul takes it upon himself to visit one of his oldest parishioners, bringing the sacred host and wine with him to give directly to Mildred, who starts looking and acting so much better under his loving care.
The show is very much a slow slow burn, with a lot of the actual action taking place in the last two episodes. Much of the beginning and middle episodes feature two people just sitting alone, having quiet and seriously in-depth conversations about heavy subjects – grief and repentance, what happens when we die, the disasters that come as a result of addictions, how our actions’ consequences reverberate to those we love around us, faith and the foibles of man, and of course, the giving of oneself over to a higher power, for strength, and guidance, and love.
Except, for the higher power that Father Paul brought back with him, to share with his beloved flock of Crockett Island, while it may be extremely powerful and full of what could be considered miraculous magic, everything comes at some kind of a cost. And when the Messenger of God is finally revealed to the shocked denizens of Crockett at Easter Mass, with Father Paul rapturing on about rebirth as the bloody massacre begins in earnest, it’s faith, not in any kind of God or religion, but faith in each other, that may save a few hardy souls.
Question the wisdom of your religious leaders along with the rest of us in a fine slow-burn addition to the Flanaverse, Midnight Mass is on Netflix now!
Saw X: It ain’t brain surgery!
Legendary executioner Jigsaw returns to exact revenge on a cadre of scam artists who promised him a bogus cure for his cancer!
First off, be aware, that this is what I call an interleaved sequel, a movie set between previous films in the franchise. In this case, Saw X occurs after the events of the very first Saw film, and before Saw II. Everybody got where we are? Good! Into the madness, we dive!
So, as we all know, John Kramer’s been diagnosed with cancer, very aggressive brain cancer, and likely doesn’t have much time left. And he’s tried everything under the sun, doing a ton of meticulous research, we’d expect nothing less from our master of the art of murder, and not one thing has worked. Yet one man from the support group for cancer sufferers, Henry (Michael Beach), offers an off-the-books supposed miracle cure, and John jumps at the chance.
Why does this nonsense always sound too good to be true? Because it is. Deleted scenes from the first Deadpool movie already told us why traveling to Mexico for any kind of medical cure is a sublimely stupid move, but Kramer is desperate. And while he might be sick and dying, John Kramer has never been what anyone could call stupid. So the villa out in the Mexican countryside, the affable cab driver Diego (Joshua Okamoto) professes surprise at Kramer being highjacked for his good, the nervous muttering from assistant Valentina (Paulette Hernandez), the side-eyeing from little housekeep Gabriela (Renata Vaca) and her tequila, and most especially the smooth and smarming reassurances of head “doctor” Cecilia Pederson (Synnove Macody Lund), all leave a kind of sour taste in John’s mouth.
The whole cluex4 scene is done in the style that the Saw films are known for, where we the audience are treated to cut-together explanatory scenes in a flip-flash fashion of usually about two minutes, for poor John when he realizes he’s been hoodwinked and just how badly, seems a little contrived. But then it’s entirely possible that we the audience truly expected our genius mastermind of the infamous Jigsaw murders to have realized what was happening sooner, and got enraged along with Kramer. And cheered as he prepared to take his bloody and ultra-violent revenge!
First up in our grand guignol of executions is the return of Jigsaw’s first protégé, Amanda (Shawnee Smith). And despite her avowed reverence for Jigsaw and his proven “therapy”, Amanda does waver a bit when the scammers are put through the paces of their specially-made Saw traps, and they shriek and blubber and bleed out. The appearance of the ringer of the bunch, Parker (Steven Brand), doesn’t even slow our beloved engineer of the damned down, because we knew Jigsaw would have his other apprentice waiting just off stage, the deliciously vicious Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). Even the monkeywrench of involving little-boy soccer fan Carlos (Jorge Briseno) in the traps, is just another cog in the machine that is the brilliantly plotting mind of John Kramer.
A fine addition to the Saw legends, showcasing a return to the beloved style and panache of the original Tobin Bell-starring Jigsaw films, Saw X is splashing gore and gallons of blood in theaters now!
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off,” Netflix’s latest series, is a rollicking journey through the world of video game culture, blending nostalgic references with a fresh narrative twist. Centered around Scott Pilgrim, portrayed with magnetic charisma by Michael Cera, the show skillfully integrates gaming elements into its storytelling, creating a delightful homage to the video game subculture.
The series cleverly employs pixelated graphics, power-up animations, and game-like sound effects to bring the virtual world to life. These visual cues, reminiscent of classic video games, enhance the storytelling and resonate with audiences familiar with the gaming landscape. The attention to detail in recreating iconic gaming moments is commendable, creating a visual and auditory treat for enthusiasts.
The exploration of video game culture goes beyond mere aesthetics; it becomes an integral part of the characters’ identities and interactions. The script intelligently weaves gaming terminology and tropes into the dialogue, effectively blending the real and virtual worlds. The series navigates the challenges and triumphs of the characters through the lens of gaming, making it a unique and engaging experience for both gamers and general audiences.
The ensemble cast, including standout performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, and Chris Evans embraces the gaming theme with infectious enthusiasm. The chemistry between the characters is palpable, adding emotional depth to the series.
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” successfully taps into the zeitgeist of video game culture, offering a nostalgic yet contemporary take on the gaming phenomenon. It’s a must-watch for those who cherish the pixelated roots of the gaming world while providing an accessible and entertaining narrative for a broader audience. The series takes off not only in its title but also in its ability to soar within the ever-expanding realm of Netflix originals.