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WGA Rules Out Potential Oscar Nominees ‘Anatomy Of A Fall’, ‘Poor Things’, ‘Zone Of Interest’, ‘All Of Us Strangers’, Places ‘Barbie’ In Original Screenplay On Ballot

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday morning, and expected to be strong contenders in the Screenplay categories are Golden Globe winner and BAFTA nominee Anatomy of a Fall in Originals and newly minted Adapted Screenplay BAFTA nominees Poor Things, The Zone of Interest and All of Us Strangers.

They all might be new Oscar nominees when we see the list from the Academy tomorrow, and they also make up nearly half of all last week’s announced BAFTA writing nominees, but don’t look for any of them to be among the chosen scripts at the Writers Guild Awards when those strike-delayed nominations are announced on February 21. All have been ruled ineligible at WGA, which opened voting for its members today, sending each a list of eligible films and TV series. Ballots are due back by noon PT on February 9.

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Justine Triet accepts the award for Best Screenplay Motion Picture for “Anatomy of a Fall”
Justine Triet accepts the award for Best Screenplay Motion Picture for “Anatomy of a Fall”

Per usual, the WGA marches to the beat of its own drum, unlike other guilds, and deems ineligible any scripts for movies not produced under its Minimum Basic Agreement or a bona fide collective bargaining agreement with various affiliated countries. The WGA’s contenders usually are announced before we hear what Oscar is thinking, but the protracted writers strike led the guild to change up its calendar; it won’t be holding its dual bicoastal ceremonies until April 14, more than a month after the March 10 Oscars. WGA Awards nominations will made public on the aforementioned February 21 date, before final Oscar voting begins the next day and perhaps having some influence there — or not, because further confusing voters for both Oscars and WGA is a difference of opinion of what constitutes an original versus an adapted screenplay.

Barbie
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie starred in ‘Barbie’

A major contender, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s Barbie, is an original at the WGA, BAFTA (where it is nominated) and Critics Choice (where it won). But the Academy’s Writers Branch Executive Committee has deemed it an adaptation — due in part to the existing Mattel toy line of characters — so should it not make the cut with Adapted Screenplay Oscar nominations tomorrow, Barbie still could get a WGA nom as an Original Screenplay in a month. Ava DuVernay’s Origin, inspired by the book Caste but an original story about its author, is in the same situation: an original for WGA eligibility but an adapted work at the Oscars.

Other screenplays from acclaimed 2023 movies that will not be allowed to be considered by WGA members (I am one) on their ballot include Originals Fallen Leaves, The Boy and the Heron, The Teacher’s Lounge, Memory, Fingernails, and Sundance winner A Thousand and One, to name a few. In Adapted, additional scripts not eligible include The Taste of Things, BlackBerry, Society of the Snow, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.

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