By Mack Chico
Woody Allen received his 19th screenplay nomination from the Writers Guild of America on Wednesday, when he was named for his romantic comedy “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” Allen, 73, has previously won the WGA award for original screenplay for “Annie Hall,” “Broadway Danny Rose,” “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Joining Allen in the original screenplay category are Joel and Ethan Coen for “Burn After Reading” — the brothers won the guild’s award for adapted screenplay last year for “No Country for Old Men” — Dustin Lance Black for “Milk,” Tom McCarthy for “The Visitor” and Robert Siegel for “The Wrestler.”
Nominated for best adapted screenplay are “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” screenplay by Eric Roth, screen story by Roth and Robin Swicord, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald; “The Dark Knight,” screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, based on the characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, Batman created by Bob Kane; “Doubt,” screenplay by John Patrick Shanley based on his stage play; “Frost/Nixon,” screenplay by Peter Morgan based on his stage play; and “Slumdog Millionaire,” screenplay by Simon Beaufoy based on the novel “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup.
Although “Dark Knight” didn’t perform well with many critics’ groups or with the Golden Globe nominations — save for Heath Ledger’s supporting actor turn as the Joker — the box-office blockbuster is still shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with this award season, having earned nominations this week from the Producers Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers and now the WGA.
Competing in the documentary screenplay categories are “Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story,” written by Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker; “Chicago 10,” written by Brett Morgen; “Fuel,” written by Johnny O’Hara; “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson,” screenplay by Alex Gibney from the words of Hunter S. Thompson; and “Waltz With Bashir,” written by Ari Folman.
Though the WGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences haven’t always seen eye to eye on screenplay picks over the decades, the academy was in agreement with last year’s WGA winners: “No Country for Old Men” and Diablo Cody’s original screenplay for “Juno.”
The 2009 Writers Guild Awards will be held simultaneously Feb. 7 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles and the Hudson Theatre in New York.