The WGA Nominations can be expected to honor movies (and TV series, movies, etc.) that have a writerly quality — to the dialogue, intricate story structure, character construction.
So while there are some glaring omissions, putting “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “I, Tonya,” and such adaptations as “The Disaster Artist,” “Logan” and Aaron Sorkin’s talkathon take on “Molly’s Game” are perfectly defensible.
But, um, no “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri?” Martin McDonagh is the writer’s writer.
No “Wind River?” That’s a smartly structured, hard-boiled and lyrical script.
“Mudbound” kind of wallows in its genre, a weak adaptation where nobody had the good sense to cut scenes and narrow the foucs.
And there’s no much I’d call lyrical about “The Shape of Water.” Not dialogue (Shannon’s lines have bite, but having two mute characters as your leads devalues that), not the fairytale-ish plot.
“Lucky” was a lot more than Harry Dean Stanton’s elegy. “Stronger” was intricate, quotable.
Smaller films in general took a beating, with “I, Tonya” being the only real surprise inclusion.
“The Post” should be in here, maybe “Darkest Hour,” maybe “The Florida Project” sounded too improvised (it wasn’t). I’d even think “Coco” merits a thought. “The Big Sick?” What’s polished about that flaccid, sentimental slop?
“Logan?” OK. The most writerly superhero adaptation not done by Joss Whedon.
Here are their film nominees. The full list, TV etc., is on the WGA website.
The Big Sick, Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani; Amazon Studios
Get Out, Written by Jordan Peele; Universal Pictures
I, Tonya, Written by Steven Rogers; Neon
Lady Bird, Written by Greta Gerwig; A24
The Shape of Water, Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro; Fox Searchlight
Call Me by Your Name, Screenplay by James Ivory; Based on the Novel by André Aciman; Sony Pictures Classics
The Disaster Artist, Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber; Based on the Book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell; A24
Logan, Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold; Based on Characters from the X-Men Comic Books and Theatrical Motion Pictures; Twentieth Century Fox Film
Molly’s Game, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin; Based on the Book by Molly Bloom; STX Entertainment
Mudbound, Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees; Based on the Novel by Hillary Jordan; Netflix
Betting on Zero, Written by Theodore Braun; Gunpowder & Sky
Jane, Written by Brett Morgen; National Geographic
No Stone Unturned, Written by Alex Gibney; Abramorama
Oklahoma City, Written by Barak Goodman; American Experience Films