Restrictive WGA rules mean that top contenders like "Django Unchained," "Amour," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Les Miserables" aren't eligible for guild honors
"Les Miserables," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Anna Karenina," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and "Quartet" might make up a respectable group of Best Adapted Screenplay nominees, but none of them have a chance of competing in that category at the Writers Guild of America Awards.
All five films are ineligible under WGA rules that restrict contenders to screenplays for films that were written by its members or written for productions that are signatory to the guild's Minimum Basic Agreement or the agreements of five affiliated international guilds.
In the Best Original Screenplay category, Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" (above) was not eligible, and neither were Martin McDonagh's "Seven Psychopaths," Michael Haneke's "Amour" and Sergio G. Sanchez's "The Impossible."
The WGA routinely disqualifies a number of screenplays that go on to Oscar nominations or wins; in recent years, winner "The King's Speech" and nominees "The Artist," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "A Separation" and "Winter's Bone" were ineligible.
This year, according to a WGA ballot obtained by Kris Tapley at In Contention, the list of films that aren't eligible starts with "Django Unchained," which has won acclaim (and a Golden Globe nomination) for Tarantino, who himself is not a guild member. (He was not a Directors Guild member when he made "Pulp Fiction" and "Inglorious Basterds," but that guild's less-restrictive rules landed him nominations for both films.)
Like "Basterds," "Django" was made for the Weinstein Company, whose awards-season heavyweights are often ineligible at the WGA Awards. ("The King's Speech," "The Iron Lady" and "My Week With Marilyn" are among the TWC films that didn't qualify in the last two years.)
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is another strong Oscar contender, but its low-budget and non-union production has already run afoul of Screen Actors Guild rules, making it no surprise that the WGA didn't accept it either.
"Amour," like many of the high-profile foreign-language films released every year, also failed to qualify; so did France's Oscar entry, "The Intouchables," and the acclaimed "Rust and Bone."
And while Pixar's films often receive Oscar nominations ("WALL-E," "Up" and "Toy Story 3" all did), animation is generally ineligible for the WGA Awards, and this year's "Brave" was no exception.
Also ineligible: "Middle of Nowhere," "The Deep Blue Sea" and "Your Sister's Sister."
In total, the WGA qualified 39 films in the Adapted Screenplay category, and 58 in Original Screenplay, slightly more than last year in each category.
Typically, about three times as many screenplays are eligible for Oscars as for the WGA Awards.