‘Arrival,’ ‘Fences,’ ‘Hell or High Water’ Nominated for Writers Guild Awards

“La La Land,” “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea” are also among the Writers Guild of America nominees

Last Updated: January 4, 2017 @ 3:11 PM

“Hell or High Water,” “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Loving” and “Nocturnal Animals” are among the theatrical films nominated by the Writers Guild of America for its annual awards, the WGA, West and WGA, East jointly announced on Wednesday morning.

Oscar frontrunners “La La Land,” “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea” also received Writers Guild Awards nominations, as did “Deadpool” and “Hidden Figures.”

The Best Original Screenplay category consists of “Hell or High Water,” “La La Land,” “Loving,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight,” while the field in the Best Adapted Screenplay category is “Arrival,” “Deadpool,” “Fences,” “Hidden Figures” and “Nocturnal Animals.”

(“Moonlight” was nominated in the original screenplay category because the Tarrell Alvin McCraney play adapted by Barry Jenkins was never produced; the Writers Branch of the Academy has disagreed and placed the film into the Oscars’ adapted-screenplay category.)

A couple of celebrated indies, Matt Ross’ “Captain Fantastic” and Mike Mills’ “20th Century Women,” were missing from the WGA nominations, whose biggest surprise was probably Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s comic-book adaptation “Deadpool.”

In the documentary category, nominations went to “Author: The JT Leroy Story,” “Command and Control” and “Zero Days.” The last two of those films made the Oscar documentary shortlist.

Unlike the other major Hollywood guilds, the Writers Guild restricts its awards and nominations to screenplays written by members and/or produced by companies that are guild signatories. As a result, a number of Oscar screenwriting contenders are ineligible for Writers Guild Awards each year.

This year, “Florence Foster Jenkins,” “The Lobster,” “Zootopia,” “Toni Erdmann” and “Everybody Wants Some!!” are among the ineligible films in the original-screenplay category, while “Lion” isn’t eligible on the adapted side.

On average, three out of five WGA nominees go on to receive Oscar nominations; only once in the last 10 years (and 20 categories) has a category matched exactly.

The Writers Guild Awards will take place at simultaneous ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles on Feb. 19.

The Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America, the final two of the four major Hollywood guilds whose nominations are examined closely for clues to Oscar voting, will announce their nominees next week.

The nominees:

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Hell or High Water,” Written by Taylor Sheridan; CBS Films

“La La Land,” Written by Damien Chazelle; Lionsgate

“Loving,” Written by Jeff Nichols; Focus Features

“Manchester by the Sea,” Written by Kenneth Lonergan; Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions

“Moonlight,” Written by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell McCraney; A24

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Arrival,” Screenplay by Eric Heisserer; Based on the Story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang; Paramount Pictures

“Deadpool,” Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick; Based on the X-Men Comic Books; Twentieth Century Fox Film

“Fences,” Screenplay by August Wilson; Based on his Play; Paramount Pictures

“Hidden Figures,” Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi; Based on the Book by Margot Lee Shetterly; Twentieth Century Fox Film

“Nocturnal Animals,” Screenplay by Tom Ford; Based on the Novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright; Focus Features

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY
“Author: The JT LeRoy Story,” Written by Jeff Feuerzeig; Amazon Studios

“Command and Control,” Telescript by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, Story by Brian Pearle and Kim Roberts; Based on the book Command and Control by Eric Schlosser; American Experience Films

“Zero Days,” Written by Alex Gibney; Magnolia Pictures