Charlie Kaufman will receive the Writers Guild of America West’s 2023 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement. The prize recognizes members of the WGA who have “advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter,” according to a statement released by the guild.
The recognition comes 23 years after Kaufman’s first WGA Awards nomination, for “Being John Malkovich” — a groundbreaking surrealist classic directed by Spike Jonze that also earned Kaufman his first Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe nod and an Independent Spirit Award win for Best First Screenplay.
Reteaming with Jonze, he turned his own painful writer’s block while adapting Susan Orlean’s book “The Orchid Thief” into the mind-bending film “Adaptation,” which again earned him nominations from the WGA and the Academy. He won both awards in 2005 for his original screenplay for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” his second collaboration with iconoclastic director Michel Gondry (following 2001’s “Human Nature”).
Kaufman’s other screenplays include 2002’s “Confession of a Dangerous Mind,” and he wrote and directed “Synecdoche, New York,” “Anomalisa” (which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature) and “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.” In 2020, he published “Antkind,” his first novel.
Calling him a “true visionary,” the WGA has ranked three of Kaufman’s scripts on their best-of lists: “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
Previous WGA members who have been recipients of the Screen Laurel Award include Nancy Meyers, James L. Brooks, Elaine May, Oliver Stone, Harold Ramis, David Mamet, Paul Mazursky, Lawrence Kasdan, Eric Roth, Steven Zaillian, Robert Towne and Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel.
The 75th annual WGA Awards will take place on March 5, 2023.