The Writers Guild of America, East will present Tom Fontana, the creator of HBO’s “Oz,” with the Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Career Achievement at the 71st Annual WGA Awards. The awards ceremony will be held at New York’s Edison Ballroom on Feb. 17, 2019.
Fontana, who joined the guild in 1982 as a writer on the NBC medical drama “St. Elsewhere,” is the creator of several groundbreaking shows including “Oz,” “The Philanthropist,” “Copper” and Netflix’s “Borgia,” and was a writer on “Homicide: Life on the Street.” He is currently the showrunner for “City on a Hill,” a drama created by Chuck MacLean, which will premiere on Showtime in 2019.
“I’m extremely grateful to the men and women in our Guild for thinking me worthy of the award. Now, everything I write will have to be better than before,” Fontana said in a statement.
Fontana’s shows are known for their portraits of characters grappling with questions of redemption, retribution, forgiveness, and faith and their uniquely vibrant — and violent — settings. He has three Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, four Television Critics Association Awards, the Humanitas Prize, the Austin Film Festival’s Outstanding Television Writer Award, and won first prize at the Cinema Tout Ecran Festival in Geneva.
Fontana has previously won three Writers Guild awards for his work on “St. Elsewhere” and “Homicide,” and in 2013, the WGA selected “Oz,” “Homicide” and “St. Elsewhere” as three of the 101 Best-Written TV Series. He has also received two of WGA East’s honorary awards: the Richard B. Jablow Award for devoted service to the Guild and Evelyn F. Burkey Award, which recognizes those who have brought “honor and dignity” to writers.
The Hunter Award was established in 1992 and named in memory of longtime WGAE member Ian McLellan Hunter. The award is presented to a WGAE member in honor of their body of work as a writer in motion pictures or television. Past recipients include Geoffrey Ward, Andrew Bergman, John Sayles, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, John Waters, Richard LaGravenese, John Patrick Shanley and Nora Ephron.