"The Social Network" and "Inception" triumphed at the Writers Guild of America Awards on Saturday night — the former as a prohibitive favorite coming into the show, the latter as a surprise winner over "The Kids Are All Right" and "The Fighter."
Also read: Full List of WGA Winners
Aaron Sorkin won the WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, following his victory Friday night at the Scripter Awards. Nolan (pictured below, on set with Leonardo DiCaprio and Cillian Murphy) won for Original Screenplay.
Oscar frontrunner "The King's Speech" was not eligible.
"I think I wrote a good script," said Sorkin in the press room afterwards. "But David Fincher made a great movie. That's why I'm here tonight."
Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job" won the award for documentary, just as it had last week at the Directors Guild Awards.
In the WGA television awards, "Mad Men" and "Modern Family" won for Drama and Comedy Series, respectively, while "Boardwalk Empire" was honored with the New Series. "The Pacific" beat "Temple Grandin" for Long-Form Adaptation, and "The Special Relationship" beat the only other nominee, "You Don't Know Jack," for Long-Form Original.
Other TV awards went to "The Colbert Report" and episodes of "Mad Men" and "30 Rock."
The WGA film awards are limited in their ability to influence or predict the Oscars, because the list of eligible films is dramatically different than the Academy's. "The King's Speech," "Winter's Bone," "Toy Story 3" and "Another Year," all of which received Oscar nominations for screenwriting, did not qualify under WGA rules, which restrict eligibility to films that were produced under the guild's Minimum Basic Agreement, or under an agreement with an affiliated international guild.
The field of eligible entrants for the WGA Awards for feature film numbered only 76, fewer than one-third of the 241 eligible films in the Oscar screenwriting categories.
Last year, only four of the 10 WGA nominees went on to receive Oscar nominations; among them was Mark Boal, who won both the WGA and the Oscar for his original screenplay for "The Hurt Locker." (The WGA Award for adapted screenplay went to "Up in the Air," while at the Oscars the award went to "Precious.")
For Sorkin and "The Social Network," the WGA Award was a must-win that keeps the film's Oscar hopes alive despite the recent run of guild awards (PGA, DGA and SAG) by "The King's Speech." For "Inception," the Original Screenplay win gives a shot to a film that was hurt by the Academy's failure to nominate Nolan for Best Director.
"The Kids Are All Right" and "The Fighter," which were also competing in the Original Screenplay category, could have used a boost in a screenplay race expected to go to "The King's Speech" on Oscar night.
The WGA also handed out a variety of honorary awards on Saturday night. The WGA West presented Steven Zaillian with the 2011 WGAW Screen Laurel Award; Diane English with the WGAW 2011 Paddy Chayevsky Laurel Award for Television; "Fair Game" screenwriters Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth with the Paul Selvin Award, which recognizes "work which embodies the spirit of constitutional rights and civil liberties"; Tonino Guerra with the Jean Renoir Award, which goes to an international writer; and Seth Freeman and Susannah Grant with the Valentine Davies Award, in recognition of "contributions to the entertainment industry and community at large."
The WGA East gave the Iam McLellan Hunter Award for Lifetime Achivement in Writing to Frank Gilroy; the Eveyln F. Burkey Award to the Television Academy Foundation's Archive of American Television; and the Richard B. Jablow Award for devoted service to the guild to Marianne Pryor.
The awards were handed out at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. In L.A., the show took place in the Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel at Hollywood & Highland, and was hosted by Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson of "Modern Family." In New York, Kristen Schaal hosted the ceremony held at the AXA Equitable Center.
Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, "Inception"
Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, "The Social Network"
Documentary Screenplay: Charles Ferguson, Chad Beck and Adam Bolt, "Inside Job"
Drama Series: "Mad Men"
Comedy Series: "Modern Family"
New Series: "Boardwalk Empire"
Episodic Drama: "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" ("Mad Men")
Episodic Comedy: "When It Rains, It Pours" ("30 Rock")
Long Form – Original: "The Special Relationship"
Long Form – Adaptation: "The Pacific, Part Eight"
Animation: "The Prisoner of Brenda" ("Futurama")
Comedy/Variety Series: "The Colbert Report"
Comedy/Variety – Special: "National Memorial Day Concert 2010"
Daytime Drama: "As the World Turns"
Children's – Episodic & Specials: "Happy Ha-Ha Holidays"
Children's – Long Form or Special: "Avalon High"
Documentary – Current Events: "Flying Cheap" ("Frontline")
Documentary – Other Than Current Events: "Wyatt Earp" ("American Experience")
News – Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin or Breaking Report: "Sunday Morning Almanac" ("CBS Sunday Morning")
News – Analysis, Feature or Commentary: "Resurrecting Eden" ("60 Minutes")
Documentary: "2009 Year in Review," CBS Radio News
News – Regularly Scheduled or Breaking Report: "CBS World News Roundup"
News: Analysis, Feature or Commentary: "Passages," CBS Radio News
PROMOTIONAL WRITING AND GRAPHIC ANIMATION
On-Air Promotion (Radio or Television): "CSI" Promos
Television Graphic Animation: "Sunday Morning, By Design"
Videogame Writing: "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood"
Original New Media: "The Real Thing," "Identity Crisis," "Girl Talk," "Naming Things," "Curtain Up" ("Anyone But Me")
Derivative New Media: "Strip Pong," "Tear Jerks," "Brainstorm" ("Frank vs. Lutz")