THE ROAD TO OSCAR: With voting for Oscar nominees closing this week, many awards handicappers have been looking at the various guild nominees lists for clues about which films will land on top. Don’t be misled, though. The Writers Guild nomination list that came out Friday had a number of strange absences, including two of the very top heralded films of the year, two brilliant films which brought audiences (even Hollywood industry audiences) to tears — “12 Years A Slave” and “Philomena.” This is because, as is the case every year, the WGA lists only scripts produced under the Writers Guild of America’s signatory agreements as eligible for its awards. And every year, worthy films are ruled ineligible. In short, it’s politics over art.
The members of the Writers Guild who are also members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have an obligation to vote their conscience and their true evaluation. Recent history shows that they do. Last year, Quentin Tarantino’s script for “Django” did not qualify for voting for the Writers Guild Award, but it was nominated for and won the Oscar for Original Screenplay.