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2019 Writers Guild of America Awards: ‘Eighth Grade’ and ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ Shake Up Oscar Race


The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is typically a reliable precursor in both Screenplay races. However, they managed to throw a curveball with their awards winners this year. For instance, “Eighth Grade,” written by Bo Burnham, won Original Screenplay. The Oscars didn’t nominate the acclaimed indie for Best Original Screenplay. In fact, they shut the film out completely. Yet, it still won at WGA over Best Picture heavy hitters like “Green Book” and “Roma.”

In addition, the Oscar race for Best Adapted Screenplay got just as crazy. The WGA anointed “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, with their Adapted Screenplay prize. The film was starting to feel like an afterthought this awards season. But this win gives it a needed awards boost as the Oscar ceremony draws near.

Meanwhile, on the television side, “The Americans” won Best Drama Series. Also, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” took home the award for Best Comedy Series. Plus, “Barry” managed to win the award for Best New Series.

Check out the full list of winners down below. Also, the full set of nominees can be seen by clicking on this link.

Melissa McCarthy Can You Ever Forgive Me

2019 Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards Winners:

Original Screenplay:

“Eighth Grade,” written by Bo Burnham; A24

Adapted Screenplay:

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty. Based on the book by Lee Israel; Fox Searchlight

Documentary Screenplay:

“Bathtubs Over Broadway,” written by Ozzy Inguanzo and Dava Whisenant; Focus Features

Drama Series:

“The Americans,” written by Peter Ackerman, Hilary Bettis, Joshua Brand, Joel Fields, Sarah Nolen, Stephen Schiff, Justin Weinberger, Joe Weisberg, Tracey Scott Wilson; FX Networks

Comedy Series:

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” written by Kate Fodor, Noah Gardenswartz, Daniel Goldfarb, Jen Kirkman, Sheila Lawrence, Daniel Palladino, Amy Sherman Palladino; Prime Video

New Series:

“Barry,” written by Alec Berg, Duffy Boudreau, Bill Hader, Emily Heller, Liz Sarnoff, Ben Smith, Sarah Solemani; HBO

Original Long Form:

“Castle Rock,” written by Marc Bernardin, Scott Brown, Lila Byock, Mark Lafferty, Sam Shaw, Dustin Thomason, Gina Welch, Vinnie Wilhelm; Hulu

Adapted Long Form:

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” written by Maggie Cohn and Tom Rob Smith, Based on the book “Vulgar Favors” by Maureen Orth; FX Networks

Original Short Form New Media:

“Class of Lies,” written by Tessa Leigh Williams; Snapchat

Adapted Short Form New Media:

“The Walking Dead: Red Machete,” written by Nick Bernardone;


“Bart’s Not Dead” (The Simpsons), written by Stephanie Gillis; Fox

Episodic Drama:

“Paean To The People” (Homeland), written by Alex Gansa; Showtime

Episodic Comedy:

“Chapter One: Make Your Mark” (Barry), written by Alec Berg and Bill Hader; HBO

Comedy/Variety Talk Series:

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” written by Tim Carvell, Raquel D’Apice, Josh Gondelman, Dan Gurewitch, Jeff Maurer, Daniel O’Brien, John Oliver, Brian Parise, Owen Parsons, Ben Silva, Will Tracy, Jill Twiss, Seena Vali, Juli Weiner; HBO

Comedy/Variety Sketch Series:

“Nathan For You,” written by Leo Allen, Nathan Fielder, Carrie Kemper, Michael Koman, Adam Locke-Norton, Eric Notarnicola; Comedy Central

Comedy/Variety Specials:

“The Fake News with Ted Nelms,” written by John Aboud, Andrew Blitz, Michael Colton, Ed Helms, Elliott Kalan, Joseph Randazzo, Sara Schaefer; Comedy Central

Quiz And Audience Participation:

“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?,” Head Writer: Stephen A. Melcher, Jr.; Writers: Kyle Beakley, Tom Cohen, Patricia A. Cotter, Ryan Hopak, Gary Lucy, James Rowley, Ann Slichter, Dylan Snowden; Disney/ABC Syndication

Daytime Drama:

“General Hospital,” Head Writers: Shelly Altman, Christopher Van Etten; Writers: Barbara Bloom, Anna Theresa Cascio, Suzanne Flynn, Charlotte Gibson, Lucky Gold, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Korte, Daniel James O’Connor, Donny Sheldon, Scott Sickles; ABC

Children’s Episodic And Specials:

“The Ersatz Elevator: Part One” (“A Series Of Unfortunate Events”), Teleplay by Daniel Handler; Netflix

Documentary Script- Current Events:

“Trump’s Takeover” (“Frontline”), written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS

Documentary Script- Other Than Current Events:

“The Eugenics Experience” (“American Experience”), written by Michelle Ferrari; PBS

News Script- Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, Or Breaking Report:

“Catastrophe” (“60 Minutes”), written by Scott Pelley, Katie Kerbstat, Nicole Young; CBS News

News Script- Analysis, Feature, Or Commentary:

“Wounds Of War” (“60 Minutes), written by Scott Pelley, Katie Kerbstat, Nicole Young; CBS News

Digital News:

“Inside The Culture Of Sexism At Riot Games,” written by Cecilia D’Anastasio;

Radio/Audio Documentary:

“RFK: 50 Years After Shots Rang Out at the Ambassador Hotel,” written by Andrew Evans; ABC News Radio

Radio/Audio News Script- Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, Or Breaking Report:

“Remembering The Good, The Bad, and the Brilliant,” written by Gail Lee; CBS News Radio

Radio/Audio News Script- Analysis, Feature, Or Commentary:

“John McCain: A Life Of Service,” written by Gail Lee; CBS News Radio

On-Air Promotion (Radio Or Television):

“Tribute to Star Trek for the 2018 Creative Arts Emmys,” written by Sean Brogan; CBS

Videogame Writing:

“God Of War,” written by Matt Sophos, Richard Zangrande Gaubert, Cory Barlog, Orion Walker, Adam Dolin; Sony Interactive Entertainment

Be sure to share your thoughts on the winners in the comments section!


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Written by Matt St.Clair

Matt St.Clair is a freelance film journalist currently residing in Connecticut. He is a member of the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association and the Online Film & Television Association.


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