Tag Archives: writers guild

WGA Screenplay Nominees (2011)

Most years, I have a hell of a time narrowing the nominated films on my awards ballot down to ten, but, this year…well…let’s just say it was a struggle to find ten worthy films to nominate.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some really great movies released in 2010, but, the good ones (“The Social Network”, “Inception”, “The Fighter”, “Black Swan”) were so good that the rest of the nominees felt like total filler.

And when you couple that with the fact that several of the biggest Oscar-bait flicks this year (“The King’s Speech”, “Winter’s Bone”, “Toy Story 3”) were considered ineligible for WGA nominations, well, the list of nominatable films was pretty damn slim this year.

That said, this was the first year since I can remember that almost every single movie I voted for got nominated (rock on, “I Love You, Phillip Morris”!!) so, that’s kinda fun for a change.

In any case, congrats to all the nominated writers and here is this year’s freshly-minted list of WGA nominated films. Enjoy!

Original Screenplay

Black Swan (Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John McLaughlin)

The Fighter (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington)

Inception (Christopher Nolan)

The Kids Are All Right (Stuart Blumberg & Lisa Cholodenko)

Please Give (Nicole Holofcener)

Adapted Screenplay

127 Hours (Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy)

I Love You Phillip Morris (John Requa & Glenn Ficarra)

The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)

The Town (Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard)

True Grit (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)

Documentary Screenplay

Enemies of the People (Rob Lemkin & Thet Sambath)

Freedom Riders (Stanley Nelson)

Gasland (Josh Fox)

Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, Chad Beck, Adam Bolt)

The Two Escobars (Michael Zimbalist, Jeff Zimbalist)

Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? (John Scheinfeld)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under See

The “American Idol” Truth Tour

This Wednesday, the Writer’s Guild of America launched its first ever “American Idol Truth Tour” with a fiery press conference at WGA headquarters in the Fairfax district. Designed to promote awareness of the gross mistreatment of workers on Fremantle Media’s top-rated “American Idol”, the Truth Tour will follow this year’s “Idol” auditions from city to city to promote the cause.

And what a cause it is. Since “Idol” is a defiantly non-union show, the producers routinely break California and Federal labor laws by forcing many of their workers to pull 36 hour shifts with no breaks, no overtime and worst of all, no health benefits or residuals for the work they do on the show.

One former “Idol” production assistant revealed to the crowd on Wednesday that after factoring in all his time spent working on the show, he averaged about $4 an hour. That’s less than half the California minimum wage!

And as several of the Teamsters in the crowd pointed out, “Idol” is also one of the only shows in Hollywood to use non-union drivers. I think WGA Vice President David Weiss said it best when he scolded Fremantle for preying on the starry-eyed new-to-Hollywood crowd when hiring and then systematically using these people up and spitting them out at the end of each season.

Not only is this practice morally wrong, but it’s also illegal and with scores of pending lawsuits and labor board cases against Fremantle and several other producers of so-called “reality shows”, the heat in this kitchen is about to get pretty damn unbearable.

I guess the thing that really galls me — and I am a huge “Idol” fan by the way — is the fact that Fox and Fremantle spend so much time and money touting their massive “Idol Gives Back” charity each year, while at the same time denying their own workers the most basic of benefits. It’s just kind of mind-boggling that the same people that raise millions of dollars every year for charity could be so goddamn greedy when it comes to paying their own workers. Insanity!

So, though I did not get my act together in time to get on the Truth Tour bus to San Francisco — the site of this year’s first round of “Idol” auditions — my friend Patty and I did attend the early-morning press conference on Wednesday to show our support for our WGA brethren.

And I mean to tell ya, that crowd was fired up, baby! Slipping on our new Truth Tour t-shirts, swapping war stories with my fellow WGA strike veterans…man, it was like old home week at the WGA. And even though I didn’t bring much more than a camera with me to the press conference, I have to admit, I was pretty tempted to jump on that bus at the last minute and call it a day.

But to the hardy souls who did get on the bus and staged a rowdy protest at the “Idol” auditions yesterday at the Cow Palace, I say, rock on, writerly soldiers! Here’s to showing the world what really happens behind the scenes at the top-rated show in America!

All we can hope for now is that the press actually covers the Truth Tour events — stories about the press conference were virtually non-existent on the local news last night — and that maybe, just maybe, the soulless bastards at Fremantle will do the right thing and go union.

I know it’s a tall order, but hey, sometimes a little bad publicity is all it takes to make these corporate robots quake in their boots…so, for now, que viva la WGA Truth Tour!

10 Comments

Filed under Do

Golden Globes Update…

Wow…this week just keeps getting worse and worse for NBC. Not only are they not televising an award show — crews are actually tearing down the set for the show as I type — but they have also lost exclusive rights to their fake-ass “news conference” they were going to hold on Sunday! And that means, no picketing for us…yeah!

“Miss Golden Globes 2008″ Rumer Willis in a scene from an upcoming film!
.

It seems the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the entity behind the Golden Globes, has re-assumed complete control of the press conference and decided that rather than give exclusive rights to the show to NBC, they’d open the event to all media outlets!

Wow…I guess NBC’s plan to reclassify their fizzy awards show as “news” actually worked. The show has become news and as such, is open to all. In the words of “The Simpsons” Nelson Muntz: “Ha, ha!” And while I think NBC can only blame themselves for the enormity of this clusterfuck, I gotta say I feel a little bad for this year’s Miss Golden Globes, Rumer Willis (pictured in the bizarre dunce cap get-up above and a more normal pic below).

“Miss Golden Globes” Rumer Willis in gold!
.

For those of you not familiar with the tradition, Miss Golden Globes is the pretty young thing chosen each year to hand out awards onstage. The HFPA usually choses daughters (and sometimes, sons) of Hollywood celebrities. For instance, last year’s Miss Golden Globes was the daughter of Jack Nicholson, the year before that, it was the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith.

Sadly, this year’s pick, Rumer Willis (daughter of Bruce and Demi) will now go down in the Hollywood history books as the Miss Golden Globes that wasn’t…

Sorry, Rumer. But who knows, maybe if you’re lucky they’ll let you hold some of the awards at the news conference!

1 Comment

Filed under Do

John Edwards walks the line!

Taking time out from his busy campaign schedule, Democratic Presidential hopeful, former North Carolina Senator John Edwards “put his money where his mouth is” when he walked the NBC picket lines with upwards of 1,200 striking WGA writers on Friday.

Democratic Presidential hopeful, former North Carolina Senator, John Edwards on the NBC picket lines (Nov. 16, 2007)

Hooray! Finally a strike story that our local news can’t bury beneath endless OJ trial coverage! Seriously, my “star-making” turn on the Fox News aside, the networks down here have been totally burying accurate and timely coverage of the strike. Guess it doesn’t look too good to cut to live shots from the picket lines when they’re right outside your own front gate.

On Wednesday, ABC news actually said that the KT Tunstall mini-concert happened at NBC, which is either a huge blunder by their fact checkers or a straight-up lie. I’m going with straight-up lie as the event was staged within walking distance (if not earshot) of their news desk. Shame on you, ABC!

John Edwards flashing that JFK smile to the press @ NBC (Nov. 16, 2007)

Anyway, back to our future Prez, John Edwards. Glowing like a Kennedy-in-waiting, John Edwards wowed the crowd from the get-go as he climbed up onto a planter box and addressed the striking masses. Grabbing the bullhorn, Edwards shouted: “I’m so proud to be with you in this fight for justice. And I’ll be with you every day when I’m President of the United States.” Rock on, Carolina!

John Edwards walking the picket line w/striking WGA members @ NBC Burbank (Nov. 16, 2007)

“Unions organizing all working people is the only way we will ensure that conglomerates don’t take over America.” He continued, to roars of approval from the crowd as the press swarmed around him (see below).

“The striking Writers Guild members are fighting an important battle to protect their creative rights. These writers deserve to be compensated fairly for their work and I commend their courage in standing up to big media conglomerates.” Whoo-hoo! You can say that again, tarheel!

The press swarming around John Edwards as he arrives @ the picket lines (Nov. 16, 2007)

Wan (who, like Edwards, is from Chapel Hill, NC) and I were just a few folks away from Edwards when he spoke, and though we didn’t get to shake his hand (which was our nerd-tastic goal going into the day!) we did manage to get some halfway decent pics despite the crowd, so, yeah!

Christine and I have been huge fans of Edwards’ every since his ill-fated run for the White House in ’04, but now, expensive haircuts or not, we love the dude even more.

John Edwards charms the crowd on the WGA picket lines @ NBC Burbank (Nov. 16, 2007)

Not sure what kind of real chance he has of making it past Iowa right now, but I say any politico who takes the time to roll up his sleeves (very Juan Peron of him!) and walk the picket line with a bunch of sweaty, unshaven writers is a friend of mine! Go, Edwards!

3 Comments

Filed under Do