The Writers Guild of America has just finished handing out their awards for 2016 with at least a couple of surprises to be had.
First of all, in an unexpected twist, Barry Jenkins was given the Original Screenplay award for "Moonlight," despite everyone believing the showdown to be between "Manchester by the Sea" and "La La Land." What makes this particularly interesting (and frustrating at the same time) is that "Moonlight" is in the Adapted Screenplay category for the Oscars, leaving the actual showdown to be between the other two. This means that we still don't have a clear indication as to which film will be winning the Original Screenplay category come Oscar night.
The other somewhat shocking moment came when "The Americans" won Best Drama Series over bigger contenders like "Game of Thrones," "Better Call Saul," and "Stranger Things." After six years, it's been incredibly disappointing to see them ignore "Game of Thrones" again and again (at this point, it's a little questionable as to whether they actually watch the show or not), but with only two more seasons to go, we can only hope that they'll finally get around to giving it the award it's deserved for several years now.
Aside from these wins, most everything went as expected. "Arrival" easily claimed Adapted Screenplay without "Moonlight" in the way, while "Atlanta" cleaned up with wins in both Comedy Series and New Series. "The People vs. O.J. Simpson" even threw another award on top of its large pile with a win in Adapted Long Form Television.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I think we're looking at a situation in which neither of the top screenplay categories will repeat at the Oscars. "Moonlight" is heavily favored to win Adapted (especially after winning the USC Scripter earlier this month), while "Manchester by the Sea" or "La La Land" will more than likely take Original. We'll just have to see when Oscar night finally arrives next week on February 26th.
Until then, please see below for a list of tonight's WGA winners:
Original Screenplay: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight Adapted Screenplay: Eric Heisserer, Arrival Documentary Screenplay: Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, Command and Control Drama Series: The Americans Comedy Series: Atlanta Episodic Drama: Vera Herbert, "The Trip," This is Us Episodic Comedy: Robert Carlock, "Kimmy Goes on a Playdate!," Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt New Series: Atlanta Long Form Original: Confirmation Long Form Adapted: The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Animation: Joe Lawson, "Stop the Presses," BoJack Horseman Comedy/Variety Series (Including Talk): Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Comedy/Variety: Music, Awards, Tributes: Specials: Triumph The Primary Election Special 2016 Comedy/Variety: Sketch Series: Saturday Night Live