The Writers Guild of America has remained tough on qualifying scripts for its screenplay awards, excluding more than a dozen high-profile scripts, including John Ridley's screenplay for "12 Years a Slave."
The guild's restrictions -- far more rigorous than other guilds -- require that scripts be produced under WGA jurisdiction or under a collective bargaining agreement in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.K. The WGA had no immediate comment on the exclusions, but the restrictions on eligibility are a longstanding practice at the guild.
Peter Morgan's screenplay for "Rush"; Ryan Coogler's script for "Frutivale Station"; "Philomena," written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," penned by William Nicholson.
Voting to determine the WGA's nominees launched Tuesday on 95 eligible screenplays -- 41 in the adapted category and 54 in the original category. The guild's restrictions also require that the scripts be formally submitted for consideration.
Leaders of the WGA, which has been the ultimate arbiter of screenplay credits since 1941, have said in past years that they don't intend to loosen the qualifying rules. Unlike the other guilds, the WGA is the final arbiter on screenplay credits.
WGA East president Michael Winship told Variety earlier this year that there's no plan to change the WGA policy. "We feel very strongly that the awards should honor members and signatory producers," Winship noted.
Other exclusions include Edgar Wright's "The World's End," Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix's "Blue Is the Warmest Color," Asghar Farhadi's "The Past," Sebastian Lelio and Gonzalo Maza's "Gloria," Richard Curtis' "About Time," David Lowery's "Ain't Them Bodies Saints," Destin Cretton's "Short Term 12" and Lake Bell's "In a World."
Ridley's "12 Years" script received a screenplay nomination last week for the Independent Spirit Awards and Bell's script for "In a World" took a best first screenplay nod.
Notable original screenplay candidates that are on the WGA ballot include Bob Nelson's script for "Nebraska," Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron for "Gravity," Nicole Holofcener for "Enough Said," Woody Allen for "Blue Jasmine," David O. Russell and Eric Singer for "American Hustle," Spike Jonze for "Her" and Joel and Ethan Coen for "Inside Llewyn Davis."
High-profile adapted screenplay contenders on the WGA ballot include Terence Winter for "The Wolf of Wall Street," Billy Ray for "Captain Phillips," Tracy Letts for "August: Osage County," Jason Reitman for "Labor Day," Peter Berg for "Lone Survivor" and Steve Conrad for "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."
Christopher Nolan brought up the exclusion issue at the WGA Awards show in February, 2011. In his acceptance speech for winning the original screenplay trophy for "Inception," he asserted that he had been "crushed" when he found out that his "Memento" script -- which was Oscar-nominated -- was ineligible for the WGA Awards a decade earlier.
"Nothing is more important than recognition by my peers," he added. "I hope next year the person who stands up here can give thanks without qualification."
"Inception" was nominated for a screenplay Oscar but lost out to "The King's Speech," which wasn't eligible for a WGA award.
Chris Terrio's script for "Argo" and Mark Boal's for "Zero Dark Thirty" won the WGA screenplay awards in February. Terrio also won the Oscar in the adapted category but Boal lost out in the original contest to Quentin Tarantino's script for "Django Unchained," which had been ineligble for WGA voting.
Scripts for "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Amour" were also excluded from WGA voting, then went on the secure Oscar nods.
The WGA is set to announce its screenplay nominees Jan. 3, and its awards show will be held Feb. 1 in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.
The Hitfix.com site first reported the exclusions.