Live from The Beverly Hilton Hotel, the 2017 WGA Awards Show is Ensured to be Unpredictable.
By Lisa Minzey
This is one our favorite awards shows. Why you may ask? For any type of storytelling – visual, audio or literary, it all starts with a blank page. It all starts with the writer.
This year where awards shows have become platforms for celebrities turned advocates, speaking their thoughts, beliefs and causes, this award show shows no signs of taming down especially with outspoken host Actor/ Comedian Patton Oswalt.
Kerry Washington (Scandal, Confirmation), who will present the WGAW’s Paul Selvin Award to Oscar and WGA-nominated screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) for the HBO telefilm Confirmation
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Chelsea Handler (Chelsea)
Fred Armisen (Portlandia / Documentary Now!)
Wendi McClendon-Covey (The Goldbergs, Bridesmaids)
Tony Hale (Veep)
Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat)
John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory and Speechless)
Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley)
Michaela Watkins (Transparent, Casual)
Playing House co-creators & co-stars Lennon Parham (Veep, Lady Dynamite) & Jessica St. Clair (Veep, The McCarthys)
Iconic TV comedy writer-producer Norman Lear (One Day at a Time, All in the Family)
David Koechner (The Goldbergs, Superior Donuts)
Bill Burr (Walk Your Way Out, Breaking Bad)
Also receiving honored awards this evening are:
Jeff Goldblum (Independence Day: Resurgence, Jurassic Park) will present the WGAW’s Valentine Davies Award to acclaimed screenwriter-director Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary) for his humanitarian service and charitable efforts around the globe.
James Woods (Salvador, Nixon) will present the WGAW’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement to Academy Award and WGA-winning screenwriter-director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK)
Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) will present the WGAW’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement to Oscar and WGA-winning The Social Network screenwriter and The West Wing / The Newsroom Creator Aaron Sorkin
Shohreh Aghdashloo (Star Trek Beyond, The Expanse) will present the Guild’s Jean Renoir Award for International Screenwriting Achievement to late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, Certified Copy)
Howard Michael Gould (Instant Mom) will present the WGAW’s Morgan Cox Award to Emmy-nominated M*A*S*H writer and past WGAW Board of Directors member Dan Wilcox for his Guild service.
The show opens up with a Fake PSA parody the current president’s past television endeavors, making fun of Jews and “Proudly serving the Communist Party since 1949”.
Patton is really playing up this Russian angle, getting a lukewarm reception.
You can watch the opening monologue here.
James Woods & Oswalt have some entertaining banter back & forth in regards to the two political beliefs of the country. Good stuff.
First Award of the night presented by William H. Macy:
Best Episodic Drama – “The Trip” (This Is Us), Written by Vera Herbert; NBC
Next presenter up Michaela Watkins has some awkward sexual banter intro for a children’s category… a little too weird tbh.
Best Children’s Episodic & Special – “Mel vs. The Night Mare of Normal Street” (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street), Written by Laurie Parres; Amazon Studios
Best Children’s Long Form or Special – Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas, Written by Geri Cole & Ken Scarborough; HBO
Next presenter up is John Ross Bowie to present the awards for Daytime Drama.
Best Daytime Drama – General Hospital, Writers: Shelly Altman, Anna Theresa Cascio, Andrea Archer Compton, Suzanne Flynn, Janet Iacobuzio, Elizabeth Korte, Daniel James O’Connor, Jean Passanante, Dave Rupel, Katherine Schock, Scott Sickles, Chris Van Etten, Christopher Whitesell; ABC
Best On-Air Promo for TV, Radio or New Media– “CBS On-Air Reel,” Written by Brian Retchless; CBS On-Air Promotion
Now time for worst career advice from various WGA members…
The Stranger Things writing duo The Duffer Brothers – Notes from the studio – “Get rid of the kids”
Now Jeff Goldblum is on stage to present Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary) for his humanitarian service and charitable efforts around the globe.
Patton is back to introduce award contender “Manchester By The Sea”, “Fences”, “Arrival” & “Dirty Grandpa”. Wait, what?
That was a joke slipped in by Oswalt, threatening the room to screen “Dirty Grandpa”. Thanks, we will pass.
Now up is Bob Odenkirk to present award for Best Episodic Comedy:
Best Episodic Comedy – “Kimmy Goes on a Playdate!” (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Written by Robert Carlock; Netflix
Randall Park up to present award for Best Comedy Variety Special
Best Comedy / Variety – Music, Awards, Tributes – Specials – Triumph’s Election Special, Written by Andy Breckman, Josh Comers, David Feldman, R J Fried, Jarrett Grode, Ben Joseph, Matthew Kirsch, Michael Koman, Mike Lawrence, Brian Reich, Craig Rowin, Robert Smigel, Zach Smilovitz, Andrew Weinberg; Hulu
Jeff Daniels now on stage to present Aaron Sorkin with WGAW’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement
Great package shown on Sorkin’s body of work, truly a “Writer’s Writer.
Telling about his writing dream – paying his bills, becoming a member of WGA but not a recipient of this award. His dreams have been exceeded and now launched into a long monologue on “Real Americans”.
A special appearance by a fake POTUS to rant & rave (Comedian Anthony Atamanuik) about the writers in the room or riders? Commentary included rants about the Beverly Hilton, Jews, Billy Bush, “The Apprentice”, building a “firewall” around Final Draft, the writers of Blackish, “The Jeffersons”, the mess he inherited and other unmentionable R-Rated items, throwing in a Russian joke to close the bit.
Now on a lighter note, the ladies of Playing House, Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham are on stage to present the awards for video games:
Best Video Game Writing – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Written by Neil Druckmann, Josh Scherr; Additional Writing Tom Bissell, Ryan James; Naughty Dog
Best Quiz & Audience Participation – Hollywood Game Night, Head Writer: Grant Taylor; Writers: Michael Agbabian, Alex Chauvin, Ann Slichter, Dwight D. Smith; NBC
Kerry Washington now up to present the WGAW’s Paul Selvin Award to Oscar and WGA-nominated screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) for the HBO telefilm Confirmation.
Kumail Nanjiani is now on stage fanboy-ing over Richard Curtis and killing it on stage.
Best Adapted Screenplay Award – Arrival, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer; Based on the Story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang; Paramount Pictures
Noman Lear is on stage, recieving a standing ovation from the audience, where he drops an f-bomb on stage. Brilliant.
Best Comedy TV Series – Atlanta, Written by Donald Glover, Stephen Glover, Stefani Robinson, Paul Simms; FX
The WGA President delivered a powerful speech which we are hoping for a transcript to post at a later time.
David Koechner in his introduction, drops hints for the audience for a future job. erhaps “Moonlight 2”?
Best Short Form New Media, Original – “The Party” (The Commute), Written by Linsey Stewart & Dane Clark; youtube.comBest Short Form New Media, Adapted – “Passage” Part 4 (Fear the Walking Dead), Written by Lauren Signorino & Mike Zunic; amc.com
Going into the long stretch of the show, Tony Hale is up to present the award for animation.
Best Animation – “Stop the Presses” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Joe Lawson; Netflix
Giving Oswalt the middle finger for his lovely introduction, Chelsea Handler is happy just to be out of her house.
Best New Series – Atlanta, Written by Donald Glover, Stephen Glover, Stefani Robinson, Paul Simms; FX
Not sure why he’s reciting his Visa cc number but Fred Armisen is up to present the award for:
Best Long Form – Original – Confirmation, Written by Susannah Grant; HBO
Best Long Form – Adapted – American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, Written by Scott Alexander, Joe Robert Cole, D.V. DeVincentis, Maya Forbes, Larry Karaszewski, Wally Wolodarsky, Based on the book The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin; FX
Now on deck is the fantastic James Woods to present the WGAW’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement to Academy Award and WGA-winning screenwriter-director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK). Addressing the elephant in the room on his political standing, Wood jokes that hes been transformed from this night, because if he hadn’t voted for our POTUS, the show could have ended 15 minutes ago and could be home watching “The Walking Dead”.
Recounting Stone’s impressive career, he shares a story about one night he shared with Stone and Billy Wilder, how the mention of the film “Nixon” was Stone’s next project.
The package show was brilliant, capturing Stone’s talent and philosophy in film.
Comedian Bill Burr speaks what is on everyone’s minds, I thought this show was supposed to be over by 7pm?
Best Documentary – Command and Control, Telescript by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, Story by Brian Pearle and Kim Roberts; Based on the book Command and Control by Eric Schlosser; American Experience Films
Best Drama Series – The Americans, Written by Peter Ackerman, Tanya Barfield, Joshua Brand, Joel Fields, Stephen Schiff, Joe Weisberg, Tracey Scott Wilson; FX
Shohreh Aghdashloo is up to present the Guild’s Jean Renoir Award for International Screenwriting Achievement to late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, Certified Copy). His son accepted on his behalf.
Ken Jeong is out to present the award for:
Best Comedy/ Variety Talk Series – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Writers: Kevin Avery, Tim Carvell, Josh Gondelman, Dan Gurewitch, Geoff Haggerty, Jeff Maurer, John Oliver, Scott Sherman, Will Tracy, Jill Twiss, Juli Weiner; HBO
Best Comedy/ Variety Sketch Series – Saturday Night Live, Head Writers: Rob Klein, Bryan Tucker Writers: James Anderson, Fred Armisen, Jeremy Beiler, Chris Belair, Megan Callahan, Michael Che, Mikey Day, Jim Downey, Tina Fey, Fran Gillespie, Sudi Green, Tim Herlihy, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Zach Kanin, Chris Kelly, Erik Kenward, Paul Masella, Dave McCary, Dennis McNicholas, Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, Josh Patten, Paula Pell, Katie Rich, Tim Robinson, Sarah Schneider, Pete Schultz, Streeter Seidell, Dave Sirus, Emily Spivey, Andrew Steele, Will Stephen, Kent Sublette; NBC
Best Original Screenplay – Moonlight, Written by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell McCraney; A24
The 2017 Writers Guild Awards were held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.