Stephen Colbert has another award to laud over Jon Stewart’s head-the Writers Guild Award for his comedy/variety series “The Colbert Report.” The Writers Guild Awards were announced on Feb. 5, and other winners included films “Inception” and “The Social Network,” along with TV shows “Mad Men,” “Modern Family” and “Boardwalk Empire.”
Though Jon Stewart won the award for comedy/variety series in 2010, Colbert also won it in 2008, which has continued a friendly competition between the former collaborators.
Winning for new series, HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” joined “Mad Men” in bringing to life historical Americana, this time 1930s Atlantic City. The show, created by Emmy Award-winner Terence Writer, of “Sopranos” fame, and Academy-Award winning director Martin Scorsese, stars Steve Buscemi as the city’s treasurer and unofficial ruler.
“Mad Men” also won an award for episodic drama, while an episodic comedy award went to “30 Rock.” Other winners included “As the World Turns” for best daytime drama and the PBS documentaries “Wyatt Earp” and “Flying Cheap.”
“The Social Network,” which was also a Golden Globe winner, and “Inception” are both Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, with the former seen as a favorite in the field of 10 nominees. Roger Ebert calls the two films a battle of the “nerds,” against the King of England (“The King’s Speech”) and Rooster Cogburn (“True Grit”).
Ebert said that “True Grit” “may pass the presumed leader ‘The Social Network,'” but if the past linkage between Writers Guild winners and those who took home the Oscar are any indication, “Grit” may be found lacking.
The Writers Guild Awards have often predicted the Oscar winners, and this year may be no exception, with “Inception’s” director Chris Nolan having a fine chance to win, especially after losing for “The Dark Knight” in 2009. Bob Verini of Variety noted about the chance of a win for “Inception” — “Christopher Nolan’s brand of sophisticated action filmmaking is generally thought overdue for recognition.”
Nolan, who won the Writers Guild award for best original screenplay, said in a Los Angeles Times article by Nicole Sperling that he appreciated the “‘recognition from his peers,'” whom he wasn’t going to name “‘for fear that it boosts their chances at the other show,.'”
The chances for Aaron Sorkin, whose award for “The Social Network” was in the best adapted screenplay category (from the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich), appear to be good, particularly since, according to Ben Child in The Guardian, “the winners of the Writers Guild awards often go on to take the Academy Awards for best original and adapted screenplay.”
Variety’s Verini said that with “The Social Network” “a vote here is an affirmation of the Academy’s hipness.” However, the film has been a favorite for months, and says Verini,” Early anointing can always prompt a backlash.”
Roger Ebert, “Oscars: The king vs. the nerds vs. the Rooster,” Rogerebert.com.
Bob Verini, “What it takes to be an Oscar pick,” Variety.
Nicole Sperling, “‘Inception,’ ‘Social Network’ writing honored,” Los Angeles Times.
Ben Child, “US writers and producers guilds laud Oscar hopeful The Social Network,” Guardian.