The Howard Hughes film biography The Aviator, the boxing drama Million Dollar Baby, and the road-trip romp Sideways were among Writers Guild of America screenplay nominees Thursday. Along with out screenwriter John Logan for The Aviator, original-screenplay nominees were Charlie Kaufman for the quirky love story Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Zach Braff for the romance Garden State; Keir Pearson and Terry George for Hotel Rwanda, based on a true story amid the 1994 Rwandan genocide; and Bill Condon for Kinsey, a film biography of sexuality researcher Alfred Kinsey.
Adapted screenplay nominees were Paul Haggis for Million Dollar Baby, based on stories from F.X. Toole's collection Rope Burns; Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for Sideways, based on Rex Pickett's novel; Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke for the romantic drama Before Sunset, based on characters Linklater and Kim Krizan created for their film Before Sunrise; Tina Fey for Mean Girls, based on Rosalind Wiseman's book Queen Bees and Wannabes; and Jose Rivera for the Che Guevara road-trip adventure The Motorcycle Diaries, based on memoirs by Guevara and traveling companion Alberto Granado.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony February 19, about a week before the Academy Awards. The guild honors could give the winners a last-minute boost for the Oscars, whose balloting closes February 22. Finding Neverland, a high-profile film in the running for Academy Award nominations, was ineligible because the film was not produced under conditions of the guild's current labor contract. Another likely Oscar contender--Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, his assault on President Bush's actions regarding the September 11 attacks--will compete in a separate documentary category created because of a surge in popularity for nonfiction films. The documentary prize will be awarded in a separate guild ceremony sometime in February. (Moore's documentary Bowling for Columbine won the guild's 2002 original-screenplay honor.) (AP)