2014 Writers Guild Award Nonfiction Nominees Include ‘Dirty Wars’ and ‘Stories We Tell’


Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks appears to be a hot documentary with Hollywood guilds this year. Following its nomination for a PGA Award, the film has now also been named among the contenders for the Writers Guild Award for Documentary Screenplay. Gibney’s challengers include two dark horses that we haven’t heard much talk of so far this season: Michael Stevens’s Herblock: The Black & White (#80 on the Nonfics Critics Poll and #10 on J.S. Lewis’s personal list) and Janet Tobias’s No Place on Earth (tied for #44 on the poll and #4 on Serena Donadoni’s list). The other two nominees are the more popular Stories We Tell and Dirty Wars, which respectively placed first and tenth on my own top ten list.

Of these five nominees, only those last two are on the Oscar shortlist. I also predicted both would be among the final nominees. Historically, WGA Award winners are even more likely to be at least an Oscar nominee than those honored by the Producers Guild. The WGA’s doc category was created for the 2005 awards, and since then only two of its winners have not been nominated for the documentary feature Oscar — though one of these, Waltz With Bashir, was recognized by the Academy as a foreign language nominee. Four WGA winners — Taxi to the Dark Side, The Cove, Inside Job and Searching for Sugar Man — went on to win the Oscar. I would very much love to see Stories We Tell be the fifth.

In the WGA’s TV documentary categories, nominees include the Frontline episodes Cliffhanger, Egypt in Crisis and The Choice 2012, as well as American Experience episodes The Abolitionists and Silicon Valley. Another PBS series, Ken Burns’s excellent The Dust Bowl, is also up for an award — but just its first episode.

See the whole list of nonfiction and news nominees below. And see the rest, including true story dramas Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, Lone Survivor and The Wolf of Wall Street, on the WGA website.

Dirty Wars, Written by Jeremy Scahill & David Riker; Sundance Selects
Herblock — The Black & The White, Written by Sara Lukinson & Michael Stevens; The Stevens Company
No Place on Earth, Written by Janet Tobias & Paul Laikin; Magnolia Pictures
Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, Written by Alex Gibney; Focus Features

“Cliffhanger” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS
“Egypt in Crisis” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria & Martin Smith; PBS

“The Abolitionists” (American Experience), Written by Rob Rapley; PBS
“The Choice 2012” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk; PBS
“Episode 1” (The Dust Bowl), Written by Dayton Duncan; PBS
“Silicon Valley” (American Experience), Telescript by Randall MacLowry and Michelle Ferrari; Story by Randall MacLowry; PBS

“The Election of Pope Francis” (CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley), Written by Jerry Cipriano, Joe Clines and Scott Pelley; CBS
“The Fall of Lance Armstrong” (60 Minutes), Written by Michael Radutzky, Michael Rey, Oriana Zill de Granados; CBS
“The Inauguration of the President” (CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley), Written by Jerry Cipriano and Joe Clines; CBS
“Tragedy at Newtown” Special Edition (ABC World News with Diane Sawyer), Written by Lisa Ferri and Matt Negrin; ABC

“Lethal Medicine” (60 Minutes), Written by Michael Rey, Oriana Zill de Granados, Michael Radutzky; CBS
“Throwback Thursday — Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson” (ABC World News Now), Written by Matt Nelko; ABC
“Vinyl Revival’ (CBS News), Written by Polly Leider; CBS

“2012 Year in Review,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News

“Afternoon Drive,” Written by Bill Spadaro; CBS Radio/1010 WINS
“George McGovern: A Look Back,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News

“Remembering C. Everett Koop,” Written by Scott Saloway; CBS Radio News
“Remembrances,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News
“Tributes,” Written by Thomas A. Sabella; CBS Radio News

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.