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Jordan Peele, James Ivory win top prizes at Writers Guild of America Awards

Makeda Easter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Peele took home the top prize Sunday evening at the Writers Guild Awards for his racially conscious film "Get Out." He is the second consecutive black writer to win the prize for original screenplay.

The win marks Peele's latest award in a string of prizes, further cementing his place as a strong contender for next month's Academy Awards.

Peele, who said he began writing "Get Out" in 2008, dedicated part of his acceptance speech to other writers.

"This was a passion project. It was something that I put my love into, I put my soul into, so getting this from you means so much," Peele said of the film, a horror-satire exploring an interracial relationship gone wrong. "Keep taking chances, take big risks, put your love into it. It does pay off."

The writer and first-time director beat out other strong contenders "The Shape of Water," "The Big Sick," "Lady Bird" and "I, Tonya." (All but "Tonya" are also up for an Academy Award in the same category, where they are joined by "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," which was not eligible for WGA honors.)

James Ivory, at 89 years old, picked up the adapted screenplay award for "Call Me by Your Name." The venerable filmmaker has not yet won an Oscar despite three prior nominations in the directing category. He and documentary director Agnes Varda, also 89, are the oldest Oscar nominees on record.

 

Ivory had picked up the USC Libraries Scripter Award the previous evening, a prize for adapted material that honors both the screenwriter and the original source material -- in this case, the 2007 novel by Andre Aciman.

Last year's WGA Award-winning screenplays -- "Moonlight" and "Arrival" -- wound up competing against each other at the Oscars when "Moonlight" was placed in the adapted category, after qualifying as original for WGA. The film's writer-director Barry Jenkins went on to win the Academy Award, while "Manchester by the Sea" won the Oscar for original screenplay.

In light of the current moment of reckoning for Hollywood men accused of sexual assault, it was unsurprising that the topic of female representation was front and center at the ceremony.

Although the top film prizes went to films with male leads, Brett Morgen won the WGA's documentary screenplay prize for his film "Jane," about the chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall.

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