'Her' and 'Captain Phillips' take top Writers Guild Awards

Sun Feb 2, 2014 12:22am EST
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The writers of "Her" and "Captain Phillips" were given top honors by their peers on Saturday at the annual Writers Guild Awards, a strong predictor of success in the screenplay categories at the Oscars in a month's time.

Spike Jonze won the best original screenplay award for "Her," a tale set in the near future about a man in a romantic relationship with a lifelike computer operating system.

"It's a high honor coming from writers," Jonze, 44, who also directed the film, said accepting the prize.

"I was thinking about how in a way it's like an award for pain," he added. "It's a specific pain that writers know and it's the highs and lows of sitting in there by yourself."

"Captain Phillips," inspired by the events of a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates, earned writer Billy Ray the prize for best adapted screenplay. The film was based on Richard Phillips' 2010 memoir "A Captain's Duty" about the ordeal.

"I also owe quite a debt to Captain Richard Phillips, who survived something that I know would've killed me," Ray said accepting the award. "It's really Captain Phillips who wrote this story; I just wrote it down."

It is the first Writers Guild Awards for Jonze and Ray.

Winners of the awards handed out by the Writers Guild of America for original screenplay and adapted screenplay have gone on to win the corresponding Oscar awards for eight of the past 10 years.   Continued...

Cast members Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix stand next to writer/director Spike Jonze at the film premiere of "Her" at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood December 12, 2013. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian