February 10, 2008 / 5:55 AM / in 10 years

Screenwriter awards go to "Juno," "No Country"

<p>Writers Ethan (R) and Joel Coen accept the Best Adapted Screenplay award for their work with "No Country For Old Men" during the National Board Of Review of Motion Pictures award gala in New York January 15, 2008. The Writers Guild of America unveiled its film and TV writing awards with "No Country for Old Men," written by the Coens and based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, named best adapted screenplay. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As Hollywood’s screenwriters gathered on Saturday to hear details of a contract to end their three-month-old strike, they also gave their top film writing awards to comedy “Juno” and drama “No Country for Old Men.”

The Writers Guild of America annually honors its members with awards, marking one of the key ceremonies leading to the Oscars on February 24. But this year’s WGA’s dinner was canceled because writers were striking against major film and TV producers.

Guild leaders said on Saturday they had reached a tentative agreement with companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and its members were meeting to hear the terms of the deal.

With an end to the bitter labor dispute in sight, the WGA unveiled its film and TV writing awards with “No Country for Old Men,” written by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen and based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, named best adapted screenplay.

“No Country,” a meditation on moral decay in society, tells of a cold-blooded killer and drug smuggler who is being tracked by a veteran Texas lawman.

As Hollywood counts down to the Oscars, the world’s top film honors given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, “No Country” has racked up awards from the Screen Actors Guild for best film cast and from the Directors Guild of America for the Coen brothers as the years top directors.

Adding the WGA honor for best adapted screenplay further boosts its front-runner status for the best film of the year Oscar where it will compete with dark drama “There will be Blood,” romance “Atonement,” legal thriller “Michael Clayton” and comedy “Juno.”

Teen pregnancy tale “Juno” won the WGA award for best original screenplay for writer Diablo Cody.

Instead of holding its annual dinner in Los Angeles, the west coast branch of the WGA issued only the statement of the winners, whereas the east coast division hosted an informal reception in New York to honor award nominees and winners.

Nonfiction film “Taxi to the Dark Side,” which looks at U.S. torture practices in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, earned the honor for best documentary writing for Alex Gibney.

Elsewhere in TV categories, the writers of HBO’s “The Wire” won for best TV drama, and NBC’s “30 Rock” saw its writing staff win for top TV comedy.

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