LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Iraqi war film “The Hurt Locker” and corporate downsizing drama “Up In the Air” won honors from screenwriters on Saturday in the final, major Hollywood awards show leading up to the Oscars.
“Hurt Locker” writer Mark Boal won best original screenplay from the Writers Guild of America and “Up In the Air” claimed the prize for best adapted screenplay for co-writers Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman.
Reitman, who also directed “Up in the Air,” thanked several people including his father, producer Ivan Reitman, who he said read his first screenplay and said, “you know, you really got the goods.”
Boal similarly took to the stage and talked about being honored to be a screenwriter and acknowledged the troops in Iraq with whom he had been embedded as a journalist before he wrote his screenplay about a group of men who defuse bombs.
They were the ones, Boal said, who showed him, “the tragedy and chaos and hellishness they face day in and day out.”
The Writers Guild represents film and television writers in the United States, and their awards are often seen as a key indicator on who will go on to win Oscars, the world’s top film honors, because many Writers Guild members also belong to Oscar organizer, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
So far this Oscar season, “Hurt Locker” has been honored by guilds of film producers and directors and is considered a favorite for the best film Academy Award along with key rival, box office hit “Avatar,” urban drama “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” and “Up In the Air.”
Elsewhere in film categories, the Writers Guild gave its best documentary screenwriting award to “The Cove,” which details the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, and a lifetime achievement honor for film to writer/director Barry Levinson.
The Writers Guild also gives out honors for television and key awards in that area went to the writers of Madison Avenue advertising show “Mad Men” for best drama series and “30 Rock” for best comedy series.
Sitcom “Modern Family” took home two trophies for best new series and best comedy episode, and hospital program “House” won the award for best drama episode.
Writer Larry David (“Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) was given a lifetime achievement trophy for TV writing.
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Jackie Frank