Guardians joins WGA screenplay shortlist

Guardians of the Galaxy has received a surprise nomination in the adapted screenplay shortlist, as selected by the Writers Guild of America (WGA).The Disney space adventure is joined by The Imitation Game, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, Gone Girl and Wild.Guardians, based on a Marvel comic, topped the US box office in 2014, with ticket sales of $332.8m (£203.9m).The guild nominated 14 screenplays across three categories: Adapted, original and documentary.Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash vie in the original screenplay category.Finding Vivian Maier, The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, Last Days of Vietnam and Red Army are nominated in the documentary category.WGA winners have a reliable track record for predicting the Oscar screenplay winners.However, this year there exists some disparity as Whiplash, the Sundance winner about a jazz drummer, is nominated as an original screenplay in the WGA shortlist but is considered a contender in the adapted category for the Oscar nominations.Damien Chazelle’s tale was inspired by his own life. However, it first appeared as short film at the 2012 Sundance film festival in order to drum up finance. Academy rules considers a “short” to qualify under their guidelines of “screenplays based on previously produced or published material”. Sony Pictures submitted it as an original screenplay to both bodies, but did not learn until earlier this week that the Academy had marked it for consideration in the adapted category.Musical adaptation Into the Woods and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken did not make the WGA nominations.Other notable absences included Stephen Hawking drama The Theory of Everything, Hollywood satire Birdman and Martin Luther King drama Selma.  They did not qualify under the guild’s stringent rules – which require that scripts be written by a WGA member and produced under WGA jurisdiction. Last year, 12 Years a Slave was also ineligible according to WGA rules – but the script, by Britain’s John Ridley, went on to win the Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Spike Jonze’s Her won best original screenplay at both the guild awards and the Oscars. The winners will be announced on 14 February, one week ahead of the Oscars, in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. They are voted for by 12,000 WGA members.