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February 07, 2009

'Slumdog,' 'Milk' take top WGA awards

UPDATE: Simon Beaufoy was actually at the New York version of the WGA Awards, which was held simultaneously with the L.A. event (there was no feed of the NY show in L.A.).

At least Simon Beaufoy had an excuse for not being at the WGA West Awards. 

He was on a plane on his way to the BAFTA awards in London, the crowd was told, when he won for his adapted screenplay for "Slumdog Millionaire," the front runner for the best picture prize at the Oscars. (Seems that the British entertainment awards are a higher priority). His competitors were the writers of Oscar nominated best pictures "Frost/Nixon" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Oscar snubee "Doubt" and much bigger snubee, "The Dark Knight."

But, continuing the night's theme of people having something else to do, the presenter of that award, Evan Rachel Wood, didn't make it to Century City either.

The other big winner at tonight's awards did show up. Dustin Lance Black, who is the Gold Rush pick for the Oscar in this same category, won for his original screenplay for "Milk." The gifted newbie beat out Woody Allen ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), Robert Siegel ("The Wrestler"), Tom McCarthy ("The Visitor") and last year's Oscar champs the Coen brothers ("Burn After Reading").


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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