The sci-fi smash “Everything Everywhere All at Once” won the original-screenplay trophy at the Writers Guild Awards on Sunday night, completing a thorough sweep of the top prizes from Hollywood’s major guilds. Only four other films have also triumphed with the Directors Guild, Producers Guild, Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild: “Argo,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “American Beauty.” All went on to win the best picture Oscar.
“Writing is confusing and hard, and we felt so lost so often,” said Daniel Scheinert, who co-wrote and co-directed the twisty “Everything Everywhere” with Daniel Kwan. Scheinert praised everyone who had read an early draft of the screenplay, then added, “Thank you to our therapists.”
Meanwhile, “Women Talking” prevailed in the adapted-screenplay race, topping competition that included “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”
The “Woman Talking” writer-director, Sarah Polley, praised her representatives for standing by her as she segued from an acting career that included films like “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Dawn of the Dead.” Polley said with a laugh, “They signed me thinking I was going to be a really big movie star. Whoops!”
What she really wanted to do was write, Polley explained, and her adaptation of the Miriam Toews novel about assaults in a Mennonite community has now brought her a second WGA honor (her first, for a documentary screenplay, came in 2014 for “Stories We Tell,” which she also directed.)
“To be taken seriously in this way, in this room of so many amazing writers, I really can’t tell you what that means to me,” she said.
The path to a best picture Oscar typically requires a screenplay win along the way, so the WGA victory for “Everything Everywhere” should only further strengthen the film’s front-runner status. Still, it wasn’t exactly a fair fight: Though the original-screenplay category on Oscar night is expected to be a two-way race between “Everything Everywhere” and Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin,” the latter was ineligible for the WGA prize because, like many international films, it was not written under a bargaining agreement with the WGA or its sister guilds.
That stipulation also kept surging BAFTA winner “All Quiet on the Western Front” out of the WGA race for adapted screenplay, clearing a safe path to victory for “Women Talking.” So while “Everything Everywhere” and “Women Talking” are coming out of the WGA ceremony with momentum, the real battle is still to come at the Oscars, and surprises may be in store.
Here are the major WGA winners. For a complete list, go to wga.org.
Original screenplay: “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Adapted screenplay: “Women Talking,” Sarah Polley
Documentary screenplay: “Moonage Daydream,” Brett Morgen
Drama series: “Severance”
Comedy series: “The Bear”
Limited series: “The White Lotus”
New series: “Severance”