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All the Buzz on Film Festival Awards, Celebrity Tributes and the Film Awards Season.

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Monday, February 12----The indie hit road comedy LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and the crime thriller THE DEPARTED were the big winners at the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards, setting up a showdown between the two movies at the Oscars in two weeks.

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, about a dysfunctional family that takes their young daughter across country to compete in a beauty pageant, won best original screenplay honors for Michael Arndt. In a moving acceptance speech, Arndt said he wrote LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE when he had no job and no screenwriting credits to his name. He thanksed the producers Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa and Marc Turtletaub for taking a chance on him, and for keeping the script away from Hollywood's mainstream studios, where it might have been changed or mangled. "They spent five years trying to protect this script from studio notes," Arndt said.



Screenwriter William Monahan won the award for best adapted screenplay for his forceful tale of corruption on the Boston police force. The film, directed by Martin Scorsese, is an adaptation of the Hong Kong policier INFERNAL AFFAIRS. Both films have figured in major award wins and have both been nominated for the Best Film Oscar. Among its many honors, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE was named Best Film of the Year by the Producers Guild of America and was given the best ensemble cast award by the Screen Actors Guild. THE DEPARTED's director, Martin Scorsese earned Best Director honors at the recent Directors Guild of America Awards, and seems to be the odds on favorite to win on Oscar night.


In other awards, The Writers Guild gave the award for Best Documentary Screenplay to Amy Berg for the film DELIVER US FROM EVIL, which explores a Catholic priest's sexual abuse of children and efforts by church officials to shield the priest. The film is also nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar, which it just may win from current frontrunner AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH.

Sandy Mandelberger, Awards Watch Editor

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All the Buzz on Film Festival Awards, Celebrity Tributes and the Film Awards Season.

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