WGGB protest to Guardian over film awards

WGGB President Olivia Hetreed has written an open letter to The Guardian calling on it to recognise the work of writers in their new film awards. The letter, also signed by Andrea Gibb amd Line Langebek (Co-Chairs of the WGGB Film Committee), comes after WGGB member Lisa Holdsworth identified the omission earlier this week.

The letter is reproduced below:

The Writers’ Guild was delighted to read that The Guardian had decided to launch its own film awards, particularly as they seem to be offered in a spirit of fun and celebration, aimed at engaging readers with film. However, we are dismayed at the decision to leave out the names of the screenwriters who actually wrote the material in the Best Scene and Best Line Of Dialogue categories. It seems perverse to recognise and applaud screenwriting yet ignore writers.

We’ve been in touch with one of your reviewers, who explained that the writers’ names ‘just didn’t seem like crucial information at the longlist or blog stage.’ The reviewer also pointed out that The Guardian has not credited the nominated marketing teams either. This seems a somewhat bizarre justification: does she really mean to equate the marketing campaign and the film script?

We appreciate that this is an attempt to engage your readers but fail to understand how adding the names of the writers would prevent this process. Guardian readers seem highly knowledgeable about film and deserve better information than being given an actor’s name alongside a line of dialogue. Film is a supremely collaborative medium and while it may not suit the word count of film reviewers to acknowledge this, there seems no reason for The Guardian Awards to compound their error.

It is hardly difficult to find the names of the shortlisted writers. They are as follows:

BEST SCENE: Peter Baynam, Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Armando Ianucci; Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron; Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarello; John Ridley; Woody Allen; Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke; Carlos Reygadas; Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix; Terence Winter.

BEST LINE OF DIALOGUE: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; Bob Nelson; Eric Warren Singer, David O.Russell; John Ridley; Woody Allen; Bob Nelson; Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan; Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarello; Christopher Ford; Spike Jonze.

The most disheartening thing about this omission and your reviewer’s response to our query is that it is part of a much larger problem, whereby the media consistently and carelessly attribute the work of writers to directors and actors, thereby misinforming their audience. What a shame that The Guardian’s attempt to do something “new and innovative” should fall prey to such old fashioned, lazy or ignorant thinking.

Yours faithfully,

Olivia Hetreed
President, WGGB

Andrea Gibb & Line Langebek
Co-Chairs, WGGB Film Committee