LOS ANGELES >> Woody Allen’s romantic fantasy “Midnight in Paris” and Alexander Payne’s family drama “The Descendants” have won top screenplay honors from the Writers Guild of America.
With his biggest hit in decades, writer-director Allen earned the guild’s prize Sunday for original screenplay on “Midnight in Paris.” The film stars Owen Wilson as a modern Hollywood writer who gets a chance to hang with his literary idols in the 1920s Paris of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
Director Payne shared the adapted screenplay honor with co-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, “The Descendants” stars George Clooney as a Hawaiian dad struggling to tend to his two daughters after a boating accident puts his wife in a coma.
The wins boost the prospects for both films to earn the same prizes at next Sunday’s Academy Awards, where both movies also are in the running for best picture.
But not all key Academy Awards contenders were eligible for the Writers Guild honors, including Oscar best-picture front-runner “The Artist.” The black-and-white silent film is competing against “Midnight in Paris” for original screenplay, but “The Artist” was ineligible at the Writers Guild awards because it was not made under the union’s contract guidelines.
The guild’s prize for big-screen documentary writing went to Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega for “Better This World.”
Among the guild’s TV winners:
— Drama series: “Breaking Bad,” Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz and Moira Walley-Beckett.
— Comedy series: “Modern Family,” Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Carol Leifer, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Brad Walsh, Ilana Wernick, Bill Wrubel and Danny Zuker.
— New series: “Homeland,” Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Gideon Raff and Meredith Stiehm.