Allen Farrow

Poignancy, sarcasm and surprise filled the Writers Guild 2014 awards in Los Angeles last night and it was inevitable that Woody Allen — nominated for writing his movie Blue Jasmine — would be discussed, since Dylan Farrow’s open letter to the New York Times had just been published. The event was held at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown LA, while a simultaneous ceremony was held in New York.

The Writers Guild always attracts the VIP of executives and last night was no exception.  The films Her and Captain Phillips won top honors for best original and adapted screenplay.  Talented actress/director Sarah Polley won for Stories We Tell, which was snubbed by the Academy for an Oscar Nomination, taking the prize for best documentary screenplay.

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Host Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond, Planes) started the night with a jab at Woody Allen.  A letter from Woody’s adopted estranged daughter with Mia Farrow, Dylan, had just been published, in which she recounted the sexual abuse she allegedly endured from the esteemed writer/director.  Allen was nominated for best original screenplay for Blue Jasmine.  Garrett quipped, “There is a very good chance Woody Allen won’t be here tonight, so those of you guys at the kids table tonight, you have nothing to worry about.  Hey, we even put OshKosh B’gosh in the gift bags to get him here!”

On the TV side, Veep and Breaking Bad won for best comedy series and best drama.  House of Cards won for best new series, 30 Rock for best episodic comedy, and The Colbert Report won for best comedy/variety series.

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The talented scribe Billy Ray‘s Captain Phillips beat out the tough competition, and he graciously said that, “It was Captain Richard Phillips’ story, I just wrote it down.”  The poignancy kicked in when three deserving men got their awards and all three received hearty standing ovations.  The legendary Mel Brooks presented the WGAW’s Laurel Award for Screening Achievement to Oscar-nominated screenwriter/director Paul Mazursky, Henry Winkler (the Fonz!) presented the Guild’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television for writing to Happy Days creator Garry Marshall and actress Jennifer Tilly presented the Guild’s Valentine Davies Award to The Simpsons co-developer and philanthropist Sam Simon for his community service and humanitarian efforts.  Sam has said publicly he is terminally ill with cancer,  so being in the room and feeling the love for all of them was truly affecting.

Lets see what the Oscars say about the winners here.  As writers love to say, it all starts with the written word.

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