Sunday, February 05, 2006

WGA Awards - A Celebrity Show

Writers Awarded, Yet Loathed by Angela Taylor

I was very excited to be invited to attend the Writers Guild Awards as a member of the media. I thought I’d mingle with the minds behind "The Simpsons" and "Arrested Development" and "A History of Violence." However, this is an awards show and that means, for the most part, celebrities in designer clothes.

There were appearances by Paul Haggis and Stephen Cannell on the red carpet, but they hardly received the attention that Amy Smart, Geena Davis and Steve Carrell got. (Okay, Steve Carrell was a nominee for "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," but I don’t think that increased his cachet with the paparazzi.)

In fact, many nominees skipped the red carpet gauntlet, and just went in the front door like normal, un-famous people. Were this the Golden Globes, or the People’s Choice, or Academy Awards, that wouldn’t surprise me, but this is the Writers Guild Awards.

Writers — despite movie audiences' continuing assertion that it is stories, not actors, that drive them to theaters — have long been treated, by producers and studios, as the ugly, red-headed stepchildren of Hollywood. They are kept away from the public eye. Somebody must write those movies and tv shows, but who?

Five seconds after a script gets a greenlight, everybody pretends it sprang full-formed from the head of Zeus — or the Head of Development.

It seems this loathing bleeds over, into the Writers Guild Awards itself. This night — one night out of dozens during the self-aggrandizing congratulo-rama that is awards season — is supposed to be about writers. Isn't it?

It’s nice that Geena Davis and Seth Green and Jenna Elfman show their support and appreciation of the people who provide them work, and who give them something to say, but should the show really be about them?

Shouldn’t this be the one night when some otherwise-anonymous balding writer guy, who doesn’t know who designed his tuxedo, gets to walk the red carpet? Don’t writers deserve to be the stars of their own show?

While the WGA muses about televising the awards in the next year or so, it was not broadcast this year. So, why try to please mainstream America celebrity-worshippers, if nobody's going to see them anyway? Why not let writers like Charlie Kaufman, William Goldman and Nora Ephron present awards?

Is someone afraid they won’t be able to read cue cards?

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