Major Awards For “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” & “Eighth Grade”

Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Eighth Grade were the winning films at this year’s Writers Guild of America Awards, taking home Best Adapted Screenplay (for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty) and best Original Screenplay (for Bo Burnham), respectively.

Eighth Grade

With everyone trying to predict the 2019 Academy Award winners – mostly using pre-Oscar events to get an idea of the favourites – the Writers Guild of America threw a spanner in the works by celebrating the screenplays of previously little-fancied Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Eighth Grade.

Coming-of-age comedy-drama Eighth Grade, written and directed by Bo Burnham, won best original screenplay. The film follows the life and struggles of eighth-grader, Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher), during her last week of classes before graduating to high school. She struggles with social anxiety but produces vlogs giving life advice.

Black comedy Can You Ever Forgive Me?, telling the story of literary forger Lee Israel, won best adapted screenplay. Both films were previously well behind in the running for the best writing categories with Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman and Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk leading the race.

Other Awards from the Writers Guild of America in 2019:


Documentary screenplay Bathtubs Over Broadway (Ozzy Inguanzo and Dava Whisenant)


Comedy series The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Drama series The Americans
New series Barry
Episodic drama Paean to the People (Homeland)
Episodic comedy Chapter One: Make Your Mark (Barry)
Long form adapted The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Long form original Castle Rock
Comedy/variety talk series Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Comedy/variety sketch series Nathan for You
Comedy/variety specials The Fake News With Ted Nelms
Animation Bart’s Not Dead (The Simpsons)
Daytime drama General Hospital
Quiz and audience participation Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
Children’s episodic and specials The Ersatz Elevator: Part One (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Documentary script – current events Trump’s Takeover (Frontline)
Documentary script – other than current events The Eugenics Crusade (American Experience)
News script – regularly scheduled, bulletin, or breaking report Catastrophe (60 Minutes)
News script – analysis, feature, or commentary Wounds of War (60 Minutes)


Videogame writing God of War
Short form new media original Class of Lies
Short form new media adapted The Walking Dead: Red Machete
Digital news Inside the Culture of Sexism at Riot Games
Radio/audio news script – regularly scheduled, bulletin, or breaking reportRemembering the Good, the Bad and the Brilliant
Radio/audio news script – analysis, feature, or commentary John McCain: a Life of Service
Radio/audio documentary RFK: 50 Years After Shots Rang Out at the Ambassador Hotel
On-air promotion (Radio or Television) Tribute to Star Trek for the 2019 Creative Arts Emmys

Amilia Totten
About the Author
Amilia Totten is a freelance writer, photographer and erstwhile time-waster. Her eclectic film favourites include the latest Hollywood blockbuster to European avant-garde and the joys of Bollywood.

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