Bowling For Columbine continued to blaze a trail through the industry today (Feb 6)when it became the first documentary to receive an original screenplaynomination by the Writers Guild of America (WGA). The picture, which exploresUS attitudes toward gun ownership in the wake of the Columbine High Schoolkillings in 1999, has won more than 15 awards and is poised to pass $18m at theUS box office and $30m worldwide. The other nominees were: Antwone Fisher for AntwoneFisher; Todd Haynes for FarFrom Heaven; Jay Cocksand Steven Zaillian and Kenneth Lonergan for Gangs of New York; and Nia Vardalos for My Big FatGreek Wedding.
Nominees for the adapted screenplay category were: Peter Hedges,Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz for About A Boy based on the novel by Nick Hornby; Alexander Payne and JimTaylor for About Schmidt based on the novel by Louis Begley; Charlie Kaufman and DonaldKaufman for Adaptationbased on The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean; Chicago by Bill Condon based on the musical play by Bob Fosse andFred Ebb and the book by Maurine Dallas Watkins; and The Hours by David Hare, based on the novel byMichael Cunningham.
Speaking to Screendaily, Michael Moore said he was hopeful that the news wouldencourage greater popular acceptance of documentaries and promote more variedand challenging cinema. "It's an acknowledgment by the WGA that the documentaryis a form of writing. If the art form of cinema is to be saved we have to trythinking outside the box, because the tired formula of Hollywood films isn'tworking for everybody," he said. "This is a great day for documentaryfilm-makers. The film has resonated with so many people in terms of taking astand against what is going on in this country and especially what comes out ofthe Bush administration in DC."
With the film setting record tickets sales in severalinternational territories, Moore said it was an opportunity to show foreignaudiences that most Americans were not chest-thumping advocates of violence."People in Britain and other countries need to know that there are millions ofAmericans who don't agree with what is going on and don't necessarily talk infront of the United Nations," he added, in a clear reference to Secretary ofState Colin Powell's address to the United Nations this week.
The 55th AnnualWriters Guild Awards take place in Los Angeles on Mar 8.