2021 WGA Nominations: ‘Judas,’ ‘Palm Springs,’ and ‘Borat’ Among Contenders Getting a Boost

The Writers Guild of America announced their nominees for this year’s best scripts in feature film, television, and more. In order to be eligible for WGA awards, writers must be active members of the guild, and in good standing. This means films like Nomadland, Minari, and Mank were not eligible. Ineligibility here does not derail a film’s chances for Oscar consideration. Last year, for example, Booksmart earned a WGA nom, but gave way to WGA-ineligible Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the Oscars.

What is more interesting to look at is which eligible films did not make the WGA lineup. Again, this is not the end of the road as we saw last year when WGA nominee A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood yielded its place to The Two Popes at the Oscars. But this still isn’t great news for those of us still hoping Kelly Reichardt finally gets her due with First Cow.

It is, however, a good day for Original Screenplay hopefuls Shaka King and Will Berson, whose Judas and the Black Messiah premiered this weekend in theaters and on HBO Max. Likewise, Andy Siara got some needed attention for his comedy, Palm Springs.

In the Adapted Screenplay category, Sacha Baron Cohen et al. showed strength for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. While it still feels a bit unlikely for the Academy, this, paired with the waves of support for Maria Bakalova, definitely marks the Borat sequel as a film not to be underestimated.

Here is the complete list of 2021 WGA Nominations:



Judas and the Black Messiah, Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King, Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas (Warner Bros.)

Palm Springs, Screenplay by Andy Siara, Story by Andy Siara & Max Barbakow (Hulu)

Promising Young Woman, Written by Emerald Fennell (Focus Features)

Sound of Metal, Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder, Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance (Amazon Studios)

The Trial of the Chicago 7, Written by Aaron Sorkin (Netflix)


Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern, Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad, Based on Characters Created by Sacha Baron Cohen; Amazon Studios

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Screenplay by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Based on the Play Written by August Wilson; Netflix

News of the World, Screenplay by Paul Greengrass and Luke Davies, Based upon the Novel by Paulette Jiles; Universal Pictures

One Night in Miami, Screenplay by Kemp Powers, Based on the Stage Play “One Night in Miami” by Kemp Powers; Amazon Studios

The White Tiger, Screenplay by Ramin Bahrani, Based on the Book “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga; Netflix


All In: The Fight for Democracy, Written by Jack Youngelson; Amazon Studios

The Dissident, Written by Mark Monroe and Bryan Fogel; Briarcliff Entertainment

Herb Alpert Is…, Written by John Scheinfeld; Abramorama

Red Penguins, Written by Gabe Polsky; Universal Pictures

Totally Under Control, Written by Alex Gibney; Neon



Better Call Saul, Written by Ann Cherkis, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Ariel Levine, Heather Marion, Thomas Schnauz, Gordon Smith, Alison Tatlock; AMC

The Boys, Written by Eric Kripke, Ellie Monahan, Anslem Richardson, Craig Rosenberg, Michael Saltzman, Rebecca Sonnenshine; Amazon Studios

The Crown, Written by Peter Morgan, Jonathan Wilson; Netflix

The Mandalorian, Written by Rick Famuyiwa, Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni; Disney+

Ozark, Written by Laura Deeley, Bill Dubuque, Paul Kolsby, Miki Johnson, Chris Mundy, John Shiban, Ning Zhou, Martin Zimmerman; Netflix


Curb Your Enthusiasm, Written by Larry David, Justin Hurwitz, Steve Leff, Carol Leifer, Jeff Schaffer; HBO

The Great, Written by Vanessa Alexander, Tony McNamara, Tess Morris, Amelia Roper, Gretel Vella, James Wood; Hulu

PEN15, Written by; Alyssa DiMari, Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Josh Levine, Gabe Liedman, Rachele Lynn, Vera Santamaria, Diana Tay, Sam Zvibleman; Hulu

Ted Lasso, Written by Jane Becker, Leann Bowen, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, Bill Lawrence, Jamie Lee, Jason Sudeikis, Phoebe Walsh, Bill Wrubel; Apple TV+

What We Do in the Shadows, Written by Jake Bender, Jemaine Clement, Zach Dunn, Joe Furey, Shana Gohd, Sam Johnson, Chris Marcil, William Meny, Sarah Naftalis, Stefani Robinson, Marika Sawyer, Paul Simms; FX Networks


Dave, Written by Dave Burd, Vanessa McGee, Saladin Patterson, Luvh Rakhe, Alex Russell, Jeff Schaffer, Max Searle, Yamara Taylor; FX Networks

The Flight Attendant, Written by Kara Lee Corthron, Michael Foley, Ryan Jennifer Jones, Ticona S. Joy, Meredith Lavender, Jess Meyer, Daniele Nathanson, Marcie Ulin, Ian Weinreich, Steve Yockey; HBO Max

The Great, Written by Vanessa Alexander, Tony McNamara, Tess Morris, Amelia Roper, Gretel Vella, James Wood; Hulu

Lovecraft Country, Written by Misha Green, Shannon Houston, Jonathan Kidd, Kevin Lau, Ihuoma Ofordire, Wes Taylor, Sonya Winton; HBO

Ted Lasso, Written by Jane Becker, Leann Bowen, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, Bill Lawrence, Jamie Lee, Jason Sudeikis, Phoebe Walsh, Bill Wrubel; Apple TV+


Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, Written by Aaron Carew, Alexandra Cunningham, Lex Edness, Kevin J. Hynes, Juliet Lashinsky-Revene, Stacy A. Littlejohn, Katherine B. McKenna; USA

Hollywood, Written by Ian Brennan, Janet Mock, Ryan Murphy, Reilly Smith; Netflix

Mrs. America, Written by Tanya Barfield, Joshua Griffith, Sharon Hoffman, Boo Killebrew, Micah Schraft, April Shih, Dahvi Waller; FX Networks

Safety, Written by Nick Santora; Disney+

Uncle Frank, Written by Alan Ball; Amazon Studios


Bad Education, Written by Mike Makowsky, Based on the New York Magazine article ” The Bad Superintendent” by Robert Kolker; HBO

Clouds, Screenplay by Kara Holden; Story by Casey La Scala & Patrick Kopka and Kara Holden, Based on the book entitled “Fly A Little Higher’ by Laura Sobiech; Disney+

The Good Lord Bird, Written by Jeff Augustin, Ethan Hawke, Erika L. Johnson, Mark Richard, Kristen SaBerre, Lauren Signorino, Based on the Novel by James McBride; Showtime

Little Fires Everywhere, Written by Harris Danow, Rosa Handelman, Shannon Houston, Attica Locke, Raamla Mohamed, Amy Talkington, Liz Tigelaar, Nancy Won, Based on the book by Celeste Ng; Hulu

The Queen’s Gambit, Written by Scott Frank, Allan Scott, Based on the novel by Walter Tevis; Netflix


#FREERAYSHAWN, Written by Marc Maurino; Quibi

Better Call Saul Employee Training: Legal Ethics with Kim Wexler, Written by Ariel Levine; AMC Digital on YouTube

Most Dangerous Game, Written by Nick SantoraJosh Harmon, Scott Elder; Quibi

Per Writers Guild Awards submission rules, if there are insufficient entries in any category, those entries may be placed in another category.


“A Springfield Summer Christmas For Christmas” (The Simpsons), Written by Jessica Conrad; Fox

“Bart The Bad Guy” (The Simpsons), Written by Dan Vebber; Fox

“I, Carumbus” (The Simpsons), Written by Cesar Mazariegos; Fox

“Prank You for Being A Friend” (Bob’s Burgers), Written by Katie Crown; Fox

“Three Dreams Denied” (The Simpsons), Written by Danielle Weisberg; Fox

“Xerox of a Xerox” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Nick Adams; Netflix


“Bad Choice Road” (Better Call Saul), Written by Thomas Schnauz; AMC

“Fire Pink” (Ozark), Written by Miki Johnson; Netflix

“JMM” (Better Call Saul), Written by Alison Tatlock; AMC

“Raised by Wolves” (Raised by Wolves), Written by Aaron Guzikowski; HBO Max

“Something Unforgivable” (Better Call Saul), Written by Peter Gould & Ariel Levine; AMC

“Trouble Don’t Last Always” (Euphoria), Written by Sam Levinson; HBO


“Grandma & Chill” (Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens), Written by Kyle Lau; Comedy Central

“The Great” (The Great), Written by Tony McNamara; Hulu

“It’s Not You, It’s Me” (Dead to Me), Written by Liz Feldman & Kelly Hutchinson; Netflix

“Pilot” (Ted Lasso), Teleplay by Jason Sudeikis & Bill Lawrence, Story by Jason Sudeikis & Bill Lawrence & Brendan Hunt & Joe Kelly; Apple TV+

“The Tank” (Grace & Frankie), Written by Alex Kavallierou; Netflix

“Trick” (High Maintenance), Written by Isaac Oliver; HBO


Desus & Mero, Writers: Daniel “Desus Nice” Baker, Claire Friedman, Ziwe Fumudoh, Josh Gondelman, Robert Kornhauser, Joel “The Kid Mero” Martinez, Heben Nigatu, Mike Pielocik, Julia Young; Showtime

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Writers: Kristen Bartlett, Samantha Bee, Pat Cassels, Sean Crespo, Mike Drucker, Mathan Erhardt, Joe Grossman, Miles Kahn, Sahar Rizvi, Chris Thompson, Holly Walker, Alison Zeidman, Special Materials by: Michael Rhoa; TBS

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Writers: Johnathan Appel, Ali Barthwell, Tim Carvell, Liz Hynes, Greg Iwinski, Mark Kramer, Daniel O’Brien, John Oliver, Owen Parsons, Charlie Redd, Joanna Rothkopf, Chrissy Shackelford, Ben Silva, Seena Vali; HBO

Late Night with Seth Meyers, Head Writer: Alex Baze Writing Supervised by: Seth Reiss Closer Look Writing Supervised by: Sal Gentile Writers: Jermaine Affonso, Karen Chee, Bryan Donaldson, Matt Goldich, Dina Gusovsky, Jenny Hagel, Allison Hord, Mike Karnell, John Lutz, Seth Meyers, Ian Morgan, John Mulaney, Amber Ruffin, Mike Scollins, Mike Shoemaker, Ben Warheit, Jeff Wright; NBC

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Head Writers: Ariel Dumas, Jay Katsir Writers: Delmonte Bent, Michael Brumm, River Clegg, Aaron Cohen, Nicole Conlan, Stephen T. Colbert, Paul Dinello, Glenn Eichler, Django Gold, Gabe Gronli, Barry Julien, Michael Cruz Kayne, Eliana Kwartler, Matt Lappin, Felipe Torres Medina, Opus Moreschi, Asher Perlman, Tom Purcell, Kate Sidley, Brian Stack, John Thibodeaux, Steve Waltien; CBS


30 Rock: A One-Time Special, Written by Tina Fey & Robert Carlock; NBC

Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish), Written by Nancy Meyers; YouTube

Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020, Head Writers: Ariel Dumas, Jay Katsir Writers: Delmonte Bent, Michael Brumm, River Clegg, Aaron Cohen, Stephen T. Colbert, Nicole Conlan, Paul Dinello, Glenn Eichler, Django Gold, Gabe Gronli, Barry Julien, Michael Cruz Kayne, Eliana Kwartler, Matt Lappin, Felipe Torres Medina, Opus Moreschi, Asher Perlman, Tom Purcell, Kate Sidley, Brian Stack, John Thibodeaux, Steve Waltien; Showtime

Yearly Departed, Head Writer: Bess Kalb Writers: Karen Chee, Akilah Green, Franchesca Ramsey, Jocelyn Richard; Amazon Studios


At Home with Amy Sedaris, Writers: Jeremy Beiler, Cole Escola, Peter Grosz, Amy Sedaris; truTV

How To with John Wilson, Writers: Alice Gregory, Michael Koman, John Wilson; HBO

The Amber Ruffin Show, Head Writer: Jenny Hagel Writers: Demi Adejuyigbe, Shantira Jackson, Dewayne Perkins, Amber Ruffin Additional Material by John Lutz; Peacock Originals


Hollywood Game Night, Head Writers: Ann Slichter, Grant Taylor Writers: Michael Agbabian, Allie Kokesh, Dwight D. Smith; NBC

Jeopardy!, Writers: Matthew Caruso, John Duarte, Harry Friedman, Mark Gaberman, Debbie Griffin, Michele Loud, Robert McClenaghan, Jim Rhine, Mike Richards, Billy Wisse; ABC

Weakest Link, Head Writer: Ann Slichter Writers: Chip Dornell, Paul Greenberg, Joyce Ikemi, Stuart Krasnow, Jon Macks, Mona Mira, Scott Saltzburg, Aaron Solomon, Chris Sturgeon, Grant Taylor; NBC

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Celebrity Season, Head Writer: Bobby Patton Writers: Alan Bailey, Josh Halloway, Seth Harrington, Shawn Kennedy; Disney/ABC Syndication


Days of Our Lives, Head Writer: Ron Carlivati Writers: Lorraine Broderick, Joanna Cohen, Carolyn Culliton, Richard Culliton, Rick Draughon, David Kreizman, Rebecca McCarty, Ryan Quan, Dave Ryan, Katherine D. Schock, Elizabeth Snyder; NBC

General Hospital, Head Writers: Dan O’Connor, Christopher Van Etten Associate Head Writer: Anna Theresa Cascio Writers: Barbara Bloom, Suzanne Flynn, Charlotte Gibson, Lucky Gold, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Korte, David Rupel, Lisa Seidman, Donny Sheldon, Scott Sickles; ABC


“Countdown” (The Astronauts), Written by Dan Knauf; Nickelodeon

“Mo Willems And The Storytime All Stars Present: Don’t Let The Pigeon Do Storytime,” Written by Mo Willems, Based on the children’s books and published by Hyperion: Leonard the Terrible Monster; Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale; A Busy Creature’s Day Eating!; Elephant and Piggy’s Waiting is Not Easy!; and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus; HBO Max

“The Not Too Late Show with Elmo,” Writers: Geri Cole, Scott Gray, Benjamin Lehmann, Wendy Marston, Andrew Moriarty, Ken Scarborough, Moujan Zolfaghari; HBO Max

“The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special,” Written by Geri Cole; HBO Max

“The Sleepover,” Written by Sarah Rothschild; Netflix

“Speaking of Cancer” (Alexa & Katie), Written by Leo Chu & Eric S. Garcia & Julia Miranda; Netflix


“Agents of Chaos, Part I,” Written by Alex Gibney & Michael J. Palmer; HBO Documentary Films

“Agents of Chaos, Part II,” Written by Alex Gibney & Michael J. Palmer; HBO Documentary Films

“The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS

“Whose Vote Counts” (Frontline), Written by Jelani Cobb, June Cross & Tom Jennings; PBS


“Opioids, Inc” (Frontline), Written by Tom Jennings; PBS

“The Poison Squad” (American Experience), Written by John Maggio; PBS

“The Violence Paradox” (Nova), Written by Michael Bicks and Anna Lee Strachan; PBS


“Anger in America” (World News Tonight with David Muir), Written by Dave Bloch, David Muir, Karen Mooney, David Schoetz; ABC News

“Critical Condition” (60 Minutes), Written by Katie Kerbstat Jacobson, Scott Pelley, Nicole Young; CBS News

“Gale Sayers Obit,” Written by Joe McLaughlin; WCBS-TV

“The Wild West of Covid Testing” (60 Minutes), Written by Sharyn Alfonsi, Oriana Zill de Granados, Emily Gordon; CBS News


“Exhume the Truth” (60 Minutes), Written by Katie Kerbstat Jacobson, Scott Pelley, Joe Schanzer, Nicole Young; CBS News

“Juneteenth: A Celebration of Overcoming,” Written by Dave Bloch; ABC News

“The African Basketball Trail” (60 Minutes), Written by Oriana Zill de Granados, Emily Gordon; CBS News


“Pornhub Doesn’t Care,” Written by Samantha Cole and Emanuel Maiberg; Vice.com

“This Week Has Happened Before,” Written by Julia Craven; Slate.com

“The Store That Called the Cops on George Floyd,” Written by Aymann Ismail; Slate.com

“Why Did the Government Separate This Family?” Written by Jeremy Stahl; Slate.com



“CBS News on the Hour with Norah O’Donnell, March 10, 2020,” Written by James Hutton; CBS New Radio

“Changemakers: Leaders Who Made a Difference,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS News Radio

“World News This Week, November 13, 2020,” Written by Joan Harris; ABC News Radio/WNTW Podcasts


“Instrument of Hope,” Written by Christopher Barry; ABC News Audio

“Against Those Thugs: Delores Tucker and Bill Bennett” (Slow Burn) Written by Joel Anderson, Christopher Johnson; Slate Podcasts

“The Gist: Spiel, April 3, 2020,” Written by Mike Pesca; Slate Podcasts



“Can You See It?” Written by Meghana Reddy and Angad Bhalla; Facebook

“Get Out The Vote – Check Out Those Moves,” Written by Meghana Reddy and Angad Bhalla; Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

“Launch Trailers,” Written by Molly Neylan; CBS All Access

The 73rd WGA Awards will be presented on March 21, 2021.

Written by
Karen Peterson is the Awards Editor for We Live Entertainment. She previously worked as the Assistant Editor at Awards Circuit, now owned by Variety. Her work can also be found at Citizen Dame and at the Watch and Talk podcast. Her non-awards season hobbies include Angels baseball, taking pictures of other peoples' pets, and tweeting about The Bachelor franchise.

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