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Writers Guild eliminates films from award contentions

It happens every year, so it really should come as no surprise, but the Writers Guild of America has once again reportedly eliminated some of the year's best films for consideration for its awards because the movies are not signatories to the guild's minimum basic agreement (or the equivalent in another country) that sets fees, credits, benefits and other rules governing a writer's employment.

Among this year's omissions are said to be "The King's Speech," "Winter's Bone" and "Toy Story 3."

The guild's rules always get the companies behind the omitted films riled up; they typically declare that the WGA isn't judging the best films of the year but only the best films made by WGA members under WGA guidelines. But these are guild awards, and just as the Screen Actors Guild gives its awards only to SAG members, it's not completely surprising that the WGA would omit films made by people who aren't guild members.

What is unfortunate is that the WGA's stance immediately diminishes its importance as a predictor for the Oscars. Last year, such contenders as "Inglourious Basterds" and "An Education" were omitted from consideration. This year the situation may not be as extreme, because so many of the top Oscar contenders are still eligible, including "The Social Network," "The Kids Are All Right," "Black Swan," "127 Hours," "Inception," "The Town" and "The Fighter."

Ineligible are two prominent animated flicks -- "Toy Story 3" and "How to Train Your Dragon" -- as well as some smaller films, mainly ones belonging to the Weinstein Co. ("Blue Valentine" in addition to "The King's Speech").

The WGA would not comment. The guild will release its list of eligible films on Tuesday.

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