It's my own personal theory that romantic comedies are more
interesting right now than they've been at any point in the 65 years since screwball went out of the fashion. It looks
like the Writers Guild of America agrees, as they awarded their top prizes to two descendents of the
genre in ceremonies held last night.
Charlie Kaufman, along with story collaborators Pierre Bismuth and Michel Gondry, took home the award for Best Original Screenplay for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A dazzling feat of non-linearity that deftly balances giddy highs and heartbreak-inducing lows, Eternal Sunshine represents Kaufman's first WGA win after two previous nominations.
Equally victorious were Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor (above), for their adaptation of Rex Pickett's novel Sideways. This is the second WGA trophy for the scripting duo, who won for their work on another adaptation, Election, in 2000.
Neither of these films are romantic comedies in the weepy-chick-flick mode that people like Sandra Bullock made a living off of in the 90s - they don't take place in mythic worlds of homogenization, and they don't condescend to their audiences. Instead, they balance relationship drama with quirky levity, in much the same manner as George Cukor's classic Holiday, or Billy Wilder's Best Picture winner The Apartment. In other words - they're the kind of romantic comedies that are more than safe not to hate.
Awards were also handed out for excellence in television writing last night, and earlier in the week, Morgan Spurlock won the new Documentary Screenplay award for Super Size Me. For a full list of winners, hit up www.wga.org.