Captain Phillips and Her bag WGA awards
THE writers of Her and Captain Phillips were given top honours by their peers on Saturday at the annual Writers Guild Awards, a strong predictor of success in the screenplay categories at the Oscars in a month's time.
Spike Jonze won the best original screenplay award for Her, a tale set in the near future about a man in a romantic relationship with a lifelike computer operating system.
"It's a high honour coming from writers," Jonze, who also directed the film, said while accepting the prize. "I was thinking about how, in a way, it's like an award for pain," he added.
"It's a specific pain that writers know and it's the highs and lows of sitting in there by yourself."
Captain Phillips, inspired by the events of a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates, earned writer Billy Ray the prize for best adapted screenplay. The film was based on Richard Phillips' 2010 memoir, A Captain's Duty, about the ordeal.
"I also owe quite a debt to Captain Richard Phillips, who survived something that I know would've killed me," Ray said while accepting the award. "It's really Captain Phillips who wrote this story; I just wrote it down."
It is the first time Jonze and Ray have received a Writers Guild Award.
Winners of the awards for original screenplay and adapted screenplay - handed out by the Writers Guild of America - have gone on to win the corresponding Oscar awards for eight of the past 10 years.
Neither Her nor Captain Phillips are considered front runners for the best picture Oscar, which will be handed out on March 2.