Screenplays for two films depicting graft and greed in America - "American Hustle" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" - were among the nominees on Friday for the Writers Guild Awards, a prognosticator for the film industry's top prizes, the Oscars.
Notably missing from the nominees for best adapted screenplay was "12 Years a Slave," a film based on the memoirs of a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in pre-Civil War America. The film from British director Steve McQueen is considered a front-runner for a best picture Oscar.
Also in that category, the Writers Guild nominated the screenplay of Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," the story of the 1990s swindle by brash financier Jordan Belfort. The movie has stirred controversy with its graphic depiction of drugs and sex.
Rounding out the category are: "August: Osage County," a tale of family dysfunction adapted from the prize-winning play by Tracy Letts; "Before Midnight," Richard Linklater's third take on a couple; "Captain Phillips," the true story of a pirate attack on an American cargo ship off the coast of Somalia, and "Lone Survivor" the tale of brotherhood among Navy SEALs in Afghanistan.
In the best original screenplay category, the 1970s con-man romp of David O. Russell's "American Hustle" is joined by Woody Allen's reversal-of-fortune tale "Blue Jasmine," the portrait of an unlikely AIDS treatment activist in "Dallas Buyers Club," the virtual love story "Her" and the rueful look at life in the heartland in "Nebraska."
The Writers Guild Awards will be handed out simultaneously at ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York on February 1, ahead of the March 2 Academy Awards ceremony.