Nancy Meyers, the highest-grossing female writer-director-producer in Hollywood’s box office history, will be the recipient of the WGA West's 2020 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement.
Diane Keaton, who starred in Meyers' 2003 film Something's Gotta Give, will present the award at the 72nd annual Writers Guild Awards ceremony on February 1 in Los Angeles. The award is presented to guild members who have “advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter.”
“Nancy Meyers is the writer many of us aspire to be — her scripts walk the line of blending challenging ideas with comedic situations, dramatic themes with hard jokes,” said WGA West president David A. Goodman. “Her work consistently proves that movies about the foibles and frailties of humans will be commercially successful in the hands of a master of her craft. The WGAW Board of Directors is thrilled to give her this award.”
Meyers is the third woman named to receive special honors at the WGA's upcoming awards show. As previously reported Merrill Markoe, the multiple-Emmy-winning former head writer of Late Night with David Letterman, will receive the WGA West's 2020 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement, and Paula Pell, the former SNL and 30 Rock writer, will receive the WGA East's Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence.
Meyers' trailblazing career generated an unparalleled run of hit comedies that she wrote, directed and produced, including Something's Gotta Give, for which co-stars Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton received Golden Globe nominations, with Keaton winning a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination; perennial seasonal favorite The Holiday 2006, starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black; the life-after-divorce romantic comedy It's Complicated 2009, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, which earned Golden Globe nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Picture and a Best Actress nom for Streep; and most recently, her modern workplace comedy The Intern 2015, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro.
Following an early career stint as a development executive and story editor, working for veteran producer Ray Stark during the 1970s, Meyers made her screenwriting and producing debut with 1980's comedy smash, Private Benjamin, starring Goldie Hawn, which Meyers co-wrote and produced with Harvey Miller and her then-husband Charles Shyer — an acclaimed film that refuted the then-conventional industry notion that a female lead could not open a movie without a male star. The film went on to become a major box office success and earned Meyers a 1981 Writers Guild Award and Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress Hawn, and Best Supporting Actress Eileen Brennan. Hawn also received a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of a woman who challenges societal expectations by joining the Army after her newlywed husband's untimely demise.
Meyers then co-wrote and produced with Shyer Irreconcilable Differences 1984, followed by 1987's Baby Boom with Shyer, starring Keaton, and later a pair of 1990s remake box office hits, 1991's Father of the Bride screenplay by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett Nancy Meyers & Shyer, and 1995's Father of the Bride II with Shyer, both starring Martin and Keaton.
After two decades of successful screenwriting and producing, Meyers made her directorial debut with the 1998 update of the Disney classic The Parent Trap, starring Dennis Quaid and Lindsey Lohan screenplay by David Swift and Meyers & Shyer. She then directed the hit romantic comedy What Women Want, starring Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role. Most recently, Meyers teamed with her daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, to produce Meyers-Shyer's directorial debut, Home Again written by Meyers-Shyer, starring Reese Witherspoon.
Meyers has received numerous other industry honors over the years. In 2004, she was the first woman ever to receive Showest's Director of the Year Award. She received Women in Film's Dorothy Arzner Directors Award in 2007; Elle Women in Hollywood Awards' Woman of the Year Award in 2013, and the American Cinema Editors' Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award in 2016.
Past Screen Laurel Award recipients include James L. Brooks, Elaine May, Oliver Stone, Harold Ramis, David Mamet, Paul Mazursky, Lawrence Kasdan, Eric Roth, Steven Zaillian, Robert Towne, and Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel.
As the escalating coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc in Hollywood, the WGA and AMPTP are frantically trying to figure out as we speak how to conduct upcoming contract talks next week — and if they should even happen at all for the foreseeable future.
Everything is in flux right now, but it looks like a consensus is emerging that the March 23 start of negotiations on a new film and TV contract will be pushed, at least for a couple of weeks, we hear.
Whether that sees discussions over a new deal paused for the time being or the May 1 expiring current contract itself extended as the essentially shuttered industry continues to deal with COVID-19 consequences is what guild and producer representatives are trying to figure out Thursday. As of this afternoon, there had been no official change in the announced plan for the two sides to meet Monday, but there had been flurry of activity. We have reached to the WGA and AMPTP for comment.
Also on the table this afternoon is a more far flung notion gaining a lot of traction in the AMPTP camp that the current overall three-year contract be extended with gains that the DGA achieved in their now completed deal with the producers, which still has to go to the full membership for approval.
However things shake down in this fluid situation and guild members await updates, it is clear that everyone at the top of the WGA West and WGA East and the Carol Lombardini-led AMPTP realizes it cannot be negotiations as usual. “Facing a potential new Great Depression, we all sink or swim together right now,” one scribe close to the guild brass declared as the mindset on both sides of the table.
To that end, the once almost certainty of a WGA strike hitting Hollywood this year has become virtually DOA, with writers already looking at thin pickings in harsh economic times, a crashing stock market and a pandemic. “The only thing extreme anyone who is thinking right is thinking right now is how to keep people getting paychecks, not picket lines,” another high-profile scribe remarked.
One possible scenario that is in play for the proposed talks is that all parties get together remotely on Monday via Zoom for a teleconference to kick things off according to the pre-set schedule.
Yet, several sources told us that even if that is the opening day move, the enthusiasm for such a tactic was pretty low among negotiating teams.
“You need to be in the room with each other,” a well-positioned exec close to the producers' side proclaimed, citing what may work well for writers' rooms right now won't work so well for their reps and the Sherman Oaks-based AMPTP. “There's a lot of history, good and bad, between the parties and tension over the WGA going to war over packaging,” the corner suiter added, noting the move...