The WGA's list of screenplays eligible to be nominated for Oscars will not include Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," as Hitfix first reported on Saturday. Tarantino, who won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 1995 for "Pulp Fiction," was expected to be one of the surest bets for a repeat nomination for "Django," even getting a nomination for Best Screenplay from the Golden Globes. Only slightly less surprising was the omission of "Les Miserables" in the Best Adapted category. When reached for comment, a WGA representative said this was due to both scripts being written outside union regulations.
Considering that neither film has yet been released—they both bow on Christmas Day—the only indication of either's awards prospects (to say nothing of box office) has been advance reviews, which are mixed for both. For Tarantino, a favorite of critics his entire career, this is perhaps more worrisome than it is for "Les Miz." With its giant built-in audience of its prior incarnation onstage ensuring large audience turnout, and its literary pedigree dating back to Victor Hugo's novel of the same name, that film is on safer ground than Django. Tarantino's now-legendary affinity for violent and transgressive content may be a harder sell for Christmas audiences than the big-budget musical, however secretly dark it may actually be.
Being ruled ineligible for Best Original Screenplay consideration is certainly an ominous sign for "Django"'s awards hopes. Tarantino and The Weinstein Company can only hope that the film is a hit with audiences. On December 25th, we shall see if it is.