Star Trek Writers Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman Nominated For WGA Screenplay Award |
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Star Trek Writers Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman Nominated For WGA Screenplay Award January 11, 2010

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: CBS/Paramount,Orci/Kurtzman,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

Star Trek has picked up another guild award nomination today, and it is a big one. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have been nominated by the Writer’s Guild of America for Best Adapted Screenplay. And the pair have already given TrekMovie a statement about the honor.


Orci and Kurtzman nominated for WGA Award
Like the Oscars, the WGA split their writing nominations into original and adapted. Star Trek falls into the adapted category because the characters are based on the TV show. Here is the full list of nominees from the WGA site.


Crazy Heart, Screenplay by Scott Cooper; Based on the novel by Thomas Cobb; Fox Searchlight

Julie & Julia, Screenplay by Nora Ephron; Based on the books Julie & Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme; Sony Pictures

Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher; Based on the novel Push by Sapphire; Lionsgate

Star Trek, Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman; Based upon Star Trek, Created by Gene Roddenberry; Paramount Pictures

Up in the Air, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner; Based upon the novel by Walter Kirn; Paramount Pictures

For original screenplay, the writers for 500 Days of Summer, Avatar, The Hangover, The Hurt Locker, and A Serious Man were nominated.

I spoke to Bob minutes after the announcement and he said that he and Alex had a statement, in their usual humble tone:

Our statement is in the form of a quote from Cato the Elder, "I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one."

This is the second time the writing team of Orci and Kurtzman have been nominated by the WGA. Last year the pair were nominated (along with JJ Abrams) in TV original long form category for the pilot of Fringe, but lost out to the HBO movie Recount.

Orci and Kurtzman aren’t the only members of the new Trek ‘Supreme Court’ to have a WGA nomination this year. Star Trek producer Damon Lindelof and the writing staff of Lost were nominated for Best TV Drama Series.


1. Mr Phil - January 11, 2010

Nice work gents!

2. P Technobabble - January 11, 2010

Congrats guys, very nice indeed!!!

3. Mr Phil - January 11, 2010

No resting on your laurels mind, back to work ;-)

4. AJ - January 11, 2010

Nice work from the ‘Star Trek ’09’ boys. Keep it up!

‘Avatar’ gets a Best Screenplay nom? Really?

5. MvRojo - January 11, 2010

Great to see the film get recognition from the WGA, and a huge surprise.

One thing to keep in mind though is that the WGA has uber-restrictive rules, so the following films weren’t eligible (but will be for the Academy Awards): “Inglourious Basterds,” “Up,” “A Single Man,” “District 9,” “An Education,” “The Road,” “In the Loop.” Four of these are based on previous work and will likely make their way into the Best Adapted Screenplay category at the Oscars (likely “A Single Man” or “An Education”).

6. denny cranium - January 11, 2010

awesome job guys!

7. RoobyDoo - January 11, 2010

Congratulations Bob & Alex.

I have no doubt you’ll raise the bar even higher on Star Trek: Something Something.

8. Yammer - January 11, 2010

Great work, lads.

I think the best review of your work comes from Orson Scott Card on his site, in which he notes that most of the critics (not me!) dismissed your movie as just hype and action, missing the Big Important Themes about destiny and justice which you chose not to underline and announce.

9. DJT - January 11, 2010


10. Anthony Thompson - January 11, 2010

Congrats Bob!

11. wowseruk - January 11, 2010

We all knew you’d be there… great work, gentlemen..

12. boborci - January 11, 2010

8. Yammer – January 11, 2010

Wow. Hadn’t noticed that. Thanks!

13. MvRojo - January 11, 2010

What’s really neat is that a science fiction film has never been nominated by the WGA for Best Adapted Screenplay.

14. RM10019 - January 11, 2010

Thanks again Bob for delivering a great Trek script, and you guys deserve all the accolades! You should know from a former Paramount guy and Trek fan, it’s good to have the franchise in such capable hands, many thanks again.

15. Primogen - January 11, 2010

Congratulations, gentlemen! Star Trek was the movie I most enjoyed last year, thanks in no small part to the great dialog you wrote for the characters.

16. I'm dead Jim - January 11, 2010

Congrats Gentlemen!

17. CmdrR - January 11, 2010

But do we call you Bobex or Alob? Since you’re joined at the hip.

18. Chris Dawson - January 11, 2010

Congratulations and Best of Luck!!

19. the Quickening - January 11, 2010


‘Avatar’ gets a Best Screenplay nom? Really?


Haven’t seen ‘Avatar’, but what’s wrong with the script that you feel it should not have been nominated? Just curious.

I have seen STAR TREK, and I haven’t seen a script in quite some time full of more convenient coincidence and obvious borrowing than that one.

20. Robogeek - January 11, 2010

Congratulations, Roberto & Alex! Very well deserved.

21. Daniel Broadway - January 11, 2010

Congrats, Bob and Alex.

22. Paulaner - January 11, 2010

Congratulations, guys!

23. Shepherd - January 11, 2010


If you like obvious borrowing, then you’re gonna love Avatar. I actually liked Avatar so I’m not a ‘basher’ but it’s script was very derivative and predictable.

24. Bob, the Evil Klingon Frontline Leader - January 11, 2010


Avatar?! Original?! It’s “Dances With Smurfs”.

25. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - January 11, 2010

I hope they win. Now the hard part is to win and then win it again for the second trek movie.

26. CmdrR - January 11, 2010

“Up in the Air” is a genuinely fine movie. It’ll be tough to beat in this category.

Haven’t seen the others. The presence of Mariah Carey is enough to keep me away from ‘Precious.’

Anyway — Bob and Alex — as they say, it really is an honor to be nominated in a group like this.

27. "Check the Circuit!" - January 11, 2010

Congratulations Bob & Alex! It’s great for you…and great for the Star Trek brand that your work is being recognized by your peers!

(Can’t wait to see how the Talifans react to this and try to put a negative spin on it. It should prove to be quite entertaining.)

Avatar was an enjoyable movie experience because of the breathtaking visuals and 3D. However, it’s a recycled story with cardboard characters with a finale that would be more at home at the end of a Disney cartoon…IMHO. But don’t take my word for it. Most of those “glowing” reviews all say the same thing. I’ve seen it once…and that was plenty for me.

28. Sybok's Secret Brother - January 11, 2010

Congratualtions Bob and Alex! Good luck.

29. The Disinvited - January 11, 2010

Mr. Pascale,

Wouldn’t it be prudent to also mention LOST’s 2006 WGA award

along with the 2009 nomination?

30. PunkSpocker - January 11, 2010

So freakin’ awesome! I still believe it will get an oscar nom! You gotta have faith!

31. Ironhyde - January 11, 2010

Bob and Alex, yours was a great reboot idea and possibly one of the best-ever in any franchise. You deserve a nod for that, at least.

Congrats guys — keep getting better.

32. Alec - January 11, 2010

8. Yammer – January 11, 2010
‘Great work, lads.
I think the best review of your work comes from Orson Scott Card on his site, in which he notes that most of the critics (not me!) dismissed your movie as just hype and action, missing the Big Important Themes about destiny and justice which you chose not to underline and announce’.

Best review, you say? I’ve just read it and am less than impressed. I don’t mean to boast; but I have a first-class degree in Philosophy, amongst other post-grad qualifications, and can say, with some assurance, that, contrary to that review, there are few if any ‘deep ethical and philosophical issues’ – emphasis on ‘deep’ and then ‘ethical’ – in Trek 11. If you want ‘deep ethical and philosophical issues’ read the work of a great philosopher, such as Kant. This film wasn’t even intellectual for a film. If you want an intellectual film, see a film based on a great Sci-Fi book, such as Solaris (original film) or 2001. Now, it would be wrong to say that this film was just about special effects and action. But, I think, it would also be wrong to go to – or even near – the other extreme.

In my opinion, Trek 11 was, principally, about emotion. The film took the audience through the whole spectrum of emotion (through sadness, pity, joy, delight, etc) and it was through this emotion that we, especially the mainstream audience, for whom there is no inherent love of Trek, were supposed to connect with the film and with these ‘new’ characters. There was no great intellectual story or even idea in this film, as far as I could tell. But, of course, quite possibly NONE of the Trek films, and very few, if any, of the episodes, would qualify, either. The reason why I prefer other Trek films, especially TWOK, is because they had a greater scope for story. They weren’t simply origin stories. E.g., TWOK deals with great themes such as life, death, friendship and revenge. It’s not ‘intellectual’; but it has a great deal of substance. The ‘intellectuals’ will no doubt see how the film draws from great work, such as Paradise Lost, King Lear, and Moby Dick. The less pretentious will enjoy the story for what it is, with the action, plot twists, fast-pacing, character development, truly great soundtrack, and great, memorable dramatic acting.

I really liked Trek 11. I think it’s the 4th best Trek film: behind TWOK, TVH, and TUC. I think that Trek 12 could be even better than Trek 11, freed, as it is, from a very restrictive origin story. Trek 11 was simply about reintroducing Trek and its characters; it was about lifting Star Trek from its death bed. Any awards that this film wins is, I think, simply to be viewed just a bonus. It’s the subsequent films that I’m really anticipating….

The human adventure is just beginning.

33. C.S. Lewis - January 11, 2010

Their script certainly has its moments. The introductory scene aboard the USS Kelvin is one of the finest vignettes in science fiction film history. It’s compelling, emotionally effective and noble all at the same time. The bits with Pike and young Kirk are also lovely. There was a minimum of adolescence and for that I am grateful although the premise itself was largely an adolescent fantasy rather than an adult exploration of Man’s condition.

Regarding the USS Kelvin: Can someone please tell me why there were so many 2m/440mHz Larson and Comet mobile-mount amateur radio antennas strewn about the bridge???

C.S. Lewis

34. C.S. Lewis - January 11, 2010

^32 Alec

Good points – much along my own thoughts. If we view Orci/Kurtz through the prism of their job description, they did a great job. Certianly, the movie was hugely profitable for Paramount (and I imagine anyone else that speculated on its returns).

The script apparently (although to me inexplicably) connects with the “movie-going” demographic which seems to be 15-30 year old single suburban males without children, although it does have a few bones for the fathers amongst us, to the writers’ great and everlasting credit.

STTMP was self-consciously intellectual and missed an important opportunity by reverting to a strange reduction “V’ger is a child”, neatly fixing Ilia’s unfortunate vaporization at the same time. It took away the strangeness at the same time replacing it with an emotional bone that was not at all satisfying. I always thought the characters were completely out of character in the final moments, going from serious and grim to idiotic in the space of a V’ger burp.

The series episodes (ca 1966) were much more serious than many credit it and most of its beautiful gems are subtle, no doubt played down to avoid alienating the same audience Orci/Kurtzman seek, the adolescent male. I have long been fascinated by a Kirk line, “You torture others just to feel alive but you’re not – your dead inside!” (Plato’s Stepchildren??? O! the irony of it all…). Even more so, emotionally chilling and deep at the same time is Edith Keeller’s death, “Do you know what you’ve just done?” Many years were spent pondering those ideas as a lad.

C.S. Lewis

35. Ran - January 11, 2010

Although I am not a fan of your work, congratulations none the less!

36. Red Skirt - January 11, 2010

Yes congratulations are in order! There is no question these guys are talented, whatever you think of their work. Nevertheless, their Star Trek script is seriously outclassed in this group. Fortunately it doesn’t go up against Avatar, which I’m not sure will win either … but at least it can stand on its own as a genre script.

The biggest problem I see with Star Trek winning an award or getting nominated at the Oscars is that while entertaining, the script is an origin story, which does little to explore much, if any of the events that occur to the characters. It’s mostly exposition for the sake of introducing an audience to the characters, with little development of the emotional themes introduced. Moreover, in the adapted category, it has to contend with the brilliant adaptations from novels, which is really what this category is about, historically.

Ultimately, the WGA is a political body like everything in Hollywood. The fact that these guys were nominated speaks more to how well these guys are liked in Hollywood, an accomplishment of its own. As much as everyone here would like to see Star Trek finally get some attention, this is not the script to do it. I expect their next script will be the one that truly will be deserving of this recognition. In the meantime, this is really a feather in Star Trek’s hat for the moment. But like most nominees, will quickly fade into the background as soon as a winner is announced.

37. Thorny - January 11, 2010

19… “Avatar” follows Mr. Cameron’s “Titanic” as a visually stunning movie with appealing performances but absolutely dreadful dialogue. The villain in “Avatar” makes Boris and Natasha look multi-dimensional and well-written.

38. Daoud - January 11, 2010

@K/O Congratulations! And the Cato quote… now, if you can only somehow include a statue of Zefrem Cochrane in the next movie….

@33 Perhaps the 440 MHz antennae were the favorite method of the day to search for “gaseous anomalies”. :)

With all seriousness, I agree with you that Kelvin opening of ST’09 is what has earned the major laurels. Hemsworth and Morrison were amazingly good. They left me wanting more. To come back to the same Cato quote, I want to ask why we can’t get more George & Winona flashback.

39. ML - January 11, 2010

Congrats to the pair of them… but I agree… Avatar? Really? I have only one thing to say about Avatar, and it’s a quote from Albert Einstein: “The key to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Avatar should sweep all technical and production categories, but the meat and potatoes of the film (story and characters) were weak.

40. ML - January 11, 2010

OK, so I had two things to say about Avatar.

I also want to say that while I don’t think Orci & Kurtzman’s script is totally unworthy, I agree that Star Trek is the runt of this particular litter… and given their statement they know that.

41. Thorny - January 11, 2010

ML… Really? I have my problems with the “Star Trek 2009″ script, but next to “Avatar”, ST09 was Shakespeare. At least Nero had a little depth, that General Whatshisname in “Avatar” was a mustache-twirling bad guy straight out of 1920s silent movies. But unlike in the silents, we had to listen to that guy chew the scenery.

42. S. John Ross - January 11, 2010

First of all: congratulations, gentlemen!

Second (and tangentialy) to #8: “[…] missing the Big Important Themes about destiny and justice which you chose not to underline and announce.”

The critics, maybe, but a few of us here (myself included) were not shy in finding the destiny bits, in particular, to be hollow and insulting, since they strip away Kirk’s manhood, reducing him to a puppet with a fistful of cheap contrivances shoved, wriggling, up his backside. We didn’t miss it.

And I think Card is simply mistaken that the film doesn’t underline and announce its themes … it does, garishly. “Hey lookit me! I’m sort of like yet another scene about father-son relationships! Hey! lookit me! I’m a another speech about destiny and the high midichlorian counts of the Chosen Kirks!” But since the film’s “themes” are paid only mocking lip-service for the most part, and never explored with courage or insight, it’s noise signifying nothing except the next big explosion.

That said, I liked it a fair bit. Saw it twice. And again:

Gentlemen, congratulations.

43. Jai1138 - January 12, 2010

As an independent filmmaker who has tasted a tiny bit of success, my sincerest Congratulations, Alex and Robert. A wonderful nomination for you both professionally and for serious ST fandom in general. I think it was a great script.

44. captain_neill - January 12, 2010

I am not a fan of the guys but nevertheless congratulations.

when I hear these writiers I just find it hard to shake off Transformers 2

45. VZX - January 12, 2010

Who is Cato the Elder?

Anyway, I’m glad they got nominated. It really is a fine script, although it did have a few plot holes, but was better than most of the movies made this year.

Kirk, Spock, and Pike were written perfectly, though. Bob and Alex nailed down their voice better than any of the other Trek films.

46. Shunnabunich - January 12, 2010

“I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one.”

So, that said, why in the HELL are they being nominated for a writing award for Star Trek? The WGA may as well just finish off the last tatters of their credibility and nominate Transformers 2 as well.

47. dalek - January 12, 2010

A win would be well deserved!

48. Brett Campbell - January 12, 2010

34 – Mr. Lewis – “You torture others just to feel alive but you’re not – your dead inside!”

No, not “Plato’s Stepchildren,” but from “The Empath,” I believe.

49. Michael Hall - January 12, 2010

Orson Scott Card has long disdained Star Trek–and yes, that definitely includes TOS–referring to the characters as “stupid” and “cardboard” and practically dancing on the presumed grave of the franchise in a column he wrote for the Los AngelesTimes after the final episode of Enterprise aired. His premise: the series as conceived were never all that good to begin with, and definitely needed to be retired at that point, since there was now a plethora of better work in films and TV for genre fans to choose from. Well, few would claim that the franchise was at its creative peak at the end of the Berman era. But that Card could finally summon-up a kind word to say about Trek on the basis of this film, after disparaging the series that gave us “City on the Edge of Forever,” “The Inner Light,” “The Visitor,” etc. is a spectacular example of contrarianism run amok, at the very least.

50. Red Skirt - January 12, 2010

#45. “Who is Cato the Elder?”

VZX, that’s what Google is for.

“was better than most of the movies made this year.”

Just out of curiosity, just how many movies did you see this year?

51. S. John Ross - January 12, 2010

#50: “Just out of curiosity, just how many movies did you see this year?”

If I had a nickel for everytime I wondered the same thing about the same kind of comment on this board, I wouldn’t be rich, but man would I have me some nickels :)

52. Thorny - January 12, 2010

“The Hurt Locker” and “Up” are the best movies I saw in 2009.

53. ML - January 13, 2010

@ #41 Thorny

I totally agree with you! I wasn’t comparing Star Trek and Avatar’s script, I was comparing Star Trek and the other nominees’ scripts. It’s a very well-done script and it was a challenging one to make work, and this nomination is deserved, I think, but the scripts nominated are also extremely impressive and makes ST’s potato a bit smaller. On the other hand, Avatar’s script was absolute bilge!

54. Red Skirt - January 13, 2010

#53, anytime I read such a glowing review of Star Trek’s script I have to imagine a diehard fanboy behind it, hyper-enthusiasticly supporting a beloved franchise. Let’s not confuse difficult challenges in adapting beloved characters into a cinematic reboot with an Oscar worthy screenplay.

There are plot holes so large the new 800 meter Enterprise could fly through them, and characterizations so shallow they make this 2D film look like 3D. And don’t get me started on the lack of strong female roles. Star Trek is far less than the runt of the litter in the company of films nominated, it is practically stillborn. While I’m not suggesting Avatar is 100% deserving of the company it has been nominated into, it holds its own as a coherent story, with complicated, if familiar, characters who follow a logical and dramatic story arc which produces emotional reactions throughout the movie, rather than just the first 10 minutes.

In my estimation, neither of these films deserves to be nominated by the WGA for best screenplay of any sort. But Star Trek is much farther out of it’s league than Avatar. As I mentioned earlier, at least Star Trek didn’t have to be considered in the same category as Avatar, because then it wouldn’t even be on the list. This way, it not only gains some notoriety, but can lose on its own merits, and save some face. But let’s not make more out of this than it is.

55. Michael Hall - January 13, 2010

Red Skirt–

If you hadn’t already mentioned in previous postings that you have a boyfriend, I’d be willing to propose on the spot. :-)

56. Star Trek Nominated For 2 Visual Effects Society Awards | Live Long and Propser - January 19, 2010

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