Charlie Kaufman To Receive WGA West’s Laurel Award

Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman will be this year’s recipient of the WGA West’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement. The lifetime achievement award, which goes to members who have “advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter,” will be presented March 5 during the 75th annual Writers Guild Awards at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

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“A true visionary, Kaufman’s legacy is undeniable,” the guild said.

He won an Oscar and a WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay for 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and received Oscar and WGA nominations for Being John Malkovich and Adaptation and another Oscar nom for the animated feature Anomalisa.

Kaufman’s writing career began in the early 1990s on the TV sitcom Get a Life, and he spent much the decade working in comedy and sketch television before transitioning to film.

His 2001 screenplay, Human Nature, marked his first pairing with surrealist director Michel Gondry, and they collaborated again three years later on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

In 2002 Kaufman wrote two high-profile adaptations: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, based on The Gong Show host Chuck Barris’ questionable unauthorized autobiography, and the comedy Adaptation, about Kaufman’s own struggles adapting Susan Orlean’s novel The Orchid Thief. 

His most recent feature was 2020’s surrealist thriller I’m Thinking of Ending Things, which was based on the novel by Iain Reid. That year also saw Kaufman publish his first novel Antkind.

Past Screen Laurel Award recipients include Nancy Meyers, 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.

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