Little Miss Sunshine’s Oscar chances keep looking brighter!

Sunshine, Departed Have Write Moves
The little indie comedy about an oddball family road-tripping to a kiddie beauty pageant came up big at the 2007 Writers Guild Awards Sunday, with the film’s mastermind, newcomer Michael Arndt, taking home the prize for Best Original Screenplay.
Veteran scribe William Monahan scored the hardware for Best Adapted Screenplay for his high-octane script for Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, a crime thriller based on the popular Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs about two molesóa Massachusetts undercover cop and a mob informant who infiltrate each others’ respective organizations.
The honors, doled out annually by the Writers Guild of America, officially confer frontrunner status on both films in their respective categories at this year’s Oscars, which are due to be handed out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater on Feb. 25.
Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed are also considered the favorites to win Best Picture after sweeping through the guild awards.
The formeróthe feature debut of music video directors Jonathan Farris and Valerie Faris and starring Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslinóhas already snagged Best Picture props from the Producer’s Guild of America and Best Ensemble from the Screen Actors Guild, while the latter flick garnered Scorsese his first Directors Guild of America trophy.
At the Oscars, they’ll vie for Best Picture against Letters from Iwo Jima, The Queen and Babel.
In accepting his accolade, Arndt gave thanks to producers Marc Turtletaub, Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa for sticking by a virtual unknown and defending his vision during what was a long and tortuous development process.
“They spent five years trying to protect this script from studio notes,” the screenwriter said.
Arndt, who started out as an assistant on the Matthew Broderick movie Addicted to Love, had previously earned a living as a script reader.
Meanwhile, Carell, who plays a suicidal gay Proust scholar in Little Miss Sunshine, collected some hardware of his own from his day at NBC’s The Office.
He and his fellow show writers received the award for Best Comedy Series, and he was singled out for Best Episodic Comedy for penning the episode “Casino Night.”
Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer pilot for HBO’s Big Love was tapped for Best Episodic Drama, while The Sopranos was named Best Dramatic Series for creator David Chase & Co. Long-Form Writing went to Nevin Schreiner for A&E’s 9/11 drama, Flight 93.
The writing staff for ABC’s Ugly Betty took home the award for Best New Series.
The guild bestowed Best Documentary Screenplay honors to Amy Berg’s Deliver Us from Evil, a searing examination of sexual abuse committed by a priest and the impact it has had on his victims and their families. The movie has also been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary.
Here’s a list of all the 2007 WGA movie and TV winners:
Original Screenplay: Little Miss Sunshine
Adapted Screenplay: The Departed
Documentary Screenplay: Deliver Us from Evil
Dramatic Series: The Sopranos, HBO
Comedy Series: The Office, NBC
New Series: Ugly Betty, ABC
Episodic Drama: Big Love, HBO
Episodic Comedy: “Casino Night,” The Office, NBC
Long-Form Original: Flight 93, A&E
Animation: “The Italian Bob,” The Simpsons, Fox
Comedy/Variety-Music, Awards, Tributes-Specials: The National Memorial Day Concert, PBS
Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) Series: Saturday Night Live
Daytime Serials: As the World Turns, CBS
Children’s Episodic & Specials: Premiere (Just for Kicks), Nickelodeon
Documentary-Current Events: The Dark Side, PBS Frontline
Documentary-Other Than Current Events: Marie Antoinette, PBS
News-Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin or Breaking Report: Remembering Lou Rawls, CBS News
NewsóAnalysis, Feature Or Commentary: Crisis Management (America’s Investigative Reports), PBS