HOLLYWOOD -- Three first-time screenwriters and three novelists who helped adapt their own books for the screen are among the Writers Guild of America nominees for best screenplays of 1991.
Included among the guild's nominees announced at a news conference yesterday are the writers of some of the more frequently mentioned choices for best picture in the upcoming Oscar competition, including "Bugsy," "JFK," "The Prince of Tides" and "The Silence of the Lambs."
The first-time screenwriters nominated are John Singleton for "Boyz N the Hood," Callie Khouri for "Thelma & Louise" and Meg Kasdan, who shares writing credit with her husband and veteran writer-director Lawrence Kasdan, for "Grand Canyon." All are nominated in the best original screenplay category.
Joining them in that category are previously produced screenwriters James Toback for "Bugsy" and Richard LaGravenese for "The Fisher King."
At least three of the nominees inspired national debates on the subjects they presented: "JFK," which chronicled conspiracy theories in the assassination of President Kennedy; "Thelma & Louise," a female buddy picture that put women in traditionally male roles; and "Boyz N the Hood," a realistic drama set in gang-torn South-Central Los Angeles that stressed pro-family, pro-education and anti-violence attitudes.
Reached by telephone yesterday, Singleton said the nomination for the screenplay that he wrote while a film student at the University of Southern California "feels good. That's what I went to school for -- to be a screenwriter."
Singleton said he believes the nomination is a recognition that "cinema reflects the reality of life."
Khouri, contacted at home, said she was "thrilled" about being recognized by her peers. "I hope the subject matter had as much to do with the nomination as craft," she said. "I was trying to tell a story with two women in it that we hadn't seen before."
Winners of the guild's 44th annual screen awards, as well as television and radio writing awards, will be announced March 22 at banquets in Los Angeles and New York. Carl Reiner will emcee in Los Angeles.