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Writers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary Screenplay

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Writers Guild of America Award for Documentary Screenplay
Awarded forOutstanding Writing for a Documentary Film
CountryUnited States
Presented byWriters Guild of America
First awarded2005
Currently held byBrett Morgen for
Moonage Daydream (2022)

The Writers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary Screenplay is one of three screenwriting Writers Guild of America Awards focused specifically for film. The award is presented to the best screenplay of the year for a documentary feature.[1] It has been presented annually since the 57th Writers Guild of America Awards in 2005. Alex Gibney is the only person to win multiple awards, winning four. Gibney also holds the record for nominations with ten.

Winners and nominees[edit]


  • The year indicates when the film was released. The awards are presented the following year.


Year Film Writer(s)
Super Size Me Morgan Spurlock
Bright Leaves Ross McElwee
Control Room Julia Bacha and Jehane Noujaim
Home of the Brave Paola di Florio
The Hunting of the President Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry
In the Realms of the Unreal Jessica Yu
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room Alex Gibney; based on the book The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
Cowboy del Amor Michèle Ohayon
March of the Penguins Luc Jacquet and Michel Fessler (narration written by Jordan Roberts); based on the story by Luc Jacquet
Street Fight Marshall Curry
The Fall of Fujimori Ellen Perry, Zack Anderson, and Kim Roberts
Deliver Us from Evil Amy J. Berg
Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos Mark Monroe; story by Mark Monroe and John Dower
The Heart of the Game Ward Serrill
Who Killed the Electric Car? Chris Paine
Why We Fight Eugene Jarecki
Taxi to the Dark Side Alex Gibney
Nanking Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman, and Elisabeth Bentley; story by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman
No End in Sight Charles Ferguson
The Camden 28 Anthony Giacchino
The Rape of Europa Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham, and Bonni Cohen
Sicko Michael Moore
Waltz with Bashir Ari Folman
Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker
Chicago 10 Brett Morgen
Fuel Johnny O'Hara
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Alex Gibney; from the words of Hunter S. Thompson
The Cove Mark Monroe
Against the Tide Richard Trank; based on original material written by Richard Trank and Rabbi Marvin Hier
Capitalism: A Love Story Michael Moore
Earth Days Robert Stone
Good Hair Chris Rock, Jeff Stilson, Lance Crouther, and Chuck Sklar
Soundtrack for a Revolution Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman


Year Film Writer(s)
Inside Job Charles Ferguson; co-written by Chad Beck and Adam Bolt
Enemies of the People Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath
Freedom Riders Stanley Nelson Jr.; based in part on the book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault
Gasland Josh Fox
The Two Escobars Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist
Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)? John Scheinfeld
Better This World Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek
Nostalgia for the Light Patricio Guzmán
Pina Wim Wenders
Position Among the Stars Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich and Leonard Retel Helmrich
Senna Manish Pandey
Searching for Sugar Man Malik Bendjelloul
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God Alex Gibney
The Central Park Five Sarah Burns, David McMahon, and Ken Burns
The Invisible War Kirby Dick
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists Brian Knappenberger
West of Memphis Amy J. Berg and Billy McMillin
Stories We Tell Sarah Polley
Dirty Wars Jeremy Scahill and David Riker
Herblock: The Black & The White Sara Lukinson and Michael Stevens
No Place on Earth Janet Tobias and Paul Laikin
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks Alex Gibney
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz Brian Knappenberger
Finding Vivian Maier John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam Mark Bailey and Kevin McAlester
Red Army Gabe Polsky
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief Alex Gibney
Being Canadian Robert Cohen
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck Brett Morgen
Prophet's Prey Amy J. Berg
Command and Control Robert Kenner, Brian Pearle, Kim Roberts, and Eric Schlosser; based on the book Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser
Author: The JT LeRoy Story Jeff Feuerzeig
Zero Days Alex Gibney
Jane Brett Morgen
Betting on Zero Ted Braun
No Stone Unturned Alex Gibney
Oklahoma City Barak Goodman
Bathtubs Over Broadway Ozzy Inguanzo & Dava Whisenant
Fahrenheit 11/9 Michael Moore
Generation Wealth Lauren Greenfield
In Search of Greatness Gabe Polsky
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley Alex Gibney
Citizen K Alex Gibney
Foster Mark Jonathan Harris
Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People Robert Seidman and Oren Rudavsky
The Kingmaker Lauren Greenfield


Year Film Writer(s)
The Dissident Mark Monroe & Bryan Fogel
All In: The Fight for Democracy Jack Youngelson
Herb Albert Is... John Scheinfeld
Red Penguins Gabe Polsky
Totally Under Control Alex Gibney
Exposing Muybridge Marc Shaffer
Becoming Cousteau Mark Monroe & Pax Wasserman
Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres Suzanne Joe Kai


Moonage Daydream Brett Morgen
2nd Chance Ramin Bahrani
Downfall: The Case Against Boeing Mark Bailey and Keven McAlester
Last Flight Home Ondi Timoner
¡Viva Maestro! Theodore Braun


The Pigeon Tunnel Errol Morris
Bella! Jeff L. Lieberman
It Ain't Over Sean Mullin
Stamped from the Beginning David Teague; based on the book Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? John Scheinfeld

Writers with multiple awards[edit]

4 awards
2 awards

Writers with multiple nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "Documentary Film and Nonfiction Programming". Writers Guild of America West. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  2. ^ McNary, Dave (15 February 2005). "WGA serves up 1st doc kudo to 'Super'". Variety. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (1 February 2006). "WGA docu nods to 'Enron'". Variety. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  4. ^ Kay, Jeremy (16 January 2007). "WGA unveils nominees for documentary screenplay award". Screen Daily. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (11 February 2007). "'Departed' shines at WGA kudos". Variety. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  6. ^ Thielman, Sam; McNary, Dave (9 February 2008). "Cody, Coens bros. top WGA Awards". Variety. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  7. ^ Finke, Nikki (7 January 2009). "2009 WGA Awards Screen Nominees". Deadline. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave; Littleton, Cynthia (7 February 2009). "'Milk,' 'Slumdog' top WGA Awards". Variety. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  9. ^ "2010 Writers Guild Award Winners". TV Source Magazine. 21 February 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  10. ^ Fernandez, Jay A.; Szalai, Georg (5 February 2011). "'Inception,' 'Social Network' Win Top WGA Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  11. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (19 February 2012). "Writers Guild Awards: Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  12. ^ Kim, Wook (18 February 2013). "2013 WGA Awards: The Complete List Of Winners". Time. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (1 February 2014). "'Captain Phillips,' 'Her' Win Top Screenplay Awards". Variety. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  14. ^ McNary, Dave (14 February 2015). "'Grand Budapest Hotel,' 'True Detective' Top WGA Awards". Variety. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  15. ^ McNary, Dave (13 February 2016). "WGA Honors 'Big Short,' 'Spotlight,' 'Mad Men' at 68th Awards". Variety. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  16. ^ Littleton, Cynthia; McNary, Dave (19 February 2017). "WGA Awards: 'Moonlight,' 'Arrival' Win For Best Screenplay, 'Atlanta' Wins Twice". Variety. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  17. ^ "WGA Awards: The Complete Winners List". Variety. 11 February 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  18. ^ McNary, Dave (17 February 2019). "WGA Awards 2019 Winners: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?,' 'Eighth Grade' Win Screenplay Awards". Variety. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  19. ^ Lindhal, Chris (1 February 2020). "Writers Guild Awards 2020: 'Parasite' and 'JoJo Rabbit' Win Screenplay Awards". IndieWire. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Emerald Fennell wins best original screenplay, nominated for best director Oscars in feature debut 'Promising Young Woman'". ABC7 Los Angeles. April 25, 2021. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  21. ^ Lewis, Hilary (March 20, 2022). "WGA Awards: 'CODA,' 'Don't Look Up' Win Best Adapted, Original Screenplays". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  22. ^ Pedersen, Erik; Hipes, Patrick (March 5, 2023). "WGA Awards: 'Everything Everywhere All At Once' & 'Women Talking' Take Top Film Prizes – Full Winners List". Deadline. Retrieved April 13, 2024.

External links[edit]