Click photo to enlarge

New York Times

NEW YORK -- "Captain Phillips" and "Her" were the best adapted and original screenplays of the year, according to the Writers Guild of America, which gave out its prizes in simultaneous ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles over the weekend.

Both Spike Jonze, whose "Her" tells the story of a man romancing his computer operating system, and Billy Ray, who adapted "Captain Phillips" from the true story of
Richard Phi
llips’ kidnapping by Somali pirates aboard the Maersk Alabama, accepted in Los Angeles.

"Stories We Tell," the filmmaker Sarah Polley’s examination of her own family, won in the documentary category. In TV, "Breaking Bad," "30 Rock," "The Simpsons," "House of Cards" and "The Colbert Report"were also winners.

The guild is an imperfect predictor of Oscar success -- leading candidates like "12 Years a Slave," with a screenplay by John Ridley, were not eligible for the prize because of guild membership rules, and "Stories We Tell" is not an Oscar nominee. But the awards are handed out in a lovably anti-ceremonious ceremony, because writers complain about their jobs even as they are being honored for them.

"Here’s the thing about you writers," Colin Quinn, the host in New York, said by way of greeting. "No one here knows this is your only suit, you bald, low-self-esteem bastards." (Quinn’s remarks have been edited for printability.) Writers are typically given short shrift on set, he noted. In reality, "I’m the alpha and omega of this business," Quinn, a guild member, riffed. "You treat me like this because I have a nervous condition and I dress badly and I have no upper body strength."

Quinn suggested some other prizes for future Writers Guild ceremonies: "Best leaked-to-Gawker screenplay. Best screenplay plagiarized by Shia LaBeouf. Best screenplay your agent skimmed. Most seconds in between Facebook checks."

And the Oscar-winning director Terry George had an idea for the form of the future WGA trophy: "I always thought it should be two hands with clumps of hair," he said.