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Writers Guild Awards: Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, and … Portlandia?!

Big winners at the WGAs last night.

Mark BoalIf you’re anything like me, you hear the word “guild” and you start thinking about ancient, secret societies of blacksmiths, and then you start thinking about a sweaty dude in an apron slamming a giant hammer into an anvil amid a hail of sparks, and then you start thinking about hammers in general, and then you start thinking about how surprising it was that the movie Thor slayed as hard as it did. And so if you are anything like me, you are an idiot, and you should wipe all that from your brain, because right now we’re talking about the Writers Guild Awards, a.k.a. the WGAs, which in actuality have really very little to do with sweaty dudes in aprons.

What they do have to do with is the Writers Guild of America, and their annual award ceremony — the one that went down last night, and the one that /Film calls the “last major pre-Oscars guild awards.” (Don’t let any idle thoughts of hammers creep in at the reappearance of the word “guild”! Fight all idle thoughts of hammers!) The big story is that Argo continued its award-season onslaught, and looks to rampage on to that Best Picture Oscar statuette, which would make it only the fourth film ever to take the top prize without also nabbing Best Director (the last one was Driving Miss Daisy. The other two were pre-WWII.)

The other big story is that, over in the television department, a couple of critical/cult favorites managed to sneak in and knock off the big dogs. Louie won the award for Best Comedy Series, its first major series award, which ended Modern Family’s two-year streak. In an even bigger upset, Portlandia managed to end the Daily Show/Colbert/SNL six-year reign over the Comedy/Variety category, which, as Deadline points out, is the show’s “first major award of any kind.” Also: Girls won Best New Series, but Girls is basically the Argo of TV awards at this point, so no one was too surprised.

A partial list of the night’s big winners is below. And the Golden Hammer* went to …

Zero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark Boal

Argo, Screenplay by Chris Terrio; Based on a selection from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and the Wired Magazine article “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman

Searching for Sugar Man, Written by Malik Bendjelloul

Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC

Louie, Written by Pamela Adlon, Vernon Chatman, Louis C.K.; FX

Girls, Written by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Lena Dunham, Sarah Heyward, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Jenni Konner, Deborah Schoeneman, Dan Sterling; HBO

“The Other Woman” (Mad Men), Written by Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner; AMC

“Virgin Territory” (Modern Family), Written by Elaine Ko; ABC

Portlandia, Writers: Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Karey Dornetto, Jonathan Krisel, Bill Oakley; IFC

*NOTE: The WGAs are not actually known, now or ever, as “the Golden Hammers.”