News Release: February 8, 2023
Visionary Filmmaker Charlie Kaufman to Receive WGAW’s 2023 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement
2023 Award Recipient
Acclaimed writer, director, producer, and author Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter of the Writers Guild Award and Academy Award-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has been named the recipient of the Writers Guild of America West’s 2023 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement.
The Guild’s lifetime achievement award is presented to members who have “advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter.”
Kaufman’s writing career began on the early ‘90s cult classic sitcom Get a Life, and he spent much the ‘90s working in comedy and sketch television before transitioning into film. Kaufman was nominated for a Writers Guild Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his 1999 groundbreaking screenplay Being John Malkovich, for which Kaufman won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. Kaufman’s 2001 screenplay, Human Nature, marked his first pairing with surrealist director Michel Gondry.
In 2002 Kaufman wrote two high-profile adaptations: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, based on Chuck Barris’ questionable unauthorized autobiography of the same name, and the meta comedy Adaptation, about Kaufman’s own struggles adapting Susan Orlean's acclaimed novel The Orchid Thief. Adaptation earned Kaufman his second Writers Guild Award and second Academy Award.
His second collaboration with Michel Gondry, 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind won Kaufman both a Writers Guild Award and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. In 2008, Kaufman won a second Independent Spirit Award, this time for directing his post-modern psychological drama Synecdoche, New York. He would also receive recognition for directing the stop-motion adult animated film Anomalisa, which was nominated for best animated feature at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Annie Awards. His most recent feature is 2020’s surrealist thriller I’m Thinking of Ending Things based on the novel by Iain Reid. 2020 also saw Kaufman publish his first novel Antkind.
A true visionary, Kaufman’s legacy is undeniable with Being John Malkovich listed 74th on the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays of All Time, and Adaptation. and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind both appearing on the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far) list.
Past Screen Laurel Award recipients include Nancy Meyers, James L. Brooks, Elaine May, Oliver Stone, Harold Ramis, David Mamet, Paul Mazursky, Lawrence Kasdan, Eric Roth, Steven Zaillian, Robert Towne, and Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel.