AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card For adapted screenplay, Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana for “Brokeback Mountain” won over Dan Futterman for “Capote,” Jeffrey Caine for “The Constant Gardener,” Josh Olson for “A History of Violence” and Steven Gaghan for “Syriana.” “This is truly amazing. The fact that we’re in such stellar company makes it all the more amazing,” Ossana said. Two days prior to the awards ceremony, screenplay nominees from both categories gathered at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills for a free-ranging panel discussion about their films. Ossana said bringing “Brokeback” to the screen was a seven-year journey that began when she read and fell in love with the short story by Annie Proulx on which the movie is based. “I wanted to get it out into the world in a major, major way,” Ossana said. “The best way I could think of was to write a script and get a film made. I thought, ‘This has the potential to be really, really powerful.”‘ The writers of “Crash” and “Brokeback Mountain” won top honors at the 2006 Writers Guild of America awards during ceremonies held simultaneously Saturday in Hollywood and New York. “Crash” writers Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco triumphed in the original screenplay category over other nominees Cliff Hollingsworth and Akiva Goldsman for “Cinderella Man,” Judd Apatow and Steve Carell for “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” George Clooney and Grant Heslov for “Good Night, and Good Luck” and Noah Baumbach for “The Squid and the Whale.” In his acceptance speech, Moresco dedicated the award to “every writer that sits at 4 a.m. at his desk and knows and believes that he belongs in another business but writes the next line anyway.” Moresco added: “To say our film is even a little bit better than some of these other films is just nuts. It’s not a competition and we all know it.” For Haggis, the seeds for “Crash” were planted by a carjacking. One night he was awake at 2 a.m. thinking about the robbery and his assailants. “I started asking myself questions like, ‘Who did they bump into?’ I kept following them and by 10 a.m., I had the whole story,” said Haggis, whose film has the characters played by Brendan Fraser and Sandra Bullock being carjacked by two men. When Gaghan decided to develop his script for “Syriana,” it required traveling to the Middle East to do research, and during this process, he said, many good stories presented themselves. “I just didn’t know anything about the worlds I was writing about,” Gaghan said. “Beirut? Is that east of the 405? I looked at it as a big adventure.” Gaghan, a WGA and Academy Award winner for his screenplay of “Traffic,” had learned enough that when he sat down in a Paris cafe, powered by about seven cups of coffee, the story just poured out of him in about two hours. “The gift of this job is to just keep learning,” Gaghan said. Heslov said he and his old friend Clooney had been looking for something to write together and finally decided on a movie focusing on journalist Edward R. Murrow’s showdowns with Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the violation of civil liberties that were taking place at that time. “George’s father (Nick Clooney) is a broadcast journalist, so when he grew up Murrow was a hero in their house,” Heslov said. “You research and you listen to those speeches and you can’t help but think of how it applies to today. We didn’t know who was going to be president at the time.” Greg Hernandez, (818) 713-3758 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!