BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- 'Terms of Endearment,' favored to win most of the Oscars at next week's ceremonies, won a screenplay award Thursday night from the Writers Guild of America.
The 36th annual WGA awards ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton Hotel also gave writing awards to Academy Award contenders 'The Big Chill,' 'Tender Mercies' and 'Reuben, Reuben.'
James L. Brooks' screenplay for 'Terms of Endearment' -- his first film effort -- took the award for best comedy adapted from another medium. Brooks wrote, produced and directed from the Larry McMurtry novel.
Brooks has already been honored by the Directors Guild of America and the Los Angeles Film Critics for his work on the movie. He was co-creator of the popular 'Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'Lou Grant,' 'Taxi' and 'Rhoda.'
Lawrence Kasdan and Barbara Benedek won the writers award for 'The Big Chill,' which was nominated in the category of best comedy written directly for the screen. The Kasdan-Benedek team beat out Woody Allen's 'Zelig' and Paul Brickman's 'Risky Business' for the prize.
Horton Foote's 'Tender Mercies' was named best original drama and Julius J. Epstein was honored for 'Reuben, Reuben' in the category of best drama adapted from another medium. Foote's work was based on a novel by Peter DeVries and the play 'Spofford' by Herman Shumlin.
The writing teams of Norman Panama and Melvin Frank and Melville Shavelson and Jack Rose were honored for their career screen writing achievements. Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee were cited for their long-time contributions in the entertainment community.
The Paddy Chayefsky Award for television writing achievement was awarded to John Gay.
In the television and radio categories the winners were:
Original drama anthology: Marshall Herskovitz for the teleplay 'Special Bulletin,' based on a story by him and Edward Zwick;
Adapted drama anthology: Ossie Davis and J. Kenneth Rotcop for their teleplay 'For Us, the Living: The Story of Medgar Evers,' based on a book by Evers' widow, Myrlie, and William Peters.
Original comedy anthology: Lila Garrett and Anne Meara for 'The Other Woman.'
Episodic comedy: shared by Glen Charles and Les Charles for 'Give Me a Ring Sometime,' which was the pilot for the hit 'Cheers' series, and by Ken Levine and David Isaacs for 'The Boys in the Bar,' itself a 'Cheers' episode.
Episodic drama: David Milch for 'Trial by Fury,' a 'Hill Street Blues' episode.
Multi-Part Series: Robert Boris for 'Blood Feud,' part two.
Variety: George Stevens Jr. and Joseph McBride for 'The American Film Salute to John Huston.'
Childrens: Shared by Arthur Heinemann for 'The Woman Who Willed a Miracle' and Jon Stone and Joseph A. Bailey for 'Big Bird in China.'
Current Events Documentary: Theodore Bogosian for 'The Cobalt Blues.'
Feature Documentary: Jonathan Ward for '1984 Revisited.'
TV Spot News: Mervin Block for 'A Selection of TV Spot News Scripts.'
Daytime Serial: Claire Labine, Paul Avila Mayer, Mary Ryan Munisteri and Nancy Ford for 'Ryan's Hope.'
Radio Documentary: Norman S. Morris and Peter Freundlich for 'Exploring America: A Passage by Rail.'
Radio Spot News: Gil Longin for 'World News This Week' of March 27, 1983.
Radio Drama: Joan Young and Dennis Whitcomb for 'A Family Affair,' a Heartbeat Theater episode.