Past recipients of the WGAW’s Laurel Award for Screen include Horton Foote, David Mamet, Lawrence Kasdan, Robert Benton, Budd Schulberg, Barry Levinson, and, most recently, Steven Zaillian.
“In a career that spans over four decades, Eric Roth’s work – from Forrest Gump to The Insider, Ali, The Good Shepard, Benjamin Button, and this year’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – has traced the larger span of our history and the smaller, individual arcs of the human life. With poetry and humor, he has illuminated time and love and moral responsibility. He has made going to the movies both a stirring emotional education and a true joy,” stated WGAW President Christopher Keyser in the press release.
Eric Roth’s Biography and Screen Credits [Courtesy of the WGAW]:
Acclaimed for his screenwriting skill in both adapted and original work,
Roth won both Academy and Writers Guild Awards for his adapted screenplay for the Oscar-winning Best Picture Forrest Gump (based on the novel by Winston Groom), also earning Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for his work on the film. In December, Forrest Gump was among 25 iconic films selected by the Library of Congress for the 2011 additions to the National Film Registry for preservation due to “their enduring significance to American culture.”
Roth shared his second Oscar, Golden Globe, and WGA nominations with director Michael Mann for the adapted screenplay of the Best Picture Oscar-nominated film, The Insider (written by Eric Roth & Michael Mann, based on the article “The Man Who Knew Too Much” by Marie Brenner). Roth & Mann also earned both the WGAW’s Paul Selvin Award, honoring scripts which embody constitutional and civil rights, and the Humanitas Prize in 2000. In 2006, he shared Oscar, Golden Globe, and Writers Guild Award nominations for the adapted screenplay of the Academy Award-nominated for Best Picture Munich (screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, based on the novel Vengeance by George Jonas) and, in 2009, for his screen adaption of the Academy Award-nominated for Best Picture The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (screenplay by Eric Roth, screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.)
Roth’s first produced feature screenplay was for the film The Nickel Ride, which premiered at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival. His subsequent writing and co-writing credits over the years have included Suspect, Memories of Me (written by Eric Roth & Billy Crystal), Mr. Jones (written by Eric Roth and Michael Cristofer, story by Eric Roth), The Horse Whisperer (screenplay by Eric Roth and Richard LaGravanese, based upon the novel by Nicholas Evans), Ali (screenplay by Stephen J. Rivele & Christopher Wilkinson and Eric Roth & Michael Mann, story by Gregory Allen Howard), The Good Shepherd, and Lucky You (screenplay by Eric Roth & Curtis Hanson, story by Eric Roth). According to Roth, one of his proudest career accomplishments was having written for legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa on one of Kurosawa’s last films, 1991’s Rhapsody in August.
Most recently, Roth adapted Jonathan Safran Foer’s 9/11-themed bestseller Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close into a feature film for Warner Bros., directed by Stephen Daldry and starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.
Currently, Roth is at work penning an original outer space-themed feature film for Warner Bros., as well as serving co-executive producer on David Milch’s new HBO drama series Luck, starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, and Roth is also executive producing the political suspense series House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, directed/executive produced by David Fincher, produced by Media Rights Capital (MRC), and distributed by Netflix, marking the company’s first major venture into original series programming.
Born in 1945 in Manhattan, raised in Brooklyn, and a WGAW member since 1971, Roth attended the University of California, Santa Barbara (where he was given a Distinguished Alumni Award), Columbia University, and UCLA, where he received the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award in 1970. In 2008, he was honored with the Distinguished Achievement in Screenwriting Award from UCLA’s School Of Theater, Film and Television. In 2010, Roth received USC’s Scripter Literary Achievement Award for “his sustained contributions to the art of the film adaptation.”
Roth has five children and six grandchildren. His daughter, documentary filmmaker Vanessa Roth, earned a 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short for her film Freeheld. Roth lives in Malibu with his wife, Debra Greenfield, a lawyer and bioethicist who is an Associate Professor at UCLA in the Society and Genetics department.
Source: WGAW – January 9, 2012