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Thursday March 14, 2024

Ron Nyswaner to Receive the WGA East’s Walter Bernstein Award at 76th Annual Writers Guild Awards

NEW YORK, NY (March 14, 2024) – Ron Nyswaner will be honored with the Writers Guild of America East’s Walter Bernstein Award at the 76th Annual Writers Guild Awards at New York’s Edison Ballroom on Sunday, April 14, 2024.

Named in honor of one of the Writers Guild of America East’s most distinguished and courageous members, the Walter Bernstein Award is presented to honor writers who have demonstrated with creativity, grace and bravery a willingness to confront social injustice in the face of adversity.

A multi-decade WGAE member, Ron Nyswaner is a writer and producer of powerful, issue-driven pieces. Most recently, Nyswaner created and produced the Showtime miniseries FELLOW TRAVELERS. Based on the novel by Thomas Mallon, the story follows the volatile romance of two men who meet in 1950s Washington DC, just as Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn initiate the Lavender Scare, declaring war on “subversives and sexual deviants.” 

His feature film PHILADELPHIA was the first major Hollywood film to focus on the discrimination suffered by people with AIDS and was among the first to feature a homosexual main character. The trailblazing 1993 film earned Nyswaner “Original Screenplay” nominations at the Academy Awards and Writers Guild Awards. 

Whether it’s 1950’s McCarthyism, murder on a military base, justice in a Philadelphia courtroom, American counterintelligence post-September 11, or the conflict between religious faith and AIDS activism, his work resonates timelessly across a wide variety of lived and shared experiences.

Nyswaner’s feature films also include MY POLICEMAN, FREEHELD, SMITHEREENS, MRS. SOFFEL, SOLDIER’S GIRL, and THE PAINTED VEIL. In television, he has written and produced on acclaimed series RAY DONOVAN and HOMELAND, and executive produced the documentary series MURDER ON MIDDLE BEACH.

Nyswaner has been honored for his LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS activism, receiving the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Vanguard Award and the Ryan White Youth Service Award, among others. 

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, President of the Writers Guild of America East, said, “Ron is a trailblazer in the truest sense of the word. He placed LGBTQ+ characters firmly in the spotlight long before Hollywood considered those stories acceptable or commercial. He changed that perception by pulling in audiences with powerful plots, riveting worlds and good old-fashioned love stories, underscored by social commentary rooted in historical truth. By giving voice to trans stories, Ron elevated stories many were unable — or unwilling — to tell. We’re so proud to have him as a Writers Guild member, and to present him with this award.” 

“I’m incredibly honored by this award named after Walter Bernstein,” said Nyswaner, “a brilliant writer who epitomized courage, integrity, and compassion, and grateful to my colleagues in the WGAE for giving it to me. I hope I can live up to it.”

In 2017, Jelani Cobb became the inaugural recipient of the Walter Bernstein Award. Cobb’s FRONTLINE documentary POLICING THE POLICE explores the complexities involved in reforming the Newark Police Department and its fractured relationship with the community.

Walter Bernstein became a member of the Writers Guild of America East in December 1954. He was among the writers named to Hollywood’s infamous Blacklist in the 1950s and spent the next decade writing under various pseudonyms. He would lampoon the use of “fronts” in his Oscar-nominated screenplay for THE FRONT (1976), a cinematic classic about a small-time bookie (Woody Allen) who becomes the stand-in for a group of blacklisted writers. THE FRONT won the Writers Guild Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen in 1977.

Bernstein’s writing consistently elevated political and social issues to mainstream audiences in films like FAIL-SAFE, a 1964 Cold War thriller film directed by Sidney Lumet about how misinformation leads to an impending nuclear catastrophe between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the Emmy-winning MISS EVERS’ BOYS (1997), which told the true story about how the U.S. government used poor, rural black men as guinea pigs to test the effects of syphilis.

The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, news, radio, and promotional categories. The 2024 Writers Guild Awards (76th Annual) will be presented at concurrent ceremonies on Sunday, April 14, 2024, in New York City at the Edison Ballroom and in Los Angeles. 

For media inquiries about the 2024 WGA New York show, please contact Jason Gordon in the WGAE Communications Department at (212) 767-7809 or email:

For media inquiries about the 2024 WGA Los Angeles show, please contact Bob Hopkinson in the WGAW Communications Department at (310) 801-8563 or email:

The Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media and broadcast news. The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of their members; conduct programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America East, visit For more information on the Writers Guild of America West, visit


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