Ron Nyswaner '81 Wins WGA's Walter Bernstein Award

Joséphine Simonian
April 02, 2024

Film alumnus and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner '81 is receiving this year’s Walter Bernstein Award from the Writers Guild of America East. The award will be presented on April 14, 2024 at the WGA Awards East Coast ceremony in New York. 

Nyswaner has written many highly regarded films including Smithereens, Swing Shift, Mrs Soffel, Love Hurts, and Why Stop Now, but he is perhaps most well known for Philadelphia (directed by Jonathan Demme), the first major motion picture to focus on the discrimination suffered by people with AIDS, The Painted Veil, and most recently the Showtime miniseries Fellow Travelers

The Bernstein Award goes to writers “who have demonstrated with creativity, grace and bravery a willingness to confront social injustice in the face of adversity,” a description that, according to the WGAE, fits Nyswaner perfectly. 

“Ron is a trailblazer in the truest sense of the word,” said WGAE president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen. “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.”  

Learn more about the Writers Guild Awards here