By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. film and television writers gave their top two movie awards on Sunday to romance "Midnight in Paris" and drama "The Descendants" in the final Hollywood guild awards show before next week's Oscars.
Writer-director Woody Allen won the Writers Guild of America award for best original screenplay with "Midnight in Paris," his tale of a young writer in Paris who faces questions of love.
"The Descendants," which tells of a man who brings his family together in a time of grief while his cheating wife is hospitalized, earned the WGA trophy for best adapted screenplay for writers Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.
The awards give both movies a lift in the race for the Oscars, the world's top film honors, because many guild members also belong to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that gives out the Oscars on February 26.
But the guilds have recognized a variety of films this year, making them an inexact forecaster for Oscar success. Earlier this year, the director and producer guilds put "The Artist" atop their list of best films, but "The Artist" was not eligible for a WGA trophy because it was created by French writers.
The Screen Actors Guild singled out the performers of civil rights drama "The Help" for its top honor, best ensemble cast, but the WGA went for "The Descendants" over "The Help" in the WGA's category for best adapted screenplay.
WGA voters did honor "The Help" writer and director Tate Taylor with a special award recognizing work that embodies the spirit of civil rights and liberties.
Backstage, Taylor told reporters the movie's success at box offices last summer and during the current award season had been "fantastic," and he called "The Help" a "labor of love."
"It's my first adaptation, which I think was a blessing because I just went for it," Taylor said.
The WGA also gave out an award to documentary movie "Better This World."
Best TV drama series went to "Breaking Bad," and the writers of "Modern Family" claimed the prize for TV comedy series. "Homeland" was named best new TV series.
(Reporting By Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Peter Cooney)