Los Angeles - The CIA thrillers Argo and Zero Dark Thirty have won top screenplay honors from the Writers Guild of America.
The guild's adapted screenplay award on Sunday went to Chris Terrio for Argo, director Ben Affleck's tale of the CIA's daring masquerade of six US diplomats as a Hollywood film crew to rescue them from Iran during the hostage crisis there.
Mark Boal won the prize for original screenplay for Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow's chronicle of the CIA's manhunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Director Malik Bendjelloul won the documentary award for Searching for Sugar Man, his portrait of acclaimed but largely forgotten 1970s musician Rodriguez.
The guild was the last of Hollywood's major trade unions to weigh in on the year's top films before next Sunday's Academy Awards.
Argo has emerged as the best-picture favourite for the Oscars after sweeping top prizes at earlier film honours, including the Golden Globes and awards from the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild of America.
Among the guild's TV winners:
- Drama series: Breaking Bad, written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz and Moira Walley-Beckett.
- Comedy series: Louie, written by Pamela Adlon, Vernon Chatman and Louis C.K.
- New series: Girls, written by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Lena Dunham, Sarah Heyward, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Jenni Konner, Deborah Schoeneman and Dan Sterling.
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