The best awards shows to watch (and presumably to attend) are the ones with open bars, and it looks like the 2017 Writers Guild Awards, held Sunday night in dual ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York, falls into that category. Some movies and television shows won some awards—not all winners had been announced at press time, although Arrival had won Best Adapted Screenplay—but the real news was a brazen shoe heist.* Comedian and criminally underrated actor Patton Oswalt hosted the Los Angeles ceremony while clutching a double old-fashioned glass filled to the brim with what appeared to be scotch—which no doubt came in handy after he was the victim of the most vicious on-camera shoe theft in decades. Oswalt’s opening monologue, keyed to the early days of the Trump Administration, struck an apocalyptic tone:
Welcome to the last-ever WGA Awards, ladies and gentlemen! Every statuette comes with a month’s worth of firewood, some antibiotics, and nine shotgun shells!
But one guest wasn’t having it. James Woods, whose politics are somewhere to the right of Donald Trump, was there to present an award to Oliver Stone, and when Oswalt mentioned him—saying he would go easy on Trump “because I don’t want to be kicked to death by James Woods backstage,”—the heckling began. “Buy a pair of shoes!” Woods yelled from his table, before climbing up on stage and stealing Oswalt’s clunky right shoe. “Didn’t you see Crazy, Wonderful Love, or whatever it was called? Get some shoes!” (It was called Crazy, Stupid, Love, and Woods was thinking of the scene below.)
After relinquishing the shoe, Woods told the audience that he’d lost half his Twitter followers by attending the event. “Wow! All those egg avatars gone? That’s terrible!” Oswalt rejoined, as Woods took his seat. But Oswalt closed the exchange on a conciliatory note, telling him, “I loved you in The Onion Field.” An un-mic’ed Woods appeared to say, “I’m a big fan of yours,” before proclaiming that they’d achieved détente.
Despite the suspicious ease with which Oswalt’s shoe came off, the comedian claimed on Twitter that the incident wasn’t staged:
Planned or not, one thing was clear: Woods may be very, very wrong about politics, but to all appearances, he’s right about shoes.
*Update, Feb. 19, 2017: Moonlight won Best Original Screenplay, which is great news, but isn’t quite as compelling a story as the shoe heist.