Ball, a TV sitcom writer, also won the Golden Globe for "American Beauty" and is nominated for an Oscar for his script.
The Writers Guild also honored Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for best screenplay previously produced or published for their adaptation of Tom Perrotta's novel, "Election." The team is also nominated for an Oscar in this category.
On the television side, Jerry Ludwig won for best original long form for the A&E movie "Dash and Lilly," a dramatization of the relationship between Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman.
David Black picked up best adapted long form for the Cinemax thriller "The Confession," based on the novel "Fertig" by Sol Yurick.
HBO's "The Sopranos" continued its winning way, with Jason Cahill being honored for his "Meadowlands" episode of the cable mob drama. Jay Kogen picked up the comedy award for the "Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz" episode of NBC's "Frasier."
* Screenplay written directly for the screen: Alan Ball, "American Beauty."
* Screenplay based on material previously produced or published: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, "Election," based on the novel by Tom Perrotta.
* Original long form: Jerry Ludwig, "Dash & Lilly," A&E
* Adapted long form: David Black, "The Confession," based on the novel "Fertig," by Sol Yurick, Cinemax
* Episodic drama: Jason Cahill, "Meadowlands" ("The Sopranos"), HBO
* Episodic comedy: Jay Kogen, "Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz" ("Frasier"), NBC
* Comedy/Variety Music, Awards, Tributes, Specials Any Length: Bob Shrum and George Stevens Jr., film sequences by Sara Lukinson, "The Kennedy Center Honors," CBS
* Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) Series: Jonathan Groff, Jon Glaser, Conan O'Brien, Andy Richter, Mike Sweeney, Michael Gordon, Brian Kiley, Brian Stack, Chris Albers, Brian McCann, Ellen Barancik, Janine Di Tullio, Andy Blitz, Tommy Blacha, Brian Reich, Vernon Chatman and Roy Jenkins, "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," NBC
* Daytime Serials: Sally Sussman Morina, Dena Higley, Marlene Clark Poulter, Dorothy Ann Purser, Victor Gialanella, Meredith Post, Peter Brash, Peggy Schibi, Fran Myers, Maralyn Thoma, Joyce Rosenblad, Bruce Neckels and Sofia Landon Geier, "Days of Our Lives," NBC
* Children's Scripts: Wendy Biller & Christopher Hawthorne, "Sea People," Showtime
* Documentary Current Events: Michael Kirk & Peter J. Boyer, "Give War a Chance" ("Frontline"), PBS
* Documentary Other Than Current Events: Stephen Stept, "Hoover Dam" ("The American Experience"), PBS
* News Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin or Breaking Report: Lori A. Bores, "20/20 Wednesday," ABC
* News Analysis, Feature or Commentary: Lori A. Bores, "A Special Delivery" ("20/20"), ABC
* Radio Documentary: Julia Kathan, "The Drug Score," ABC News Radio
* News Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin or Breaking Report: Ruth Stein Davis, "World News This Week," ABC News Radio
* News Analysis, Feature or Commentary: Mike Silverstein, "The Last Polka in Cleveland" ("Perspective"), ABC News Radio
* On-Air Promotion: Christian McLaughlin, "NBC Promotions," NBC
* Graphic Art: Beth Leudesdorf & John Haubrich, "CBS News Time 100," CBS
* Screen Laurel Award: Jean-Claude Carriere
* Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television: Paul Monash
* Valentine Davies Award: Alan Alda
* Morgan Cox Award: Ann Marcus
* Paul Selvin Award: Erich Roth and Michael Mann for "The Insider"
* Evelyn F. Burkey Award: Vaclav Havel
* Ian McLellan Hunter Award: Herb Gardner
* Richard B. Jablow Award: Ruth Gallo.