Academy's Nicholl Fellowships Go to California, Oklahoma Writers

Five winning scripts, chosen from field of almost 7,000 entries, will receive $30,000 prizes

Six writers from California and one from Oklahoma have been named recipients of the 2011 Nicholl Fellowships,  the Academy's screenwriting awards that go to aspiring writers.

The Academy announced the winners on Tuesday, with five winning scripts chosen from  a record 6,730 submissions. Three of the scripts are from Southern California-based writers, one from a Central California team, and one from Altus, Oklahoma.

Each winning writer or team will receive a $30,000 prize. The awards will be handed out at a dinner in Beverly Hills on November 3, at which the keynote address will be delivered by David Seidler, the Oscar-winning writer of "The King's Speech."

Past winners of the award, the full name of which is the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, include Susannah Grant ("Erin Brockovich"), Ehren Kruger ("Transformers: Dark of the Moon"), Mike Rich ("Secretariat") and Andrew W. Marlowe (the TV series "Castle").

Nicholl Fellowships are selected by the Nicholl Committee, which this year was chaired by producer Gale Anne Hurd and was made up of writers Naomi Foner, Daniel Petrie Jr., Tom Rickman and Dana Stevens; actor Eva Marie Saint; cinematographers John Bailey and Steven Poster; costume designer Vicki Sanchez; executive Bill Mechanic; producers Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro; marketing executive Buffy Shutt; and agent Ronald R. Mardigan.

The winning writers and screenplays:

Chris Bessounian and Tianna Langham, Los Angeles: "Guns and Saris"
Dion Cook, Altus, Oklahoma: "Cutter"
John MacInnes, Los Angeles: "Outside the Wire"
Matthew Murphy, Culver City, CA: "Unicorn"
Abel Vang and Burlee Vang, Fresno, CA: "The Tiger's Child"