The playing field for women in film has, at least, been leveled in this year’s shortlist for the 2016 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.
Eleven individual screenwriters and one writing team have been shortlisted for this year’s honors — and seven out of 13 of them are women. That’s just more than half, a rarity in the competitive Hollywood environment.
Those odds are much better than what’s happening in the greater professional field of screenwriting, where women are outnumbered by more than three to one.
Writers on the shortlist are (in alphabetical order):
Michele Atkins, “Talking About the Sky” (Seattle, WA)
Josh Barkey, “Marlene the Divine” (Waxhaw, NC)
Beanie Barnes, “Little Toro” (New York, NY)
Todd Condie, “John Wayne Slept Here” (Brooklyn, NY)
Spencer Harvey and Lloyd Harvey, “Photo Booth” (Balgowlah, Australia)
Geeta Malik, “Dinner with Friends” (Los Angeles, CA)
Danielle Ownbey, “The Blast-Off Inn” (Glendale, CA)
Elizabeth Oyebode, “Tween the Ropes” (Sunnyvale, CA)
Justin Piasecki, “Death of an Ortolan” (Los Angeles, CA)
Michael Toner, “Hey Jude” (Van Nuys, CA)
Arun K. Vir, “Suburban Turban” (Los Angeles, CA)
Kirk Weddell, “Alone” (Wimbledon, England)
(Don’t let appearances fool you — Spencer Harvey, Beanie Barnes and Arun K. Vir are indeed women.)
The Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee are set to meet later this month to choose as many as five recipients of year-long fellowships. A total of 6,915 scripts were submitted to the competition this year.
The Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee is chaired by writer Robin Swicord, and marketing executive Buffy Shutt is vice chair. Writers Tina Gordon Chism, Naomi Foner, Eric Roth, Kirsten Smith and Tyger Williams represent other committee members, as well as actor Eva Marie Saint, animation director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, cinematographer John Bailey, executives Marcus Hu and Bill Mechanic, and producers Stephanie Allain, Albert Berger, Julia Chasman, Julie Lynn, Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro.
Fellowship winners get $35,000, the first installment of which is handed out at an awards presentation on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
For more information on the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, go here.