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Women Dominate as Academy Unveils Nicholl Screenwriting Winners

Each recipient gets a $35,000 prize

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the six winners of the 2016 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition Thursday — and two-thirds of them are women.

The winners, four individuals and one writing team, are:

Michele Atkins, “Talking About the Sky” (Seattle, WA)
Spencer Harvey and Lloyd Harvey, “Photo Booth” (Balgowlah, Australia)
Geeta Malik, “Dinner with Friends” (Los Angeles, CA)
Elizabeth Oyebode, “Tween the Ropes” (Sunnyvale, CA)
Justin Piasecki, “Death of an Ortolan” (Los Angeles, CA)

Each winner will receive a $35,000 prize, the first part of which will be doled out at the awards presentation and live read on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. For the fourth year in a row, selected scenes from the honored scripts will be read by an ensemble of actors at the event.

The honorees are tasked with completing a feature-length screenplay during their fellowship year. The Academy acquires no rights to the screenplays and does not take any commercial role in the projects.

This year’s submissions totaled 6,915 scripts. Eleven individuals and one team were named to a shortlist, and the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee chose the winners.

Writer Robin Swicord chairs the committee, and marketing executive Buffy Shutt is its vice chair. The remaining members include writers Tina Gordon Chism, Naomi Foner, Eric Roth, Misan Sagay, Kirsten Smith and Tyger Williams; 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.

The program has awarded 147 fellowships since it started in 1986.