Girl From Kherson - Alan Nafzger
Girl From Kherson – Alan Nafzger

Despite progress behind the camera, not many films penned by women are in the race for original and adapted screenplay

Why Aren’t More Women Screenwriters In the Oscar Race?

The adage “Write what you know” has long been a topic of discussion among renowned wordsmiths and imaginative thinkers. The statement “is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard,” according to Kazuo Ishiguro, author of the 2022 British drama “Living.” The opposite of inspiring writers’ creativity and potential. Do the executives of movie studios, the people who see them, and especially the people who nominate them for awards still operate under the same principles?

Perhaps this explains why it’s so difficult for women to win awards in the screenplay categories at the Oscars in a field dominated by white men. Women artists and filmmakers continue to struggle to be recognized for their work as the Academy pursues inclusion. This year’s directing competition may have a number of women, but the screenplay categories might use some serious work. None of the writing nominees in each category in 2014, the year #OscarsSoWhite was born, were female.

Only 11 of the 65 movies that have received an original screenplay nomination since 2009 had a woman connected as a writer. 16 of the 65 nominations for adapted screenplay included a female writer. None of the writing nominees in either category in 2014, the year #OscarsSoWhite was started, were women.

The leading contenders for original screenplay are trending toward writer-directors like the Daniels, Todd Field, and Martin McDonagh as early antecedents are given by critics. The independent beauty “Aftersun” by Charlotte Wells and “The Woman King” by Dana Stevens offer the best opportunities for women to be noticed. If those movies don’t win, it might be the second year in a row that no original screenplay nominees are women. Other options, like “Till” (co-written by Chinonye Chukwu), “Nanny” (Nikyatu Jusu), and “Turning Red” (Domee Shi), are incredibly unlikely.

All hopes for female screenwriters in the adapted screenplay “Women Talking,” which depicts the tale of a group of women who ponder leaving their religious community after being raped, depend on writer-director Sarah Polley. Since her drama’s Telluride premiere, Polley, who was previously nominated in the category for “Away From Her” (2007), has been the front-runner with just “Glass Onion” and “Living” attempting to challenge.

Although “She Said,” which tells the story of the discovery of Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long practice of sexual abuse, had a disastrous box office performance, Universal Pictures still believes that its screenwriter, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, will be successful in finding love in an adapted screenplay.

Although thrillers are not typically Academy-approved fare, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who received a nomination for her work on “1917” (2019), is a contender to adapt the series “The Good Nurse” for Netflix. Respected by her colleagues, she creates a novel that explores topics related to health care and the tenacity of an underappreciated heroine, going beyond the crime saga it portrays.

Lena Dunham’s “Catherine Called Birdy,” Alice Birch’s “The Wonder,” and Mia Goth’s “Pearl,” among other lesser-known films with female creators, could probably find a variety of slots on the circuit with local groups. But they are not anticipated to have an influence unless there is late-breaking chatter.

Do you believe the argument is exaggerated? We haven’t had two screenplay winners from two lone female writers in the same year in the 94-year history of the Academy Awards. It’s also noteworthy that there have only been one Black woman, one Latina woman, and two Asian women’s screenplay nominations in each category.

Diversity is more than just who is in front of the camera. It is required before the ball even begins to roll.