Susan Wloszczyna on the Prospects for Women at the Oscars

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 3:57 pm

My friend and fellow critic Susan Wloszczyna is covering the run-up to the Oscars for Women and Hollywood, and I particularly appreciated her thoughtful essay on the prospects for women nominees this year. Noting that only one woman has ever won the Best Director Oscar (and only a handful have been nominated), we may see some improvement as both Angelina Jolie (“Unbroken”) and Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) are likely to be nominated. She continues:

here are two other Oscar categories where women are also chronically under-represented, even though they have twice as many chances to appear on the ballot: adapted and original screenplay.

Since 1929, women — both solo and as co-writers — have won Academy Awards for an adapted screenplay just 10 times. Ruth Prawler Jhabvala triumphed twice, for 1985’s A Room With a View and 1992’s Howards End, and Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh, with director Peter Jackson, shared the honor for 2003’s Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

As for original screenplay, a category that began in 1940, women have taken the Oscar just seven times — three as co-writers and four solo….This year, sadly, only one script by a woman is seen by Oscar pundits as a likely candidate to make the ballot.

That would be Gone Girl, the psychological thriller based on the literary blockbuster by Gillian Flynn. The best-selling author wisely included a clause in her film-option deal that she would get first dibs on doing the initial draft of the screenplay. Instead of the studio simply placating her wishes, then shoving her aside — as is often the case — director David Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) used his considerable industry clout to keep her on board through the whole process.

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Gender and Diversity Understanding Media and Pop Culture
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