‘Booksmart,’ ‘Little Women’ nominated for Writers Guild Awards

Kaitlyn Dever stars as Amy and Beanie Feldstein as Molly in Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, Booksmart, an Annapurna Pictures release.

Women make up about 30 percent of nominees being recognized by the Writers Guild of America for writing feature films in 2019. Of 23 total nominated screenwriters on 15 films, seven are women. 

Five of 10 writers nominated for Original Screenplay are female: 1917 co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Booksmart writers Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel and Katie Silberman. Fogel previously wrote and directed Life Partners and The Spy Who Dumped MeSilberman is known for the Netflix hit romantic comedy Set It Up

1917 won Best Motion Picture (Drama) at the 77th Golden Globe Awards; it was the only nominated feature with a female screenwriter. Booksmart director Olivia Wilde has been recognized as a breakout filmmaker by multiple critics circles, but this is the first major recognition for its screenplay.

Male writers of Knives Out, Marriage Story and Parasite round out the category. All three films pass the Bechdel-Wallace test gauging representation of female characters.

Greta Gerwig is the only woman nominated in the Adapted Screenplay category for writing Little Women. Her “faithful, perfect” adaptation has been named Best Adapted Screenplay by the Central Ohio Film Critics Association, Chicago Film Critics Association, Florida Film Critics Circle, Indiana Film Journalists Association, Kansas City Film Critics Circle and Washington DC Area Film Critics Association. 

Screenwriters for Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood are male, along with The Irishman and Joker. Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit is adapted from Christine Leunens’ book Caging Skies. 

The Kingmaker writer Lauren Greenfield is the only female filmmaker of six nominated in the Documentary Screenplay category. Greenfield’s Generation Wealth made her one of two women nominated in the category last year. 

Women made up only 5 percent of last year’s nominees; Can You Ever Forgive Me? co-writer Nicole Holofcener was nominated alongside 20 men. The 2020 nominees are a vast improvement, featuring gender parity in the feature film category.

Television nominees are especially gender-balanced, recognizing female staff members on all but one series (The Crown, a female-centric narrative). 

 Nominations were announced Jan. 6, with an awards ceremony scheduled for Feb. 1. Directors Guild of America Awards are announced Jan. 7. Only four women have been recognized by the DGA in the past 30 years: Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, Gerwig and Barba Streisand. 

© Georgiana E. Presecky (1/6/20) FF2 Media

Photos Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures and Sony Pictures

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