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Blueprints: Post-Oscar Stat Madness!

by Jorge Molina

Here we are. The Oscars are over. After six months (this was a long season!) of never ending think pieces, desperate For Your Consideration ads, and prediction anxiety, we can finally take a breather. So, before we’re ready to start doing it all over again (because, let’s be honest, despite everything, we love this), let’s decompress a little. There’s nothing better than a good list of stats and numbers to clear your mind.

As a palate cleanser, and as a farewell to Oscar season for now, here’s are some statistics and data about the screenplay categories. Where we were before Sunday, where we are now. And how far we have yet to go...

  • Between the ten nominees, the average length of a screenplay was of 117.2 pages. 
  • 25% of the nominees were female. That’s four out of sixteen: Emily V. Gordon, Greta Gerwig, Vanessa Taylor, and Dee Rees.
  • 5 nominees were people of color: Kumail Nanjiani, Jordan Peele, Guillermo del Toro, Dee Rees and Virgin Williams. That’s 31.25%.
  • James Ivory and Dee Rees (12.5% of the nominees) identify as LGBT.
  • Jordan Peele was the first black man to win Best Original Screenplay. Nine years ago, in 2008, Geoffrey S. Fletcher became the first African-American to win in the Adapted Category for Precious. He was followed by John Ridely for 12 Years a Slave, and Barry Jenkins and Tarrell Alvin McCraney for Moonlight last year.

  • Dee Rees became the first African-American woman to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. No black woman has ever won in any writing category.
  • 68.75% of the nominees (eleven in total) received their first nomination this year. Two nominees had previously won: Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network in 2010, and Martin McDonagh for his short film Six Shooter in 2006 (though not in a writing category).
  • Kumail Nanjiani was the first Pakistani nominee in any writing category.
  • James Ivory became the oldest winner of a competitive Oscar (in any category), at 89. The youngest winner in a writing category was Ben Affleck for Good Will Hunting. He was 25.
  • Ruth Prawer Jhabvala won twice in the Adapted Category for A Room with a View and Howard’s End, both directed by James Ivory. He thanked her in his speech on Sunday.

  • Logan became the first nominee to be based on superhero comic books. (There have been two previous nominees based on graphic novels: A History of Violence and Ghost World)
  • For the first time in history, all five Best Director nominees also wrote (or co-wrote) their own films. Three of them also got screenplay nominations (Del Toro, Gerwig, and Peele).


And, just for the fun of it, here are some other fun facts about the Screenplay category through the years:

  • Frances Marion was the first woman to win a screenplay award in 1930 for The Big House. The last time a woman won in Adapted Screenplay was Diana Ossana for Brokeback Mountain in 2005. In Original Screenplay it was Diablo Cody in 2007 for Juno.
  • Five foreign films have won screenplay Oscars: Marie-Louise in 1945, The Red Balloon in 1957 (which was also the first and only time a short has won a screenplay award), Divorce Italian Style in 1963, A Man and a Woman in 1967, and Talk to Her in 2003.

  • Woody Allen has the most screenplay nominations, with 16. He has won thrice for Annie Hall, Hannah and her Sisters, and Midnight in Paris. (Billy Wilder is in runner up position with 12 nominations for writing and also 3 wins in those categories).
  • Toy Story was the first animated film to get nominated for a screenplay award. No animated film has ever won.

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Reader Comments (35)

I hate to be that guy, but Fletcher won for Precious for the 2009 film year.

Here we are in the year of our Lord 18 and 2000 still marking POC, female, and queer firsts. We've come a long way, but boy, do we have a long way to go.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Three black guys winning for writing and people say Hollywood isn't inclusive.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Here's another stat: this is the first time in 15 years that neither Oscar Screenplay winner got a Screenplay nomination at the Golden Globes (last time that happened was The Pianist and Hable con Ella)...

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Three black guys winning for writing and people say Hollywood isn't inclusive.

This better be sarcasm on your end.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful


Grow up ... there were more blacks represented at the Oscars and after parties than any other minority. What do you want?

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered Commentergrrr

Ghost World was nominated for best adapted screenplay, and it was adapted from a comic book of the same name. So Logan wasn't the first.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCash

Just a question: does Guillermo Del Toro identify himself as people of color? Because that classification (people of color vs white people) does not fully represent the latino heritage situation (which is far more complex).

So I think is important to listen to Del Toro and see where he sees himself.

Regardless of race, his nomination and win as a Mexican is groundbreaking!

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

"For the first time in history, all five Best Director nominees also wrote (or co-wrote) their own films."

That is my favorite bit of Oscar trivia this year. Thanks a lot for that.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

A century of institutional anti-black racism in the film industry cannot be erased with a recent increase in Black winners and nominees and faces in the crowd.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Ghost World was nominated for best adapted screenplay, and it was adapted from a comic book of the same name. So Logan wasn't the first.

Don't forget A History of Violence (2005) is also based on a graphic novel.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Thanks for these. I love Oscar stats. Just one thing: you are spot-on with the years except when discussing the Foreign Language winners, where you switch to ceremony year.

Another stat: this was the seventh year in a row that the Original Screenplay winner also directed their movie. Prior to that, I'm pretty sure it had been five years of debut screenwriters (none of them the film's director) in a row.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

@grrr @markgordonuk @WTF!!!!

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

Is Guillermo Del Toro a person of color? Yes, he's from Mexico, but is that what it makes him a person of color? A foreigner director, yes.

Guillermo is as much a person of color as Luca Guadagnino... so not really. It doesnt dinimish the fact in anyway though

Anyway, go Mexico. A great yeat for them

What would be the 4th mexican director to get a nomination/win?

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTiago

I'm looking forward to more from Rachel Morrison and Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. Morrison's Mudbound cinematography was my favorite of the year, and Nanjiani and Gordon just seem like great people with needed perspectives in addition to very talented screenwriters.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

"White" identity in terms of oppression and privilege goes a bit beyond just simply the pigmentation of one's skin. Del Toro has a thick accent and identifies himself as Latino, he's a person of color. It is also not comparable to Guadagningo because of how closely white identity is associated with European identity. It would be naive to imply he's had the same privileges as men like Christopher Nolan or Paul Thomas Anderson or other white men.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexD

AlexD- that is from a U.S. perspective. I am latino and based on my experience, I am sure that in Mexico, Del Toro is considered white, not a "person of color" (everyone is one color or another).

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

@Pedro Correct, but we're talking about Del Toro in an American context since that's where the Oscars and the Hollywood industry is.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexD

Pedro and AlexD,

I understand both perspectives, but I do think there needs to be more diversity within the Latino representation in the US. Most Latinos we see are technically White. Mestizo or Afro Latinos are not shown as much. I know there have been rumblings in the Latino community about that. We want to see more Gina Rodriguezs .

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike

To call Guillermo Del Toro a people of color and claim that he must have suffered prejudice in the USA is a simplistic view of latinos and a kind of prejudice.

I mean, I don't know his history, but there are a lot of white latinos with privileged lifes that go to the USA to study and work and etc.

Just a example, Walter Salles, the director of Central Station, is the richest filmaker in the world. He owns the largest bank n Brazil. He is latino, sure, but he is whte and can make whaterver movie he wants.

And a final question: how many of the groundbraking latinos who get work in Hollywood are black? Name one, please.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

Would American Splendor count as a screenplay based on comic book characters?

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Another example. Carlos Saldanha is the oscar nominated drector of Ferdinand. He is brazilian, thus latino. But he was not cited in the amazing article "The Oscars were gay and Latino, just like I am" in this very blog. And i think that ocurred because he does not look like the traditional latino.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

@ grrr

Such a disgusting remark.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJess

@boyfrombrazil Tessa Thompson, Zoe Saldana, but they're usually not cast as Latinos at all. If you want to count Lupita Nyong'o she was born in Mexico.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

@Mike I never said nor implied otherwise. It's possible to acknowledge Del Toro is a person of color, he's Latino and Mexican and yet that he still carried privilege as a white passing Mexican. My point was merely to deny that he's a person of color or imply that he carries himself around and is viewed in the same vein as other white men in the industry like Spielberg or Cameron is disingenuous. As a matter of fact only Iñarritu from the Three Amigos is Mestizo. Similarly when people bring up Karla Souza as a sign of Mexican representation. She can be Latino and benefit from her white passing look.

There's still a way to in representation. It's also worth noting that despite four Mexican filmmakers winning the Oscar for director in the past five years, none of their four films had a Latino with a single speaking line.

@TheBoyFromBrazil That seems an oversimplification. Are we to claim the black community doesn't face prejudice because there's Oprah? Topics like this are not entirely black and white, as I said above, it's possible to recognize that Del Toro, as a Mexican filmmaker falls under the category of PoC and that carries with it some weight. It's also possible to understand that as a white passing Mexican, he has some privileges that other mixed race Mexicans do not.

I believe Saldanha was not cited because we never saw him on screen at the telecast. He did not present an award nor did he win, therefore he never took the stage.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexD

@Nikki thanks for the exemples ^^

@AlexD - I agree with you. I feel so dumb trying to express my point of view in english. It's a language I don't master to discuss complex topics. What I think is that we shoudn't just put all latinos under the poc umbrella. ts more complex than that.

And you're right about Carlos Saldanha!

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

@TheBoyFromBrazil No need to feel dumb. I agree that the subject is more complex than that, but I'll disagree with the other, I think most Latinos (certainly all the ones born outside the US) fall under the PoC umbrella, but understand that even within that label there's different shades of intersectionality to recognize.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexD

@ Jess. Why??

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered Commentergrrr

So are Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz people of colour acording to the so called American point of view? How about Almodover? Or do they to benefit of the "european privilege" like Luca?

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTiago

Calling Guillermo del Toro a person of color just for being Latino or Hispanic is exaggerated in my opinion.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHarmodio

By the way very good article with many interesting information.

March 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHarmodio

Whoever said we need more Gina Rodriguez gets a big YESSSSS from me. If you aren't watching Jane the Virgin, you are missing out. She's just lovely.

March 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

Guillermo del Toro is very white. People just dont give a F outside the US. But to call him of "color" when he stands next to Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway and their skins look the same is ridiculous. He could be the same color as Emma Stone if she weren't whiter than everybody else. Even more ridiculous when people asume that "not from the US or Europe" equals not white.

Why do people forget about American Splendor when talking about comic book films?

Four mexicans didn't win Best Director. Three mexicans did, one of them won twice.

March 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBD (the real one)

AlexD: I think your view only get into account the experience of latinos in the USA. I get that as mexican living in the USA, a person get labeled somewhat. But white mexicans living in Mexico get all the privileges a white people can get.

See the case of Alejandro González Iñárritu, he was nominated for "Amores Perros" as a foreign director. He didn't face prejudice for being a poc in mexico, where he lived and made his movie and was recognized for it. I see no justification in calling him a poc in this context. He is white, of spanish descent, period.

But, some years later, he won the best director prize for Birdman, an USA movie, and was labeled a poc because he is latino. Sorry, but that does not make sense. He can't go form white to poc just because the movie he made qas in another language. And his accent is as thick as Almodovar's.

March 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

"TheBoyFromBrazil" and "BD (the real one)" are spot on.

It's completely ridiculous to label GdT as a person of color. I don't know for sure, but he sure looks like he has all European ancestry.

If he's a person of color, then so is Gal Gadot.

March 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

If Guillermo DelToro who looks like one my chubby Spanish cousins is a person of color than I'm an albino. Latinos are the original rainbow tribe stop trying to put us in your idiotic political correct prison

March 10, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

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