Manuel here. Much of the conversation following the nominations has deservedly been about the way this year’s nominees function in many ways as a litmus test for the larger pitfalls of the Academy and the industry at large. Take the screenplay categories. As Phyllis Nagy urged us, we should be celebrating the fact that four female screenwriters were nominated for four different films. It sounds like a cause worth celebrating until you realize a total of twenty screenwriters were cited overall. You have to admit, those are appalling (if yes, unsurprising) numbers. Actually, in the past ten years, only 17 out of 156 nominated screenwriters have been women. Three quick stats about this year's categories and how they may show we might be turning a corner.
01 The last time we had two female nominees in the Best Original Screenplay category was in 2011 when Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo earned a nomination for their Bridesmaids script. If you remember that was the first time a female duo had been nominated since Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen were cited for Silkwood back in 1983.
02 The last time two female nominees came from different films? 2007 when The Savages’s Tamara Jenkins and Lars and the Real Girl’s Nancy Oliver joined eventual winnerDiablo Cody (Juno). That was, coincidentally, the last time a female writer was on stage for a screenplay win.
03 On the Adapted Screenplay side, we have two female screenwriters coming from two different films (Room and Carol). That’s the first time its happened since 2003 when Shari Springer Berman (co-writer of American Splendor) joined eventual winner Fran Walsh (co-writer of Return of the King) in the nominee roster. And yes, you have to go back to 1995 to find a sole female screenwriter taking the gold (Emma Thompson for Sense and Sensibility), a year that also nominated Anna Pavignano for co-writing Il Postino.
Obviously, by the rule of statistical analysis -- which is foolproof and understands that subjective awards must follow mathematical calculations-- this means we're going to get a female writer up on stage this year, right?
Bets on whether Donoghue (Room), Nagy (Carol), Berloff (Straight Outta Compton) or LeFauve (Inside Out) will get to give a speech on February 28th?