Oscars for Female Screenwriters: ‘CODA’ and ‘Passing’

The fight for women to be recognized for their achievements as directors goes back decades, but, too often, screenwriters don’t get the same attention. This year, however, is a rare year in which female screenwriters are also among the top contenders for the Adapted Film Screenplay award. Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”), Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Girl”), Rebecca Hall (“Passing”) and Siân Heder (“CODA”).

If three of the writer-directors are nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, they will be the most female films recognized since 1991, including “Europa Europa” (Agnieszka Holland), “Fried Green Tomatoes” (Fannie Flagg & Carol Sobieski). “The Prince of the Tides” (Becky Johnston shared his name with Pat Conroy. This would be the Academy’s most significant achievement in history.

Three of the three women have been honored with the USC Scripter Awards. The previous nominees have a strong translation that caught the attention of the Academy. Heder, who was not nominated, was ineligible because “CODA” is a remake of a feature film from an international publication and not a previously published work.

In 93 years, seven films written by women have won awards for adapted screenplays. “Little Women” (1933) Sarah Y. Mason “Mrs. Miniver” (1942) By Claudine West (shared by George Froeschel and James Hilton), “A Room with a View” (1986) “Howard’s End” (1992) Ruth Prawer Jhabvala “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) Emma Thompson “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boys (also shared by Peter Jackson) “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) by Diana Ossana (shared with Larry McMurtry).

Comparatively, in five years, three films written by women have been nominated for original screenplay (1949-1955, 1957, 2007 and 2017). The only time three women without writing credit were nominated in the same category was in 2007 (Tamara Jenkins). “The Savages”, Nancy Oliver for “Lars and the Real Girl” Diablo Cody was the “Juno” winner). The screenplay awards were only won by two female screenwriters (we were pretty close last year). “Nomadland” and “Promising Young Woman“).

Each of the four scribes in this year’s race would bring their own historic feats if successful.

Gyllenhaal would be the third woman to be honored in the acting and screenwriting categories behind Oscar winners Ruth Gordon, Emma Thompson and Emma Smith. Only Gyllenhaal won the Screenplay and Best Actress categories. “Howard’s End” and “Sense and Sensibility”, respectively. Gyllenhaal was nominated for an Oscar in Supporting Actress. “Crazy heart” (2009).

Gyllenhaal would also be nominated with Rebecca Hall (Netflix) as second and third respectively. A first feature director nomination will be made for Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Hall, the second (and third?) Nominees. Emerald Fennell was the first, and she won the original screenplay award last year. “Promising young woman.”

Campion, the screenwriter who won an original screenplay “The Piano” (1993) would have been the first time a woman was nominated for a screenplay in either category. Campion was nominated for directing. “Dog” would be the first female director to be nominated twice since becoming the second woman to be nominated in 1993.

Heder would be the second woman nominated for writing a remake of a previous film (the first was Greta Gerwig for “Little Women” in 2019), and the first to do so from a non-English feature film (based on the French spoken “La Famille Bélier” from 2014.

Other female scribes (alone and co-writers) are also in the conversation, but they are less likely to be selected. Kim Morgan (“Nightmare Alley”), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“No Time to Die”), Becky Johnston (“Maison Gucci”), Nicole Holofcener (“The Last Duel”), Erica Schmidt (“Cyrano”), Emma Seligman (“Shiva Baby”) and Quiara Alegría Hudes (“In the Heights”) are all up for grabs.

It should be noted that all female filmmakers are eligible for additional Best Director nominations (most serving as producers). Campion currently ranks number one on the Oscar predictions chart. Heder gets some serious momentum after. “CODA”He had a lot of success with the precursors. The leadership of women behind the camera will likely set a record for most nominated acting performances, from female-led films; contenders Benedict Cumberbatch, Olivia Colman, Kirsten Dunst, Troy Kotsur, Ruth Negga and Kodi Smit-McPhee are highly likely for nominations, and maybe even wins.

Predictions for the Oscars 2022