Academy Announces Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Finalists for 2010
Beverly Hills, CA – Ten writers have been selected as finalists for the 25th annual Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Their scripts will now be read and judged by the Academy’s Nicholl Committee, which may award as many as five of the prestigious $30,000 fellowships.
This year’s finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):
Art Corriveau, Santa Fe, New Mexico, “Nicky Flynn Finally Gets a Life”
Destin Daniel Cretton, San Diego, Calif., “Short Term 12”
Sebastian Davis, Los Angeles, Calif., “Drunk-Dialing”
Marvin Krueger, North Hollywood, Calif., “And Handled with a Chain”
Andrew Lanham, Austin, Texas, “The Jumper of Maine”
Tim Macy, Kansas City, Mo., “The Last Queen”
Micah Ranum, Beverly Hills, Calif., “A Good Hunter”
Cinthea Stahl, North Hollywood, Calif., “Identifying Marks”
Logan Steiner, Redondo Beach, Calif., “The Promise of Spring”
Sage Vanden Heuvel, Ann Arbor, Mich., “Inner Earth”
The finalists were selected from 6,304 scripts submitted for this year’s competition. The competition is open to any individual who has not sold or optioned a screenplay or teleplay for more than $5,000, or received a fellowship or prize that includes a “first look” clause, an option, or any other quid pro quo involving the writer’s work.
The Nicholl Committee, chaired by producer Gale Anne Hurd, is composed of writers Naomi Foner, Daniel Petrie, Jr., Tom Rickman and Dana Stevens; actor Eva Marie Saint; cinematographers John Bailey and Steven B. Poster; executive Bill Mechanic; producers Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro; and agent Ronald R. Mardigian.
Fellowships are awarded with the understanding that the recipients will each complete a feature-length screenplay during their fellowship year. The Academy acquires no rights to the works of Nicholl fellows and does not involve itself commercially in any way with their completed scripts.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, 113 fellowships have been awarded, and a number of fellows have achieved considerable success. Mike Rich, a 1998 fellow, wrote the upcoming “Secretariat.” Susannah Grant, a 1992 fellow, earned an Oscar nomination in 2000 for her “Erin Brockovich” screenplay. Andrew W. Marlowe, a 1992 fellow, created and executive produces ABC’s “Castle,” for which Terri Miller, also a 1992 fellow, is a writer-producer. “City Island,” which was written and directed by 1991 fellow Raymond De Felitta, premiered at the 2009 Berlin and Tribeca film festivals, and premiered theatrically in March of this year.
The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s official private weekend screenings for voting members are generally a must-stop for serious Oscar contenders, not only to show the films to voters all at once but also to gauge reaction both audibly during the film and by buzz in the lobby and restrooms after. After complaints about the quality of some the films shown, the Academy last year revamped the committee that chooses them and now seems much more savvy about booking movies that aren’t wasting members’ time – or so they’d like to think. While some fluff still gets screened, the cinematic menu this time of year turns to a heavy sked of Oscar prospects.
Not everything gets booked because there are basically just four slots each weekend: two matinees and two evening shows. But of the 10 pictures nominated last year, only The Blind Side, which seemed to catch even Warner Bros by surprise, did not play at one of these screenings.
In terms of this year’s Oscar contenders, it was a big weekend for Ben Affleck’s The Town (which he directed and co-wrote and stars in for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures) which topped the weekend box office with nearly $24 million. That was a bit of a surprise, particularly for an adult-skewing drama (albeit one with a LOT of action in it). Then again, it had a 94% fresh critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But what was really significant awards-wise is that I hear it had a smash screening at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills on Saturday night. So you have a film right out of the gate among Fall releases that looks to be a serious awards prospect.
Even though the movie’s official Academy screening was skedded just as Yom Kippur was ending, the turnout was larger than normal and the response at the end very enthusiastic. A 2-time Oscar winner who frequently attends these private weekend screenings for voting members told me, “There was big loud applause at the end credits — and that’s something I rarely see at the Academy.” He went on to praise the film as easily one of the best he has seen there in some time (and, interestingly, he’s not impressed with much of the 2010 output so far). He singled out Affleck’s direction and the acting ensemble for particular kudos. Two other Academy members who saw the film at non-Academy screenings told me the same thing. So Warners could
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Statement Regarding Jean-Luc Godard’s
Reply to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
In response to Academy President Tom Sherak’s letter informing him that the Board of Governors had voted him
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