Only two women were nominated for the Writers Guild Award, both in the documentary category. The two nominees are The Central Park Five, written by Sarah Burns, David McMahon and Ken Burns and West of Memphis, written by Amy Berg and Billy McMillin.
So is this a big deal? I don’t think so. The lack of women nominated for these awards could be completely coincidental. A lot of the star movies this award season don’t star women, and I’d think that we as feminists would be digging ourselves into a hole if we make an issue of it.
As a movie lover and follower of many of the film awards, I’d be sorely disappointed if awards didn’t go to the films that deserve them because the ones who award them were trying to include more women. I’d like to see awards go to the most deserving film, no matter the genders of the nominees.
Last year, the Writer’s Guild nominated four women. Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wigg were nominated for Original Screenplay for Bridesmaids and Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega were nominated for Documentary Screenplay for Better This World. In 2011, there were two female nominees, both for Original Screenplay.
So you see, the numbers vary as far as the gender of the people the Writer’s Guild nominates. While it’s sad that the nominees of these awards are rarely women, there’s no need to nitpick. The women who are nominated and who win these awards should be able to take their awards knowing that they earned it, not because the Writer’s Guild felt the need to fill some quota for the number of women they nominate.
It is important to note that the Committee of Women Writers exists within Writer’s Guild, which “promotes increased access to opportunities for women writers in the industry.” Also, according to a Los Angeles Times blog written in 2011, the earnings difference between male and female writers in the industry rose 84%, from $5,109 to $9,400. With pay gaps like this, you can’t blame a woman for being hesitant to join in. Consequently, fewer women writers are nominated by the Writer’s Guild.