Oscar 2008: Where are the Women behind the Camera? (WIF)

How do women fare in this year’s Oscar race?  The answer is, very poorly. Take the writing category, in which women have always been represented better than in other branches. But not in 2008, according to Academy voters.

Of the ten films nominated for the Best Screenplay Oscar (both original and adapted), only one was penned solo by a woman, the small-budget indie, “Frozen River,” written and directed by Courtney Hunt.

There’s also one woman in the Adapted Screenplay category, Robin Swicord, who shares screen story credit with Eric Roth for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” though Roth (Oscar winner for the 1994 “Forrest Gump”) get solo credit for his screenplay, a loose adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story.

So much for progress, not to mention equal opportunities, of gender.

There are new faces and minority members in the writing categories, such as the openly gay scribe Dustin Lance Black, who was instrumental in bringing “Milk” to the big screen.  And British writers have done quite well, both vets such as Mike Leigh (“Happy-Go-Lucky”) and David Hare (“The Reader”), familiar talents such as Peter Morgan (“Frost/Nixon”), and younger ones like Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”).

 Adapted Screenplay

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”(Paramount and Warner) Screenplay by Eric Roth; Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
“Doubt” (Miramax) Written by John Patrick Shanley
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal) Screenplay by Peter Morgan
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company) Screenplay by David Hare
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original Screenplay

“Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics); Written by Courtney Hunt
“Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax); Written by Mike Leigh
“In Bruges” (Focus Features); Written by Martin McDonagh
“Milk” (Focus Features); Written by Dustin Lance Black
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney); Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon; Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter