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4 women nominated for screenwriting Oscars

While Hillary Clinton is bidding to be the first woman president of the US, four women have been nominated for the first time in the typically male- dominated screenwriting categories.

entertainment Updated: May 08, 2008 19:24 IST

To Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, the attention she and three other women are getting for their Academy Award nominations in the typically male- dominated screenwriting categories is "kind of a double edged-sword."

"You don't want to be singled out as a woman," she says. "On the other end, as a feminist, and someone who feels that women are marginalised in this industry, I'm thrilled that women are getting this sort of recognition."

Cody is nominated for her first Oscar in the original screenplay category, along with The Savages writer-director Tamara Jenkins and Lars and the Real Girl writer Nancy Oliver.

Away From Her director-writer Sarah Polley is nominated in the adapted screenplay category.

Four nominated screenplays for which women can claim sole writing credit is a record. And added to the recognition, Iranian graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi's feisty Persepolis snagged a best-animated feature nod.

According to a report by the Writers Guild of America- West, women make up 27 per cent of TV writers and 19 per cent of feature film writers.

While income for female TV writers has risen, no gains have been made for female film writers both in terms of pay and employment, and "there is little evidence to suggest the pattern is changing," the report says.

Nonetheless, Jane Fleming, president of the Hollywood- based group Women in Film, said the nominations are "thrilling."

"In 2006, the top 250 films only had 10 per cent written by women," said Fleming, whose group boasts 10,000 members.

"But I think things are getting better ... Look at our presidential election. That's an exciting thing," she added, referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid to be the first female US president.

Fleming also noted that the female-written stories nominated for Oscars this year "are very human, not gender specific, and they resonate with women."

It's not surprising, then, that three of these films have female leads who are up for best actress, and in a diversity of roles.

There's the wisecracking, pregnant high schooler played by Ellen Page in Juno, the high-strung New Yorker played by Laura Linney caring for an elderly parent in The Savages and Julie Christie as a wife suffering from Alzheimer's in Away From Her.
"I don't think it's an accident," Cody says of the actress nominations.

"We're given this chance to promote fresh representations of women. For me, my thought is if I wrote a movie, I'm not going to fill my movie with stock girlfriend characters. I'm going to write about a girl who wears hoodies and likes the Stooges (punk band).