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Academy reveals Nicholl Fellowship screenwriting winners

Scripts to be performed at live read in November

Three individuals and one writing team have been selected as winners of the 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition.  The fellows will each receive a $35,000 prize, the first installment of which will be distributed at the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards Presentation & Live Read on Thursday, November 8, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  For the sixth consecutive year, an ensemble of actors will read selected scenes from the winning scripts.

The 2018 winners are (listed alphabetically by author):

Allison Buckmelter and Nicolas Buckmelter, “American Refugee”
Joey Clarke, Jr., “Miles”
Grace Sherman, “Numbers and Words”
Wenonah Wilms, “Horsehead Girls”

A total of 6,895 scripts were submitted for this year’s competition.  Nine individual screenwriters and one writing team were selected as finalists.  Their scripts were then read and judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, who ultimately voted the winners. 

The 2018 finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):

Avi Glick, “A Yacht in the Apache Junction”
Ernestina Juárez, “Labyrinth of Destiny”
Neal McLaughlin, “The Sunshine Ward”
Daniel Miska, “The Soldier That Wagged Her Tail”
Gabriel Mizrahi, “Beside Ourselves”
Jordan Trippeer, “Air”

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.

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee is chaired by Academy Writers Branch Governor Robin Swicord.  The members of the committee are Eva Marie Saint (Actors Branch); Steven Poster (Cinematographers Branch); Marcus Hu and William Mechanic (Executives Branch); James Plannette and Stephen Ujlaki (Members-at-Large); Stephanie Allain, Albert Berger, Julia Chasman, Julie Lynn, Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro (Producers Branch); Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Short Films and Feature Animation Branch); Bobbi Banks (Sound Branch); and Tina Gordon Chism, Eric Heisserer, Larry Karaszewski, Dan Petrie Jr., Misan Sagay, Kirsten Smith, Dana Stevens and Tyger Williams (Writers Branch).

The global competition, which aims to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters, has awarded 156 fellowships since it began in 1986.  In 2018 several past Nicholl fellows added to their feature film and television credits:  

  • Elizabeth Chomko directed her Nicholl-winning script “What They Had,” which premiered at Sundance.
  • Ehren Kruger produced “Ophelia,” which also premiered at Sundance.
  • Kurt Kuenne directed an episode of NBC’s “The Blacklist.”
  • Tianna Langham and Chris Bessounian are writers on Fox Television’s “The Resident.”
  • Terri Miller and Andrew Marlowe are executive producers and creators of ABC’s “Take Two.”
  • Lee Patterson was a writer on USA’s “Colony.”
  • Rebecca Sonnenshine is a co-executive producer and writer on the Cinemax series “Outcast.”
  • Barbara Stepansky won a 2018 WGA Award in the Long Form Original category for her screenplay for the Lifetime original movie “Flint.”

Tickets for the 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards Presentation & Live Read are now available at Oscars.org/Events.  Casting for the live read will be announced at a later date. 

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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