As an aspiring filmmaker myself, it always heavies my heart to watch awards season go by with barely any nods to female screenwriters and directors — or even the screenplays that interest me as a female audience member. Cut to the audible "SHUT UP" I just let go upon seeing that Marvel's surprise summer hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Sharing the nomination are Nicole Perlman and James Gunn, who also directed the film and collaborated on later drafts of the screenplay. Perlman is the first woman to write science fiction for Marvel Studios. Movie-wise, that is — both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter have female showrunners. On the heels of Agent Carter's premiere on ABC, this is fantastic news for lady fans of everything superhero, science fiction, and fantasy.
Perlman is not the only female screenwriter to be recognized by the Guild. Gillian Flynn is also nominated for Gone Girl. However, they are the only two women in 10 nominations for Original and Adapted Screenplay. In the television categories, we have ladies represented in the nominations for the writing staff of several shows, as well as individual episodes of Bob's Burgers, Rectify, Boardwalk Empire, and The Good Wife. Television is slightly ahead when it comes to female writing talent, but we're still not where we need to be. Hopefully, nominations like this will create more opportunities and inspire more women to go after what they want and let their stories be told, even if it's the story of space aliens.
Now, what do you say to sexism?
This is also a pretty big deal for blockbusters, who often don't get taken seriously in terms of storytelling and filmmaking. I, for one, never expected Guardians of the Galaxy to be recognized for anything other than its killer soundtrack. It's cool to see the Writer's Guild of America recognize a strong screenplay even when it has silly aliens, bright colors, and epic dance-offs. Summer blockbusters aren't just explosions and cheesy one-liners. They have something to say and have the capacity to be far more effective and reach more people than the mumblecore indie that's only screening on in one theater on the other side of town. Put Guardians of the Galaxy's popcorn status and female credit together, and this is a great day!