The five writers selected as the recipients of the 2000 Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting were honored on November 16, 2000 at a gala dinner in Beverly Hills. Each received a certificate and the first installment of their $25,000 prize. The Fellowships are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Susannah Grant, writer of "Erin Brockovich" and "28 Days" and a 1992 Nicholl Fellow, delivered the keynote address at the dinner.
Final judging for the competition was conducted by the Nicholl Committee, chaired by writer Fay Kanin and comprised of writers John Gay, Hal Kanter, Dan Petrie Jr., Frank Pierson, Tom Rickman and Daniel Taradash, cinematographer John Bailey, editor Mia Goldman, actor Eva Marie Saint, producers Gale Anne Hurd and Peter Samuelson, director Robert E. Wise and agent Ronald Mardigian. Kanin, Gay, Petrie, Hurd and Mardigian presented the new Fellows with their certificates and checks. Kanter served as master of ceremonies.
The Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting were established in 1985. The competition is open to any individual who has not sold or optioned a screenplay or teleplay for more than $5,000 or received a fellowship or prize that includes a "first look" clause, an option, or any other quid pro quo involving the writer's work.
This year's competition drew 4,250 entries from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 29 countries. Since the program's inception, a total of 63 fellowships have been presented and many recipients have gone on to successful careers in screenwriting.
During 2000, Raymond De Felitta (1991 Nicholl Fellow) directed his Nicholl Fellowship year script, "Two Family House," which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically last month; Ehren Kruger (1996) wrote "Reindeer Games" and "Scream 3," Andrew W. Marlowe (1992) wrote "Hollow Man;" and Randall McCormick (1987) received co-story credit on "Titan A.E." Mike Rich's 1998 Nicholl entry script, "Finding Forrester," directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Connery, is slated to be released during the 2000 holiday season. Jeffrey Eugenides (1986) is the author of the novel The Virgin Suicides. The film version premiered at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, had its U.S. premiere at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically earlier this year.