17th Annual Final Draft® Awards to honor Guillermo del Toro, Jane Campion, Nicole Holofcener, Danny Strong, Jeymes Samuel, Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson for screenwriting achievements
January 26, 2022
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25 – Final Draft, a Cast & Crew Company, now in its 31st year as the industry standard for screenwriting software, today announced the honorees for the 17th Annual Final Draft Awards. The awards, which recognize outstanding and elevated achievements in storytelling, will be held in a virtual ceremony on March 16, 2022. This year’s Final Draft Awards will break tradition and feature 15-minute conversations with each honoree with another esteemed writer about the process and challenges involved with the art of writing.
Academy Award® winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (“Nightmare Alley”) will be presented with the Final Draft® Hall of Fame Award, honoring a writer whose body of work has had a profound influence on the industry. The inaugural Final Draft Trailblazer Award will go to Academy Award® winning filmmaker Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”), and recognizes a writer whose career exudes excellence and who consistently tells compelling and bold stories. Two Storyteller Awards will be presented recognizing writers who consistently maintain a level of excellence and surpass expectations. Academy Award® nominee Nicole Holofcener will receive the Storyteller Award (Film) for “The Last Duel” and two-time Emmy® winner Danny Strong will receive the Storyteller Award (TV) for the critically acclaimed limited series “Dopesick,” currently streaming on Hulu. Additionally, Final Draft will present two New Voice Awards recognizing rising and vital talents in the industry. The New Voice Award (TV) will go to Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson, the husband-and-wife writer/producer team whose acclaimed new series “Yellowjackets” just recently wrapped its first season on Showtime. The New Voice Award (Film) will be presented to Jeymes Samuel, whose celebrated feature debut, “The Harder They Fall,” is currently streaming on Netflix.
“Storytellers have been revered throughout history for their ability to connect us,” stated Final Draft president Shelly Mellott. “This year’s honorees are using their considerable talents to tell brave, audacious stories in imaginative ways that entertain, provoke and enlighten audiences. We could not be more proud to honor them and their outstanding work and the impact their stories have on our culture.”
The winners of the 2020 Big Break® Screenwriting Contest, an annual screenwriting competition that launches careers and awards over $100,000 in cash and prizes will also be celebrated at the event.
Previous Final Draft Award winners include Quentin Tarantino, Nancy Meyers, Aaron Sorkin, Lawrence Kasdan, Paul Schrader, Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Callie Khouri, Steven Zaillian, Robert Towne, Oliver Stone, and Sydney Pollack, among others. The Storyteller Award was introduced in 2021 and was presented to Steve McQueen and Sofia Coppola. The New Voice Award was introduced in 2017 and past recipients include Ramy Yousef, Steven Canals, Lulu Wang, Liz Hannah, Issa Rae, Boots Riley, Radha Blank and Tanya Saracho.
About Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro is among the most creative and visionary artists of his generation whose distinctive style is showcased through his work as a filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and author.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, del Toro first gained worldwide recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production Cronos, a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist. His subsequent films include, Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak.
Del Toro earned international acclaim as the director, writer and producer of the 2006 fantasy drama Pan’s Labyrinth. He was honored with an Oscar nomination for his original screenplay for the film, which won Academy Awards for Art Direction, Cinematography, and Makeup. In all, the film garnered more than 40 international awards and appeared on more than 35 critics’ lists of the year’s best films.
Most recently del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which he also wrote, produced and directed, was nominated for 13 Academy Awards® and won 4 Oscars including Best Picture.
About Jane Campion
New Zealand born Academy Award winner JANE CAMPION has established herself as one of the world’s most powerful storytellers. Best known for her debut feature THE PIANO, Campion was the first female director to win the Palme D’Or and one of only seven women ever to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar. The film also received over 30 international awards along with 9 Academy Award nominations and 3 wins including for Best Screenplay. Most recently, Campion was awarded the Silver Lion for directing at the Venice International Film Festival for her film THE POWER OF THE DOG.
Her other films include SWEETIE which premiered at Cannes; AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE which won 7 prizes at Venice Film Festival, including the Silver Lion; THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY which was nominated for 2 Academy Awards; HOLY SMOKE which was nominated for the Golden Lion and won the Elvira Notari Prize at Venice; IN THE CUT which premiered at Toronto; and BRIGHT STAR which was nominated for the Golden Palm in Cannes.
In television, Jane created, co-wrote, co-directed and executive produced the two season mini-series TOP OF THE LAKE. The series ultimately received 8 Emmy Award nominations including Outstanding Lead Actress for Elizabeth Moss, who also won a Golden Globe for her performance.
About Nicole Holofcener
Nicole Holofcener wrote, along with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the screenplay for Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel,” starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck. She also serves as a producer on the film, which opened in theaters this past October.
Holofcener is a critically acclaimed and award winning writer/director, whose films include: “Enough Said” (Fox Searchlight – Julia Louis Dreyfus, James Gandolfini); “Please Give” (Sony Pictures Classics – Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet); “Friends with Money” (Sony Pictures Classics – Catherine Keener, Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand); and “Lovely and Amazing” (Lionsgate/Good Machine – Catherine Keener, Brenda Blethyn).
Most recently, she directed Tom Perrotta’s HBO Pilot “Mrs. Fletcher,” and was nominated for an Academy Award® for best adapted screenplay for the Marielle Heller directed “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Fox Searchlight – Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant). Her first film, “Walking and Talking” (Miramax – Catherine Keener, Anne Heche), was named to Entertainment Weekly’s list of “Top 50 Cult Films of All Time.”
About Danny Strong
Danny Strong started his career as an actor in numerous classic films and TV shows, then transitioned into screenwriting, exploding onto the scene with his 2007 script “Recount,” which became an award-winning HBO film. Since then he has become a prolific film and TV writer/actor/producer.
Strong is the creator and showrunner of the Hulu series “Dopesick,” starring Michael Keaton and based on the bestselling book by Beth Macy. He was co-creator and executive producer of the hit Fox drama “Empire,” of which he wrote and directed numerous episodes. “Empire” received numerous honors including six Emmy® nominations, two Golden Globe® nominations, two Critics Choice nominations and being named to the prestigious AFI list for TV Program of the Year.
On the feature side, Strong wrote the screenplay for “The Butler,” which starred Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey and grossed over $100M at the US box office. He also co-wrote the megahit Lionsgate franchise films “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” (Part I and II).
Strong began his writing career by writing and producing HBO’s “Recount” and “Game Change” about the 2000 and 2008 elections. “Recount” garnered 11 Emmy® nominations including a Best Writing nomination and win for Best TV Movie, five Golden Globe nominations and Strong received a WGA Award for his screenplay. “Game Change” swept the 2012-2013 awards season with Strong winning and Emmy, a WGA Award, a Golden Globe, a PGA Award, a Peabody and a Pen Award for the film.
In addition to his thriving career as a screenwriter and director, Strong is also an actor with numerous credits on stage and screen including “Billions,” “Mad Men,” “Gilmore Girls,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Girls,” and many more.
About Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson
Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson are the sensational creators, showrunners, and executive producers of the breakout hit Showtime drama series, Yellowjackets.
Yellowjackets was nominated for “Best Drama Series” by the Critics Choice Association and “Best Drama” & “Best New Series” by the Writers Guild of America. The critically-acclaimed series – which stars Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci – was recently renewed for a highly-anticipated second season. Forbes called it “a phenomenal must-binge” and Time, Vanity Fair, LA Times, Variety, IndieWire, and more named it one of the Best TV Shows of 2021. It is Rotten Tomato-certified Fresh, with a 100% on the tomato-meter.
The series – part survival epic, part psychological horror story and part coming-of-age drama – follows a high school girls’ soccer team after they survive a plane crash in the remote northern wilderness while en route to a championship tournament. The series chronicles their descent into savagery as they struggle to survive, and their attempts to piece their lives back together 25 years later.
Bart and Ashley most recently served as co-executive producers on the AMC series Dispatches From Elsewhere with Jason Segel. Prior to this, they were writers and producers on Netflix’s Narcos and Narcos: Mexico. They also developed The Big Empty at ABC Family and wrote for three seasons on The CW’s The Originals.
Ashley and Bart met in the early 2000s on the East Coast where their writing partnership began. They are married and currently reside in Los Angeles.
About Jeymes Samuel
Jeymes Samuel (aka THE BULLITTS) is a filmmaker, producer, singer, songwriter, and composer from the UK. Under his musical moniker ’The Bullitts’, Jeymes released his highly acclaimed, self produced debut album 'THEY DIE BY DAWN & Other Short Stories', featuring Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def), Tori Amos, Jay Electronica with narration from Lucy Liu. The album received four HOTTEST RECORD IN THE WORLD awards from BBC Radio One DJ Zane Lowe and contained the song CLOSE YOUR EYES which was awarded SONG OF THE YEAR by Loud & Quiet magazine.
Jeymes directed the 51 minute film, 'THEY DIE BY DAWN', a western that features an all star cast of actors including Rosario Dawson, Michael K. Williams, Erykah Badu and Jesse Williams - to name a few.
Samuel was then handpicked by JAY-Z and Baz Luhrmann to be the Executive Music Consultant for Luhrmann's Academy Award winning epic 'THE GREAT GATSBY’. The Grammy nominated album went on to sell over 500 thousand records worldwide, earning it a GOLD certificate by the RIAA.
In 2017, for the highly anticipated release of JAY-Z’s new album 4:44, Jeymes wrote and directed the star studded short film ‘LEGACY’. The film sees JAY-Z tackling the prison system and stars Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon, Ron Perlman, Jesse Williams and others.
About Final Draft, a Cast & Crew Company
Final Draft, a Cast & Crew Company, has published Final Draft® software – the number-one selling screenwriting application in the world – for over 30 years. Final Draft automatically paginates and formats scripts to industry standards, allowing writers to focus on what they do best – write. Used by such industry giants as J.J. Abrams and James Cameron, among many others, Final Draft software is the professional’s choice and the entertainment industry standard. In addition to its flagship software product, Final Draft offers the annual Big Break® Contest – a screenwriting competition that launches careers and awards over $100,000 in cash and prizes. Final Draft also offers Final Draft Mobile for iPhone and iPad, making creativity truly portable. To learn more about Final Draft and its products, services and events, visit: www.finaldraft.com
Written by: Final Draft