Nancy Oliver (born February 8, 1955) is an American playwright and screenwriter who is best known for her work on the successful TV series Six Feet Under. Oliver was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2008 for her debut screenplay, Lars and the Real Girl.

Nancy Oliver
BornFebruary 8, 1955
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Florida State University
Known forPlaywright and screenwriter

Early life and careerEdit

Oliver was born in Syracuse, NY and raised in Framingham, Massachusetts.[1] She began writing at an early age[2] and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst. During this time she was involved with the university's theater department as a performer.

While attending Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida for theatre, Oliver met director and screenwriter Alan Ball in 1976. Together they founded the General Nonsense Theater Company, a satirical ensemble for which the two wrote, staged and starred in subversive comical sketches. She was also a member of Alarm Dog Rep. A playwright whose work includes Office, Dreams Are Funny, Calypso" and "VW as well as several plays for young people, she twice won Florida's Individual Artist Grant for Playwriting. In addition to working previously as a teacher, columnist and newspaper editor, she studied Drama at the Banff Fine Arts Center in Canada and Trinity College, Oxford. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Acting and Directing from Florida State University.[3]


After graduating, Oliver supported herself by doing "anything anyone would pay me to do that was kind of mindless—typing, filing, Xeroxing—so I could save the rest for writing and directing."[4] She moved to Los Angeles in 1997 after the computer game she was writing for, Riana Rouge, relocated to the West Coast. She later teamed up again with Alan Ball, becoming his script reader. A few years later, shortly after deciding to abandon show business and move back to Florida,[2] Ball offered her a spot as a writer and co-producer for the award-winning television series Six Feet Under.[4] Oliver began as a writer during the show's third season and stayed on for three years.

The idea for her first screenplay, which would eventually be made into the 2007 film Lars and the Real Girl, was the result of an early job in which she dealt "with a lot of Web sites and a lot of lonely guys."[4] Oliver considers the story, in which a lonely and delusional 27-year-old man forms a romantic attachment to a sex doll, a "contemporary fairy tale".[2] After contemplating the concept for nearly five years, Oliver wrote the script over a nine-month period in 2002, before she was hired at Six Feet Under. In 2002, when her agent asked for a project to shop around, Oliver gave them Lars. In 2005, it was ranked No. 3 on the 2005 edition of The Black List, a compilation of the Top 90 most-liked, un-produced scripts in Hollywood.[4]

Directed by Craig Gillespie and starring Ryan Gosling, the film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival where it received a standing ovation from the audience. The screenplay was eventually nominated for several awards, including an Academy Award for Original Screenplay. In 2008, Oliver received the Humanitas Prize for the screenplay.[5]

In 2007, Oliver again teamed up with Alan Ball to write and direct episodes for his HBO vampire series, True Blood.[6] She is also in the early stages of another film project.[7]

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ "UMass alumna talks struggles and Oscar nod". The Daily Collegian. 2008-04-10. Archived from the original on 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  2. ^ a b c "The Write Stuff: Interview with 'Lars and the Real Girl' Screenwriter Nancy Oliver". Cinematical. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  3. ^ "Nancy Oliver – Six Feet Under Cast and Crew". HBO. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  4. ^ a b c d Rochlin, Margy (2007-10-08). "Lars and the Real Girl: Guy and doll, and the woman behind them". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  5. ^ Screenwriters lauded with Humanitas Prize[dead link] Associated Press, Los Angeles, September 17, 2008
  6. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (2007-09-14). "'Six Feet' writers are having a Ball: 'True Blood' creator leads herd of dramaturgs". Variety. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  7. ^ Wood, Jennifer M. (2008-04-18). "Nancy Oliver Gets Real". Movie Maker. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  8. ^ Gregg Mitchell & Sherry Goldman (2009). "2010 Writers Guild Awards Television, Radio, News, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2010-04-30.

External linksEdit