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Honoring Adapted Screenplay – USC Scripter Preview


The USC Scripter is an award that is handed out for both the source material and the screenplay.  It is judged upon by industry professionals, scholars, journalists and critics (names after the jump) and has a decent track record with Oscar and the WGA in the adapted categories.  Their nominations will be announced tomorrow morning at 5am.

The Scripter acknowledges the source material in addition to the screenplay but they expanded their rules so it is no longer just a book but can be a magazine article, play or graphic novel.

As you can see by the below chart, to win the Oscar in adapted it helps to at least be nominated by the WGA and the Scripter.  In the Scripter’s history, no Oscar winning adapted screenplay has ever won without one or the other or both.

The adapted screenplay generally, though certainly not always, controls the Oscar Best Picture race as well, meaning that the strongest candidates for Best Picture usually show up in either of the screenplay categories.

It is usually easy to spot the standout screenplays by this time of year.  Between three and five of them will come from the WGA nominations. This year, four WGA nominees were nominated for Oscar and one was not. I am going to guess that at least three of these will also hit the Scripter, and those would be Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi. The other two are less certain – Argo’s source material might not be beefy enough for the Scripter, but Lucy Alibar’s play on Beasts of the Southern Wild might be. But what other adaptations might find their way in?

The adaptation that strikes me most but probably won’t find its way here would be Cloud Atlas – the sprawling, breathtaking, gorgeous mess of a film had its heartbeat in its adaptation of a fine novel.  Similarly, Anna Karenina seems like a very good bet for the Scripter, being that it’s, well, Tolstoy and all. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a possibility, as is Skyfall (could happen).

As for the winner, there really probably isn’t any script that could beat Tony Kushner’s adaptation of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book. First off, how do you not award Goodwin? Secondly, Kushner? Its biggest challenger, I would have to say, would be Life of Pi – beloved novel, beloved film – how do you choose?  But before we get to the winner we have to get to the nominees and they will be announced very early tomorrow at 5am.

Their winners will be handed out February 9, 2013.

won WGA | won Oscar


Adapted Adapted
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Jane Eyre The Ides of March
Moneyball Moneyball* Moneyball*
The Help* Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The Descendants The Descendants* The Descendants*
Hugo A Dangerous Method Hugo*
2010 2010
Adapted WGA Oscars
The Social Network The Social Network* The Social Network*
127 Hours 127 Hours* 127 Hours*
True Grit True Grit* True Grit*
I Love You Philip Morris Winter’s Bone* Winter’s Bone*
The Town The Ghost Writer Toy Story 3*
2009 2009
Adapted WGA Oscars
Up in the Air Up in the Air* Up in the Air*
Crazy Heart Crazy Heart In the Loop
Star Trek District 9* District 9*
Precious Precious* Precious*
Julie & Julia An Education* An Education*
Adapted WGA Scripter Oscars
Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire+ Slumdog Millionaire+
Doubt Revolutionary Road Doubt
Frost/Nixon Iron Man Frost/Nixon*
Benjamin Button Benjamin Button* Benjamin Button*
The Dark Knight The Reader* The Reader*
Adapted WGA Oscars
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood* Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood*
Joel, Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men Joel, Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men+ Joel, Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men+
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Sean Penn, Into the Wild Sean Penn, Into the Wild Sarah Polley, Away from Her
Christopher Hampton Atonement* Christopher Hampton Atonement*
James Vanderbilt, Zodiac James Vanderbilt, Zodiac
Adapted WGA Oscars
The Departed The Illusionist The Departed+
Thank You for Smoking Notes on a Scandal Notes on a Scandal
Little Children Devil Wears Prada Little Children
Borat Last King of Scotland Borat
Devil Wears Prada Children of Men Children of Men


Adapted WGA Scripter Oscars
Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain*
Capote Capote Capote*
Constant Gardener Constant Gardener Constant Gardener
History of Violence History of Violence History of Violence
Syriana Syriana Munich*
Adapted WGA Scripter Oscars
Before Sunset Bourne Supremecy Before Sunset
Mean Girls Friday Night Lights Finding Neverland*
Million Dollar Baby Million Dollar Baby Million Dollar Baby+
Sideways Sideways Sideways*
Motorcycle Diaries Door in the Floor Motorcycle Diaries
Adapted WGA Scripter Oscars
American Splendor Master and Commander American Splendor
Cold Mountain Cold Mountain City of God
Mystic River Mystic River Mystic River *
Seabiscuit Seabiscuit Seabiscuit*
Chicago About Schmidt Chicago+
The Hours The Hours The Hours*
About Schmidt The Pianist The Pianist*
Adaptation Adaptation Adaptation
About a Boy Two Towers About a Boy
Adapted WGA Scripter Oscars
A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind+
Black Hawk Down Shipping News Shrek
In the Bedroom In the Bedroom*
Ghost World Ghost World
Bridget Jones’s Diary Bridget Jones’s Diary
The Fellowship of the Ring Fellowship of the Ring* Fellowship of the Ring*
Adapted WGA Scripter Oscar
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon High Fiedlity Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon*
Chocolat Chocolat Chocolat*
High Fidelity All the Pretty Horses O Brother Where Art Thou?
Traffic House of Mirth Traffic*
Wonder Boys Wonder Boys Wonder Boys
Adapted WGA Scripter Oscars
The Cider House Rules The Cider House Rules The Cider House Rules*
Election The Hurricane Election
The Insider The End of the Affair The Insider*
October Sky The Green Mile The Green Mile*
The Talented Mr. Ripley The Talented Mr. Ripley The Talented Mr. Ripley
Adapted WGA Scripter Oscar
Gods and Monsters Gods and Monsters Gods and Monsters
The Thin Red Line The Thin Red Line
A Civil Action A Civil Action
Primary Colors Primary Colors Primary Colors
A Simple Plan A Simple Plan A Simple Plan
Out Of Sight* Out of Sight

Naomi Foner, Co-Chair
Howard Rodman, Co-Chair

Albert Berger
Robert Bloomingdale
Leo Braudy
Ted Braun
Michael Chabon
Dean Elizabeth Daley
Jack Epps, Jr.
Mark Fergus
Geoffrey Fletcher
Daryle Ann Giardino
Kaui Hart Hemmings
Nick Hornby
Gale Anne Hurd
Lawrence Kasdan
Nicholas Kazan
Chris Keyser
Jonathan Lethem
Claudia Lewis
Leonard Maltin
Mike Medavoy
Gail Mutrux
Michael Ondaatje
Hawk Ostby
Dean Madeline Puzo
Dean Catherine Quinlan
Eric Roth
Michelle Satter
Tom Schulman
Brad Simpson
Mona Simpson
Glenn Sonnenberg
Wesley Strick
Robin Swicord
Anne Thompson
Jennifer Todd
Suzanne Todd
Kenneth Turan
Josh Welsh
Erin Cressida Wilson