USC Scripter Nominees

The USC Scripter nominees honor both the source material and the finished script.  Their nominees as follows:

screenwriter Christopher Hampton for A Dangerous Method, adapted from the nonfiction book A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein by John Kerr and the 2002 stage play The Talking Cure by Hampton
Screenwriters Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash for The Descendants, adapted from Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel (itself an expansion of her first published short story, “The Minor Wars”)
Screenwriter Moira Buffini for Jane Eyre, adapted from the 1847 book by Charlotte Brontë
Screenwriters Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, and Stan Chervin for Moneyball, based on Michael Lewis’ book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Screenwriters Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan and author John le Carré for the thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Thanks to @jtfoix for the reminder

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USC Scripter nominees announced!


  1. Daveylow
    January 12, 2012

    These are thoughtful nominees. All deserving.

  2. devon
    January 12, 2012

    Moneyball all the way!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Zach
    January 12, 2012

    Looking at, what, maybe two or three crossovers for Oscar?

    The Descendants
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    A very cerebral list of nominees nevertheless.

  4. January 12, 2012

    No We Need to Talk About Kevin or Dragon Tattoo? Recount!
    But these are good nominees, though. Adapting Tinker Tailor must have been incredibly difficult, and The Descendants greatly improves upon its source. Not that the book is bad, but Payne et al do an excellent job channelling the young generation of today, which is something Hemmings tries to do, but far less successfully.

  5. steve50
    January 12, 2012

    Glad to see Hampton and A Dangerous Method get some recognition. Of course, Moneyball, Tinker/Tailor, and The Descendants were deservedly expected.

    Jane Eyre is a head-scratcher, though – wasn’t that impressed with it, certainly not as much as I was with the adaptations of Girl/Tattoo or Hugo.

  6. Gregoire
    January 12, 2012

    I loved Jane Eyre though it’s an interesting choice for screenplay nod. The film is a director’s vision and a visual experimentation, and I imagine purists must dislike it. Overall, this is a solid list.

    Interesting that they left off Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but given the concept of the Scripters, perhaps they thought it too disposable?

  7. Andrew Sidhom
    January 12, 2012

    Prominent well-doers in the critics awards missing here:
    Drive (6 noms)
    Hugo (6 noms)
    The Help (5 noms including 1 win)

  8. Ben Z.
    January 12, 2012

    I’m sure Charlotte Bronte would be very happy to be nominated if she wasn’t so dead.

  9. AD
    January 12, 2012

    So nice to see Christopher Hampton’s name and ADM get some recognition, finally! Great to see TTSS too

  10. January 12, 2012

    Glad the Scripter folks didn’t get sucked into the Hugo/Help love fest. Any time A Dangerous Method gets mentioned it makes me happy.

  11. Keifer
    January 12, 2012

    I am also pleased with Christopher Hampton’s inclusion for “A Dangerous Method”. It is a great script from one of the best screenwriters working today.

    I agree with the statement above about Jane Eyre being more visual than visceral. The screenplay was really nothing special. It is kind of a head-scratcher.

    I would have replaced it with John Orloff’s screenplay for “Anonymous” or Steve Cloves’ script for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″. Both of these screenplays contained really wonderfully written dialogue.

  12. January 12, 2012

    Defending the Jane Eyre nomination, I have to say it was compact, and moved forward with alacrity while maintaining a pretty good sense of the depth of the connection between the two leads. The longer recent television series wasn’t able to create nearly as much tension, or sense of passion, in more than twice the length. Scenes counted for two or three separate but related objectives, much as the source material; Jane, for example, seeming to move in a separate world from Mr. Rivers, in spite of their proximity, all the time she lives with he and his sisters, or the incipient use of Gothic Doubling, which cues us always to Jane’s (and Rochester’s) state of mind. I’m not sure this is the best Jane Eyre ever, but the script is direct and lean, not a bit of fluff.

  13. Keifer
    January 12, 2012


    The screenwriter also chopped some very important dialogue contained in the book (especially at the ending) which was frustrating to me. I agree that the script was lean, but perhaps it was a bit “too” lean for my tastes. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Jane Eyre, but for me the screenplay wasn’t the best thing about the film. I think the visual aspects of the film (cinematography, costumes, etc.) and especially the music score by Dario Marionelli impressed me the most. I also thought Judi Dench gave another great supporting turn in this film. She always seems to choose just the most perfect material for herself, doesn’t she? I admire her acting skills, but I also think she’s a great judge of material too.

  14. January 12, 2012
  15. Zach
    January 12, 2012

    They really just nominate the source material (at least when it’s something classic). (Here’s looking at you, Jane Eyre.)

    Poor Coriolanus (Shakespeare) gets the shaft again.

    Poor War Horse isn’t even mentioned on this thread.

  16. Adam
    January 12, 2012

    Screenplays are more than just dialogue.

  17. Anna
    January 12, 2012

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows should have been nominated. Oh well, i guess it wasn’t indie or artsy enough. Or maybe it was too popular and blockbuster-ish. Either way what a shame!

  18. Keifer
    January 12, 2012


    Shakespeare got the shaft before this announcement; i.e., as in “Anonymous”. Ha!

  19. Ricky S
    January 12, 2012

    Honestly, shame on the USC Scripters for nominating A Dangerous Method. Anyone who has any knowledge whatsoever of the works of Freud and Jung knows that this was a glossy treatment to say the least. The play Venus In Fur has far more to say on the matter than ADM does and here’s hoping the Tonys award it justly this year. Of the not necessarily expected nominees, I can agree that Jane Eyre is more of a visual film, but it is still the best adaptation of the somewhat problematic novel that I have seen so I was happy to see it listed. Though I didn’t fall in love with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, if there is an award it should get nominated for, it is this one (along with maybe an Art Direction and Best Actor nom).

  20. MIchelle
    January 13, 2012

    I know I’m in a minority, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why everyone is so crazy about The Descendents. I thought the script was terrible! Even the voice over at the beginning that had no reason to exist except to tell us shit we could have figured out without it, to the predictability all the way through. And no pidgen….no real Hawaii as I was promised. Really looked like a first effort film and script to me. It was screenwriting 101.

  21. January 13, 2012

    Hey MIchelle– you’re not alone.

  22. Keifer
    January 13, 2012

    I spoke with five people over the last two weeks who HATED “The Descendants”.

    Nevertheless, I’m going to see it this weekend. Clooney was really good in “The Ides of March” – he stole every scene he was in with Ryan Gosling.

    And I’ve heard Clooeny is much more emotive (i.e., he cries) in “The Descendants” than he has been in previous films.

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