USC Scripter Award


All of the adaptations in this category were great and deserving. Sadly, one was more deserving than all of the others if you were looking to reward the source material and the screenplay.  There were two, actually – Lincoln and Life of Pi and they night have actually caused the other some trouble.  Argo is continually the only film people seem able to agree upon. And think about it. If you went down south or back east or to the midwest and you had a pile of awards DVDs Argo would be the one you know they would all like.

We ask the industry to deliver daring, provocative work and we hope that work then wins awards.  The industry did deliver those movies and the more daring they were the more they got pummeled by critics, by protesters, by twitterers, by celebufans.  They were everywhere, coming from all sides — and that made it really impossible for any film that was the least bit polarizing to rise to the top. So in the end, we don’t really want divisive work at all,not for Best Picture. What we want is gently entertaining movies that don’t ask too much from us.  I hope that the box office proves what the American people want.  The awards voters can’t get there but the ticket buyers can and I suppose there’s satisfaction to be had in that.

The movies were so good this year that they divided voters into groups. But clearly the biggest group has gathered around Argo and there isn’t a whole lot anyone can do about it. The Silver Linings voters won’t switch to Lincoln. The Lincoln voters won’t switch to Silver Linings. The Life of Pi voters won’t switch to Lincoln or Silver Linings.

But congratulations to Chris Terrio for Argo, a great screenplay.  In the end, Argo will win what it can and those of us who really do love the other works can put them alongside all of the best works that never won. And there are many.  The more I follow the race the more I realize that the kinds of films I love, and many of you love, are those that could never win a consensus vote.  Vive la difference.

Next stop, WGA, which Argo will probably also win. Is it over yet?

The USC Scripter nominees are:


Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Silver Linings Playbook

–A tie resulted in six sets of finalists for the 2013 honor, rather than the typical five.

The finalists are, in alphabetical order by film title:

  • Joshuah Bearman, author of the article “The Great Escape,” Antonio J. Mendez, author of The Master of Disguise, and screenwriter Chris Terrio, for Argo
  • For Beasts of the Southern Wild, dramatist Lucy Alibar, who wrote the play Juicy and Delicious, and screenwriter Benh Zeitlin, who co-wrote the screenplay with Alibar
  • Novelist Yann Martel and screenwriter David Magee for Life of Pi
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and screenwriter Tony Kushner for Lincoln
  • Stephen Chbosky, author of the novel Perks of Being a Wallflower, as well as the screenplay based upon the book
  • For Silver Linings Playbook, author Matthew Quick and screenwriter David O. Russell

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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

The USC Scripter Awards will be live webcast tonight, Friday, according to their website, so make sure to tune in for all of the fun. It essentially comes down to True Grit vs. The Social Network vs. Winter’s Bone for the Scripter.

Last year, Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner won the Scripter. The year before it was Slumdog Millionaire, and the year before that it was the easiest one to call in their history: No Country for Old Men. Capote took the one before that. You can see more Scripter history here, going all the way back to 1988.

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