‘The Descendants’ wins USC Scripter Award

The Descendants” won the USC Scripter Award on Saturday eding out “A Dangerous Method,” “Jane Eyre,” “Moneyball” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” 

The Descendants,” “Moneyball” and “Tinker Tailor” contend at the Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay against “Hugo” and “The Ides of March.” 

This prize, now in its 24th year, honors films adapted from novels, short stories, comic books, journalism and other screenplays with both the source material and the adapted screenplay feted. As it excludes stage-to-screen adaptations (as was “The Ides of March”) and foreign-language films, the Scripter has forecast just seven of the eventual Oscar champs. Three of those instances were recent: “The Social Network” last year, “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) and “No Country for Old Men” (2007). The other repeat winners were “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), “L.A. Confidential” (1997), “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) and “Schindler’s List” (1993).

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Last year, “The Social Network” faced three of the other four Scripter nominees — “127 Hours,” “True Grit” and “Winter’s Bone” — at the Oscars. The fifth Scripter contender, “The Ghost Writer,” was edged out at the Oscars by “Toy Story 3” which was ineligible for consideration here.  

In 2009, “Up in the Air” prevailed with the Scripter jury over three of its competitors at the Oscars — “District 9,” “An Education” and “Precious” — as well as “Crazy Heart.” The fifth Oscar nominee was the adapted script for “In the Loop.” However, it was “Precious” that eventually won over academy voters.

This year’s nominees were: 

A Dangerous Method,”
Screenplay: Christopher Hampton
Source: Non-fiction book “A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein” by John Kerr and 2002 play “The Talking Cure” by Hampton

X – “The Descendants”
Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Source: Novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, which was an expansion of her short story “The Minor Wars”

Jane Eyre
Screenplay: Moira Buffini 
Source: Novel by Charlotte Bronte

“Moneyball”
Screenplay: Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chevrin 
Source: Nonfiction book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” 
Screenplay: Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan
Source: Novel by John le Carre

The 32-member selection committee considered 109 entries. Paul Haggis, who won the Scripter in 2004 for “Million Dollar Baby” but lost the Oscar to Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for “Sideways,” was feted with the Literary Achievement Award. The awards were presented at USC’s Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library.

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