USC Scripter Award nominates ‘Captain Phillips,’ ‘Philomena’ …

This USC Scripter Award, now in its 26th year, honors films adapted from novels, short stories, comic books, journalism, and other screenplays with both the source material and the adapted screenplay feted. This year the nominees are “Captain Phillips,” “Philomena,” “The Spectacular Now,” “12 Years a Slave,” and “What Maisie Knew.”

Notably left out was Oscar contender “The Wolf of Wall Street,” adapted by Terence Winter from Jordan Belfort‘s memoir.

As it excludes stage-to-screen adaptations and foreign-language films, the Scripter has forecast just nine of the eventual Oscar champs, but five of those instances were recent: “Argo” last year, “The Descendants” (2011), “The Social Network” (2010), “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).

Last year, all five Oscar nominees for Adapted Screenplay were cited by the Scripter Award: “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and the winner of both prizes, “Argo.” They were joined by a sixth scripter nominee that didn’t contend at the Oscars: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

In 2011, three of the five Scripter nominees went on to Oscar bids: “Moneyball” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” joined double-winner “The Descendants,” along with two films left out by the academy: “A Dangerous Method” and “Jane Eyre.”

In 2010, “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 are:

Captain Phillips
Screenplay: Billy Ray
Source: Non-fiction book “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea” by Richard Phillips and Stephen Talty

Screenplay: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
Source: Non-fiction book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by Martin Sixsmith

The Spectacular Now
Screenplay: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Source: Novel by Tim Tharp

12 Years a Slave
Screenplay: John Ridley
Source: Non-fiction book by Solomon Northup

“What Maisie Knew”
Screenplay: Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne
Source: Novel by Henry James

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