USC Scripter Award nominations include red-hot Oscar contenders ‘Women Talking,’ ‘She Said’ …

The USC Scripter Award, now in its 35th year, honors feature films adapted from novels, short stories, nonfiction books, print media, and other movies, with both the screenplay and its source material feted in each case. This year’s nominees include three of Gold Derby’s five leading contenders for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars — “Women Talking,” “She Said,” and “Living” — as well as “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” which rank seventh and eighth on our predictions list.

The biggest omissions were “Glass Onion” by Rian Johnson, which is in second place in our Oscar race, and “The Whale” by Samuel D. Hunter, which ranks third.

The Scripter has forecast 14 of the eventual Oscar winners for Best Adapted Screenplay, six of which were in the past decade: “Call Me By Your Name” (2018) “Moonlight” (2017), “The Big Short” (2016), “The Imitation Game” (2015), “12 Years a Slave” (2014), and “Argo” (2013).

The other repeat recipients were “The Descendants” (2012), “The Social Network” (2011), “Slumdog Millionaire” (2009), “No Country for Old Men” (2008), “A Beautiful Mind” (2002), “L.A. Confidential” (1998), “Sense and Sensibility” (1996), and “Schindler’s List” (1994).

Last year, three of the Oscar nominees for Adapted Screenplay first contended here: Scripter winner “The Lost Daughter,” “Dune,” and “The Power of the Dog.” The other two Scripter slots were filled by “Passing” and “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” while the film academy included “Drive My Car” and eventual victor “CODA.”

After eight straight years of matchups, the Scripter and Oscar Adapted Screenplay winners have not aligned for the last four. This trend began in 2019 when USC chose “Leave No Trace” and the academy went with “BlacKkKlansman.” Prior to the discrepancy between “The Lost Daughter” and “CODA,” there were similar splits involving “Little Women” and “Jojo Rabbit” (2020) and “Nomadland” and “The Father” (2021).

This year’s five contenders are:

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro, Patrick McHale, and Matthew Robbins
Source: Carlo Collodi’s novel, “The Adventures of Pinocchio”

“Living”
Screenplay: Kazuo Ishiguro
Source: Leo Tolstoy’s novella, “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”

“She Said”
Screenplay: Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Source: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s nonfiction book of the same name

“Top Gun: Maverick”
Screenplay: Peter Craig, Ehren Kruger, Justin Marks, Christopher McQuarrie, and Eric Warren
Source: Ehud Yonay’s “California” magazine article, “Top Guns”

“Women Talking”
Screenplay: Sarah Polley
Source: Miriam Toews’s novel of the same name

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