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USC Scripters Awards Go to ’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Philomena,’ ‘Captain Phillips’ and Some Offbeat Surprises

USC Scripters Awards Go to '12 Years a Slave,' 'Philomena,' 'Captain Phillips' and Some Offbeat Surprises

Sssssshhhhhhhhh!!… the librarians are deliberating… and the
winner will be the recipient of the 26th annual Scripters Award, bestowed by
the USC Libraries, a group that seems to have its own Dewey Decimal System of
prognostication. (Actually, USC collects a varied group of critics, academics and screenwriters to vote on the best adapted screenplays every year.) At a time of year when every half-baked assemblage of film
nerds is declared to have its own crystal ball of Oscar glory, the Libraries has a fairly envious track
record (especially if Oscars are your business): They’ve picked five of the last
six Best Adapted Screenplay winners and when they’ve been off the Academy track,
frankly, some of their picks have been better.

It’s heartening to see not just the screenwriting but the
SOURCES getting recognition. This year, the Scripter nominees – one of whom has
been dead for 150 years — are as follows. (The honor is intended for “the
screenwriter or screenwriters of the year’s most accomplished cinematic
adaptation as well as the author or authors of the written work upon which the
screenplay is based”):

Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty, authors of “A Captain’s
Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea,” and screenwriter
Billy Ray, for Captain Phillips.”

For “Philomena,” author Martin Sixsmith, who wrote the book
“The Lost Child of Philomena Lee,” and screenwriters Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope.

Novelist Tim Tharp and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and
Michael H. Weber for “The Spectacular Now.”

Solomon Northup, author of his memoir “Twelve Years a Slave,” and
screenwriter John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave.”

Screenwriters Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne for “What
Maisie Knew,”
adapted from the novel by Henry James.

“They don’t necessarily consider themselves as a bellweather
for the Oscars,” a spokeswoman said, adding that the selection committee is comprised
of authors, screenwriters, producers, critics and academics “so it’s bound to
have slightly different choices than some of the other awards – see this year’s
nomination of ‘What Maisie Knew.’

“But they have been accurate in choosing a winner who has
gone on to win an Oscar five out of the last six years, so I don’t think their
acumen for honoring future winners can be discounted.”

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