Screenwriters, authors recognized at Scripter Awards

Doheny Memorial Library transformed into a ballroom on Saturday night for the 29th annual USC Libraries Scripter Awards. The black-tie gala was held in the Los Angeles Times Reference Room.

The Scripter awards, established in 1988, recognizes screenwriters along with the authors of the original works they adapted. Originally the awards were given only to film adaptations, but last year a new category was created to recognize TV adaptations.

At the event, Provost Michael Quick shared the key role that libraries play in the academic life of the University.

“They are the core of what we stand for in higher education,” Quick said. “The unfettered search for truth, the accumulation over time of the knowledge that allows us to progress as humans, our launching point for future leaders. The libraries represent the absolute best of what it means to be human, of what it means to revere the truth, of what it means to make a difference in the world.”

This year’s winning author, Tarell Alvin McCraney, and screenwriter Barry Jenkins, were recognized for the film Moonlight.

There was also a tie tonight for the TV category between screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski with author Jeffrey Toobin for FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and screenwriter David Farr with author John Le Carré for AMC’s The Night Manager.

According to the Scripter Awards website, the Scripter selection committee is “comprised of Writers Guild of America Members, Academy Award-winning and -nominated screenwriters, authors, film industry executives, faculty, and select members of the Friends of the USC Libraries.” This year’s committee, chaired by USC professor Howard Rodman, chose finalists from 80 film and 45 TV adaptations.

“One of the things I love about the Scripter Awards is that it’s the only award, that I’m aware of, that honors written work into film,” Rodman said to Red Carpet Report TV. “And, unlike many other awards that honor just the movie or television show, this actually goes back to honor equally, the writers of the original work.”

This year’s finalists for film adaptation included Eric Heisserer for Arrival, August Wilson for Fences, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi for Hidden Figures, Luke Davies for the screenplay for Lion, and Barry Jenkins for Moonlight, adapted from In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

The finalists for television episodes included David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for the episode “The Winds of Winter” from Game of Thrones, adapted from the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, Erik Oleson for the episode “Fallout” from The Man in the High Castle, Tara Herrmann and Jenji Kohan for the episode “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again” from Orange Is the New Black, and Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski for the episode “Manna From Heaven” from The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.

Every year the Scripter Award funds specific projects around USC. Sponsorship levels ranged from a $500 “Supporter” level which included dinner for one and a formal invitation to the Scripter Reception, to a $30,000 “Gold” level, which included dinner for a group of 16, transportation to and from the event, membership in the Dean’s Council of the Friends of the USC Libraries, and a private dinner with the Dean.