The 34th annual Scripter Awards were held in the historic Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at the University of Southern California on Saturday and The Lost Daughter and Dopesick are this year’s winners for film and television, respectively. The USC Scripter is the only screenplay award that also recognizes the source material and its author.
The win for The Lost Daughter, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s adaptation of the Elena Ferrante novel, was a surprise upset over Jane Campion’s adaptation of Thomas Savage’s The Power of the Dog. Dopesick, the limited series written by Danny Strong and based on the nonfiction book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company That Addicted America by author Beth Macy won the television scripter prize.
Established in 1988, the USC Libraries Scripter Award is an honor bestowed annually by the USC Libraries Board of Councilors in recognition of the year’s best adaptation of the printed word into film, and is given to both the author and screenwriter. In 2016, the USC Libraries inaugurated a new Scripter award, for episodic series adaptation.
Barry Jenkins, a nominee for The Underground Railroad, received the USC Libraries Literary Achievement Award for his contributions to cinematic storytelling, including his work adapting the 2017 Scripter winner Moonlight and the 2019 finalist If Beale Street Could Talk.
The 2022 Scripter selection committee selected the finalists from a field of 69 film and 42 television adaptations. Howard Rodman, USC professor and past president of the Writers Guild of America, West, chairs the 2022 committee.
Live-action and animated English-language, feature-length films based on a book or book series, novella, short story, graphic novel, play, magazine article, game, or characters originating from such written works are eligible. Films must have been released in theaters, on broadcast or cable television, or via commercial streaming platforms domestically during the prior calendar year, January 1–December 31, 2021.
Episodes of live-action and animated English-language series and limited series based on a book or book series, novella, short story, graphic novel, play, magazine article, game, or characters originating from such written works are eligible. Episodes must have been released domestically on broadcast or cable television or via commercial streaming platforms during the prior calendar year, January 1–December 31, 2021.
Serving on the selection committee, among many others, were film critics Leonard Maltin, Anne Thompson and Kenneth Turan; authors Janet Fitch and Walter Mosley; screenwriters Mark Fergus and Erin Cressida Wilson; producers Mike Medavoy and Gail Mutrux; and USC deans Elizabeth Daley of the School of Cinematic Arts and Catherine Quinlan of the USC Libraries.
Dune (screenwriters Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve), based on the novel of the same name (author Frank Herbert)
The Lost Daughter (screenwriter Maggie Gyllenhaal), based on the novel of the same name (author Elena Ferrante) – WINNER
Passing (screenwriter Rebecca Hall), based on the novel of the same name (author Nella Larsen)
The Power of the Dog (screenwriter Jane Campion), based on the novel of the same name (author Thomas Savage)
The Tragedy of Macbeth (screenwriter Joel Coen), based on the play Macbeth (playwright William Shakespeare)
The finalist writers for television, in alphabetical order by series title:
Dopesick episode “The People vs. Purdue Pharma” (writer Danny Strong), based on the nonfiction book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company That Addicted America (author Beth Macy) – WINNER
Maid episode “Dollar Store” (writer Molly Smith Metzler), based on the memoir Maid: Hard Work, Loy Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive (author Stephanie Land)
Station Eleven episode “Wheel of Fire” (writer Patrick Somerville), based on the novel Station Eleven (author Emily St. John Mandel)
The Underground Railroad episode “Indiana Winter” (writer Barry Jenkins), based on the novel The Underground Railroad (author Colson Whitehead)
WandaVision episode “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience” (writer Jac Schaeffer), based on Marvel Comics (characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)