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2012 USC Libraries Scripter Award Gala

Heather Lee, Kay Chinn |
February 19, 2012 | 12:32 p.m. PST

Staff Photographer and Staff Reporter


24th annual Scripter Awards at USC (Heather Lee)
24th annual Scripter Awards at USC (Heather Lee)
The author and screenwriters of “The Descendants” won the 24th USC Libraries Scripter Award, an annual award honoring the best book-to-film adaptation of the year on Saturday night at USC's Doheny Library.

“Adaptations sometimes bring so many more readers that I never would have,” said "The Descendants" author Kaui Hart Hemmings, who won over “A Dangerous Method,” “Jane Eyre,” “Money Ball” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soilder, Spy.”

Her novel, set in Hawaii about how a father and his two children cope with betrayal, was published in 2007. Screenwriters Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash adapted it this year, and George Clooney played the lead role. 

“We are looking for, in essence, kind of three things at one time,” said Howard A. Rodman, the co-chair of the award selection committee. “We are looking for really, really good books, we are looking for really, really good screenplays and then we are looking for those screenplays that are really good adaptations of really good books.” 

The Scripter Literary Achievement Award went to Paul Haggis, a screenwriter, producer and director who won two Academy Awards for the 2005 film “Crash.” He also received the Scripter Award in 2005 for “Million Dollar Baby.”

Haggis said it was nice to receive the award.

"I struggle every day to write a decent story," he said. 

A cocktail party kicked off the black-tie evening at the lobby of Doheny Library. Over 130 guests, either working in the film industry or at USC, gradually filled the lobby.

The reference room on the first floor was transformed into a banquet hall with white roses, candles and a band. But the full bookshelves on the wall reminded guests that it was a unique party.

The dinner started in memoriam of Hal Kanter, an Emmy-winning writer, producer and director and Charles R. Ritcheson, a USC librarian and professor. Dean of the USC libraries Catherine Quinlan then addressed the importance of libraries in the university, and welcomed Paul Haggis as Scripter Literary Achievement Award winner.

“Mr. Haggis addresses difficult and challenging questions in his work—race, class, conflict, and the visible and invisible strctures that divide one segment of society from another,” she said.

She then raised a “serious” question to all the talents in the film industry: why isn't there a librarian film?

The highlight of the evening came with deserts. After a brief review of the five finalists, “The Descendants” was announced as the winner. Screenwriter Jim Rash answered Dean Quinlan’s question: we just pitched a librarian film during the dinner.

"The Social Network" won the award last year and it went on to win the Oscar for adapted screenplay.


This year's finalists:

- Christopher Hampton for “A Dangerous Method,” adapted from the nonfiction book “A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein” by John Kerr and the 2002 stage play The Talking Cure by Hampton; 

- Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for “The Descendants,” adapted from Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel (itself an expansion of her first published short story, “The Minor Wars”); 

- Moira Buffini for “Jane Eyre,” adapted from the 1847 book by Charlotte Brontë; 

- Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin for “Moneyball,” based on Michael Lewis’ book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game;”

- Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan and author John le Carré for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.



Last night, the 24th-Annual Scripter Awards were held at USC's Doheny Library. The nominees were the writers of "A Dangerous Method," "The Descendants," "Jane Eyre," "Moneyball," and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."  At the end of the night, "The Descendants" took home the coveted USC Scripter Award for writing.




Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.