5 pen noms for USC's Scripter prize

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The author-screenwriter teams behind "Atonement," "Into the Wild," "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood" and "Zodiac" are the finalists for the 2008 USC Libraries Scripter Award.

The Scripter recognizes the authors and screenwriters of a produced book-to-film adaptation. The selection committee comprises members of the WGA, Academy Award-winning and -nominated screenwriters, authors, film industry executives, USC faculty, the dean of the USC Libraries and select members of the Friends of the USC Libraries, who sponsor the award. The committee culled the five finalists from a field of 49 eligible films, the most in Scripter's 20-year history.

The finalists are screenwriter Christopher Hampton for Focus Features' "Atonement," based on the novel by Ian McEwan; Sean Penn and adventure writer Jon Krakauer for Paramount Vantage's "Wild"; filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy for Miramax's "No Country"; Paul Thomas Anderson for Paramount Vantage's "Blood," based on the book "Oil!" by Upton Sinclair; and scribe James Vanderbilt for Paramount's "Zodiac," based on the book by true-crime author and former San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith.

"This was a banner year for adaptations," said Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, who headed the 39-member selection committee. "Each of the fine nominated screenplays draws on significant published writing to provide us with a provocative film that examines where we are as a culture today. These screenplays are more than translations -- they are each original in their own way, without losing the spirit of where they began."

The winners will be announced WednesdayJanuary 9, with a black tie ceremony honoring the achievement Feb. 2. Jason Alexander will be master of ceremonies at the gala.
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