'Moonlight,' 'Arrival,' 'People v. O.J. Simpson' Among USC Scripter Award Finalists

Moonlight -Still 1-H 2016
Courtesy of David Bornfriend/A24

The awards, which recognize screenwriters along with the authors of the original works they adapted, will be handed out at a Feb. 11 ceremony.

USC Libraries on Wednesday announced the finalists for its annual Scripter Awards, which recognize movie and TV screenwriters alongside the authors of the original works they adapted.

The film award has been handed out since 1988, with the TV award added last year. The Scripter selection committee, chaired by USC professor and Writers Guild of America president Howard Rodman, chose the finalists from a field of 80 film and 45 TV adaptations.

The five film nominees are all frontrunners for a best picture Oscar nomination, and four of them are frontrunners for the adapted screenplay Oscar nomination, with adapted screenplay frontrunner Hacksaw Ridge missing from the Scripter award nominees. Hidden Figures is considered a major threat for the adapted screenplay Oscar nomination.

The TV nominees include Emmy winners Game of Thrones, The People v. O.J. Simpson, The Night Manager and The Man in the High Castle as well as an episode from the most recent, acclaimed season of Orange Is the New Black.

Last year, The Big Short took home the Scripter Award for film, ahead of its best adapted screenplay Oscar win, with HBO's Show Me a Hero taking home the TV Scripter award.

The awards will be handed out at a Feb. 11 ceremony in the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at USC.

The finalist writers for film are, in alphabetical order by film title:

    •    Screenwriter Eric Heisserer for Arrival, adapted from the novella Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang
    •    August Wilson for the play and screenplay of Fences
    •    Screenwriters Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi for Hidden Figures, based on the nonfiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly
    •    Luke Davies for the screenplay for Lion, adapted from the nonfiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
    •    Barry Jenkins for Moonlight, adapted from In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney

The finalist writers for television episodes are, in alphabetical order by series title:

    •    Screenwriters David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, for the episode "The Winds of Winter" from Game of Thrones, adapted from the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
    •    Frank Spotnitz, Erik Oleson and Joe Kawasaki for the episode "Fallout" from The Man in the High Castle, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick
    •    David Farr for the miniseries The Night Manager, based on the espionage novel by John le Carré
    •    Tara Herrmann and Jenji Kohan for the episode “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again” from Orange Is the New Black, adapted from the memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman
    •    Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski for the episode “Manna From Heaven” from The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, based on the nonfiction book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin