'Black Panther,' 'If Beale Street Could Talk,' 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Among USC Scripter Award Finalists

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

The awards honor the year’s best film and television adaptations, as well as the works on which they are based.

The USC Libraries have named the finalists for the 31st 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 in 2016. The Scripter selection committee, chaired by USC professor and former Writers Guild of America West president Howard Rodman, chose the finalists from a field of 90 film and 55 TV adaptations.

Both If Beale Street Could Talk and Can You Ever Forgive Me? are considered front-runners for a best adapted screenplay Oscar nomination, with Black Panther and The Death of Stalin considered major threats to land a nod in that category. Black Panther is also considered a front-runner for a best picture nomination, while Beale Street and Can You Ever Forgive Me? could both get nods in that category.

Adapted screenplay front-runners BlacKkKlansman and First Man (as well as the remake of A Star is Born) failed to earn Scripter Award nominations. Leave No Trace has received recognition from a number of critics groups and nominations from the Critics' Choice, Independent Spirit Awards and Gotham Awards, among other groups.

While there are five film nominees, there are six TV nominees due to a tie in the nominating round.

This year's Scripter TV finalists include episodes from Emmy and Golden Globe winner The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, the Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated second season of The Handmaid's Tale, the Emmy-nominated Looming Tower, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated Patrick Melrose, the Golden Globe-nominated Sharp Objects and Golden Globe winner A Very English Scandal

This year's awards will be handed out in a Feb. 9 ceremony at Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at USC.

Last year, Call Me by Your Name won the film award and the "Offred" episode of The Handmaid's Tale won the TV award, with another Handmaid's Tale episode up for the Scripter Award this year.

A full list of this year's nominees follows. 

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

Screenwriters Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole for Black Panther, based on the character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Screenwriters Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty and author Lee Israel for Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Screenwriters Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin and David Schneider for The Death of Stalin, based on the graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin
Screenwriter Barry Jenkins and author James Baldwin for If Beale Street Could Talk
Screenwriters Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini for Leave No Trace, based on the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock
 
The finalist writers for television are, in alphabetical order by series title:

Tom Rob Smith, for the episode "The Man Who Would Be Vogue” from The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and author Maureen Orth for the nonfiction book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History
Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder, for the episode "Holly” from The Handmaid’s Tale, and author Margaret Atwood
Dan Futterman and Ali Selim, for the episode “9/11” from The Looming Tower, and author Lawrence Wright
David Nicholls for the episode “Bad News,” from Patrick Melrose, based on the series of novels by Edward St. Aubyn
Marti Noxon for the episode “Vanish,” from Sharp Objects, and author Gillian Flynn
Russell T Davies, for A Very English Scandal, and author John Preston