The awards season continues as prizes continue to be doled out leading up the Academy Awards on February 22nd. The Imitation Game, which was written by Graham Moore and based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, has picked up the USC Scripter Award for best adapted screenplay. The USC Scripter Awards, now in their 27th year, are handed out by the Friends of the USC Libraries and honor the best film adaptations of the year by honoring both the screenwriter and the original author, meaning both Moore and Hodges were honored. Proceeds from the black-tie event support USC Library services and programs.
The USC Scripter Award is a reliable tracker for the eventual Oscar winner in the best adapted screenplay category. Since the award was first handed out in 1988, eleven winners have matched and only three USC Scripter winners were not nominated in the adapted screenplay category at the Oscars. The USC Scripter and the Oscars are currently on a four year hot streak with both having honored 12 Years a Slave (2013), Argo (2012), The Descendants (2011), and The Social Network (2010). This bodes well for The Imitation Game – nominated for 8 Academy Awards including best picture – even if the film is considered a long shot at nabbing a prize for picture, director, and acting. Graham’s screenplay – his first produced as a feature film – was on the 2011 Black List of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.
Also nominated for the Scripter Award this year was Gone Girl (adapted by Gillian Flynn from her best-selling novel), Inherent Vice (adapted by Paul Thomas Anderson from the novel by Thomas Pynchon), The Theory of Everything (adapted by Anthony McCarten from Jane Hawking’s memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen), and Wild (adapted by Nick Hornby from Cheryl Strayed’s memoir). The Academy ignored both Gone Girl and Wild in the adapted screenplay category, replacing those titles with American Sniper (adapted by Jason Hall) and Whiplash (based on director Damien Chazelle’s short film).
The selection committee for this year’s USC Scripter Award included literary and film notables author Michael Chabon (The Yiddish Policemen’s Union), Oscar-winning writers Steve Zailian (Schindler’s List) and Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), The Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, filmmakers Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill) and Gary Ross (Pleasantville), and last years’ co-winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave.)