I always get just a tiny bit excited when someone wants to give away an award for writing, as I think it's an extremely important (and, sadly, overlooked) component in filmmaking. What's so great about USC's Scripter Award (handed out each year by the USC Libraries) is that, while it honors only those films that were adapted from a book, a novella or a short story, it recognizes both the screenwriter and the original author. Last year's Scripter award went to the writing team behind Capote, with Million Dollar Baby taking it the year before.
The 2006 finalists have just been announced, and here's who it's come down to: Children of Men (which took five writers to adapt P.D. James' book: Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby), The Devil Wears Prada (author Lauren Weisberger and screenwriter Aline Brosh), The Illusionist (based on Steven Millhauser's story and adapted for the screen by Neil Berger), The Last King of Scotland (author Giles Foden and screenwriters Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock) and Notes on a Scandal (author Zoe Heller and screenwriter Patrick Marber).
I'm surprised not to see Little Children make the list, only because I know that Todd Field and Tom Perrotta shared a unique experience in adapting Perrotta's book, working very closely together (as a team) and producing one of the year's best films ... even though I, personally, wasn't all too nuts about it. There were 45 eligible films in 2006, and the selection committee is composed of a whole slew of folks, including WGA members, authors, film industry execs and the dean of the USC Libraries, among others. On February 18, the winners will be announced via their annual black-tie gala.
Who would be your pick to win?