Wednesday, January 27, 2021

USC Libraries Announce 33rd-Annual Scripter Awards Finalists

USC Libraries Name Finalists for 33rd-Annual Scripter Awards

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The USC Libraries named the finalists for the 33rd-annual USC Libraries Scripter Award, which honors the year’s most accomplished film and episodic series adaptations, as well as the works on which they are based.

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

  •     Mike Makowsky for “Bad Education” based on the New York magazine article “The Bad Superintendent” by Robert Kolker
  •     Jon Raymond and Kelly Reichardt for “First Cow” based on the novel “The Half-Life” by Jon Raymond
  •     Screenwriter Ruben Santiago-Hudson and playwright August Wilson for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  •     Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland” based on the nonfiction book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” by Jessica Bruder
  •     Screenwriter and playwright Kemp Powers for “One Night in Miami”

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

  •     Mark Richard and Ethan Hawke, for the episode “Meet the Lord,” from “The Good Lord Bird,” based on the novel by James McBride
  •     Sally Rooney and Alice Birch for the fifth episode of “Normal People,” based on the novel by Sally Rooney
  •     Ed Burns and David Simon for the sixth episode of “The Plot Against America,” based on the novel by Philip Roth
  •     Scott Frank for the episode “Openings,” from “The Queen’s Gambit,” based on the novel by Walter Tevis
  •     Anna Winger for the first episode of “Unorthodox,” based on the autobiography “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” by Deborah Feldman

Traditionally held in the historic Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at the University of Southern California, the USC Libraries will this year announce the winning authors and screenwriters to a worldwide audience on Saturday, Mar. 13, 2021, online at

The 2021 Scripter selection committee selected the finalists from a field of 87 film and 65 episodic series adaptations. Howard Rodman, USC professor and past president of the Writers Guild of America, West, chairs the 2021 committee.

Serving on the selection committee, among many others, are film critics Leonard Maltin, Anne Thompson and Kenneth Turan; authors Michael Chabon and Janet Fitch; screenwriters Mark Fergus, Greta Gerwig and Hawk Ostby; producers Jennifer Todd and Paula Wagner; and USC deans Elizabeth Daley of the School of Cinematic Arts and Catherine Quinlan of the USC Libraries.

The studios and streaming platforms distributing the finalist films and current publishers of the printed works are:

    “Bad Education”—HBO Films and New York magazine
    “First Cow”—A24 and Bloomsbury
    “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”—Netflix and Plume
    “Nomadland”—Fox Searchlight and W. W. Norton
    “One Night in Miami”—Amazon and Modern Classics

The networks and streaming platforms broadcasting the finalist episodic series and current publishers of the works are:

    “The Good Lord Bird”—Showtime and Riverhead Books
    “Normal People”—Hulu and Random House
    “The Plot Against America”—HBO and Vintage International
    “The Queen’s Gambit”—Netflix and Vintage Contemporaries
    “Unorthodox”—Netflix and Simon & Schuster

For more information about Scripter or how to join the March online ceremony and celebration, please email or visit


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