Writers behind “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “The Queen’s Gambit” are among the finalists for the 33rd annual USC Libraries Scripter Awards, which honor 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, are:
— Mike Makowsky for “Bad Education” based on the New York magazine article “The Bad Superintendent” by Robert Kolker (HBO Films and New York magaziner);
— Jon Raymond and Kelly Reichardt for “First Cow” based on the novel “The Half-Life” by Jon Raymond (A24 and Bloomsbury);
— screenwriter Ruben Santiago-Hudson and playwright August Wilson for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix and Plume);
— Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland” based on the nonfiction book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” by Jessica Bruder (Fox Searchlight and W. W. Norton); and
— screenwriter and playwright Kemp Powers for “One Night in Miami” (Amazon and Modern Classics).
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 (Showtime and Riverhead Books);
— Sally Rooney and Alice Birch for the fifth episode of “Normal People,” based on the novel by Sally Rooney (Hulu and Random House);
— Ed Burns and David Simon for the sixth episode of “The Plot Against America,” based on the novel by Philip Roth (HBO and Vintage International);
— Scott Frank for the episode “Openings,” from “The Queen’s Gambit,” based on the novel by Walter Tevis (Netflix and Vintage Contemporaries);
— Anna Winger for the first episode of “Unorthodox,” based on the autobiography “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” by Deborah Feldman (Netflix and Simon & Schuster).
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a March 13 virtual ceremony will be held to announce the winners. The ceremony is traditionally held in the historic Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the USC campus.
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, chaired the commitee, whose members include 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.