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The USC Libraries named the finalists for the 34th-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:

  • Screenwriters Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts, and Denis Villeneuve, for “Dune” based on the novel by Frank Herbert
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal for “The Lost Daughter” based on the novel by Elena Ferrante
  • Rebecca Hall for “Passing” based on the novel by Nella Larsen
  • Screenwriter Jane Campion and author Thomas Savage for “The Power of the Dog”
  • Screenwriter Joel Coen and playwright William Shakespeare for “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

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

  • Danny Strong, for the episode “The People vs. Purdue Pharma,” from “Dopesick,” based on the nonfiction book “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” by Beth Macy
  • Molly Smith Metzler for the episode “Dollar Store,” from “Maid,” based on the memoir “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive” by Stephanie Land
  • Patrick Somerville for the episode “Wheel of Fire,” from “Station Eleven,” based on the novel by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Barry Jenkins for the episode “Indiana Winter” from “The Underground Railroad,” based on the novel by Colson Whitehead
  • Jac Schaeffer for the episode “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience,” from “WandaVision” based on Marvel Comics characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Barry Jenkins, a nominee for “The Underground Railroad,” will receive the USC Libraries Literary Achievement Award for his contributions to cinematic storytelling, including his work adapting the 2017 Scripter winner “Moonlight” and the 2019 finalist “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
The 2022 Scripter selection committee selected the finalists from a field of 69 film and 42 television adaptations. Howard Rodman, USC professor and past president of the Writers Guild of America, West, chairs the 2022 committee.

Serving on the selection committee, among many others, are film critics Leonard Maltin, Anne Thompson and Kenneth Turan; authors Janet Fitch and Walter Mosley; screenwriters Mark Fergus and Erin Cressida Wilson; producers Mike Medavoy and Gail Mutrux; and USC deans Elizabeth Daley of the School of Cinematic Arts and Catherine Quinlan of the USC Libraries.

Dean Catherine Quinlan with 2020 winners Greta Gerwig, Amy Pascal, Susan Orlean, and USC President Carol Folt (Photo: Sarah Golonka)

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

  • “Dune”—Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures and Ace
  • “The Lost Daughter”—Netflix and Europa Editions
  • “Passing”— Netflix and Serpent’s Tail
  • “The Power of the Dog”— Netflix and Back Bay Books
  • “The Tragedy of Macbeth”—Apple Original Films/A24 and Penguin

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

  • “Dopesick”—Hulu and Back Bay Books
  • “Maid”—Netflix and Hachette Books
  • “Station Eleven”—HBO Max and Vintage Books
  • “The Underground Railroad”—Amazon and Anchor Books
  • “WandaVision”—Disney+ and Marvel Comics

The USC Libraries will announce the winning authors and screenwriters at a black-tie ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in the historic Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at the University of Southern California. After being held in a virtual format last year amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the Scripter Awards are currently planning to return to an in-person event subject to up-to-date COVID-19 safety protocols.

Since 1988, Scripter has honored the authors of printed works alongside the screenwriters who adapt their stories. In 2016, the USC Libraries inaugurated a new Scripter award, for episodic series adaptation. For more information about Scripter visit



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