Talking Women and Slow Horses wins Adapted Screenplay Award

The screenplay winner often goes on to win the adapted screenplay at the Oscars.

The University of Southern California Libraries announced the winners of the 35th annual USC Libraries Scripter Award on Saturday. The awards, which honor the year’s best film and television adaptations (along with the works they’re based on), returned live to USC’s elegant Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library for the annual black-tie awards ceremony.

The panel of academics, industry professionals and critics often predicts the adapted screenplay’s Oscar race. Screenwriter Sarah Polley and novelist Miriam Toews won the film award for “Women Talking,” which was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay, while the television award went to English stand-up comedian and screenwriter Will Smith for “Failure’s Contagious, ” from “Slow Horses” based on the novel by Mick Herron. The AppleTV+ spy series stars Gary Oldman, who attended the dinner.

Both groups opted for the more humorous acceptance speech, with Herron cracking a joke that yes, Will Smith was at the awards show (the TV writer gave a slap). “First of all, thank you Mick Herron for leaving out my wife’s name,” Smith said in return.

Meanwhile, a hoarse Toews said, “It’s obviously ironic, I seriously lost my voice. So a woman really talks,” he got a laugh from the crowd. And Polley, who subtly acknowledged her current Oscar nominations, called the Scripter Award a unique honor. “I am very grateful to this organization for honoring the author of the book in addition to the writer of the screenplay,” said the filmmaker.

Last year, the screenwriting panel skipped the Oscar-nominated “CODA” (which won the Oscar for adapted screenplay). Maggie Gyllenhaal’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s “The Lost Daughter” (Netflix) won the film prize, while on the television side, author Beth Macy and screenwriter Danny Strong won for Hulu’s “Dopesick.”

TALKING WOMEN, from left: Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Judith Ivey, Sheila McCarthy, Michelle McLeod, Jessie Buckley, 2022. ph: Michael Gibson / © Orion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Women Speak”

©Courtesy of Orion Pictures Corp/Everett Collection

Of this year’s four film finalist writers (Paramount withdrew the nominated “Top Gun: Maverick” writer from the competition), only one other Oscar nominee: Kazuo Ishiguro for the novel “Living”, based on the short story “The Death of Ivan” was made. Ilyich” – Leo Tolstoy. “Women Talking” beat out finalists Guillermo del Toro, Patrick McHale and Matthew Robbins for “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (based on Carlo Collodi’s “The Adventures of Pinocchio”) and Rebecca Lenkiewicz for “She Said” . (Based on the non-fiction book She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey).

Television winner ‘Slow Horses’ defeated finalist Peter Morgan in ‘The Crown’ (based on his stage play ‘The Audience’); Taffy Brodesser-Akner for “Fleishman Is in Trouble” (based on her novel); JT Rogers for “Tokyo Vice” (based on Jake Adelstein’s memoir “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan”); and Dustin Lance Black for “Under the Banner of Heaven” (based on a work of fiction by Jon Krakauer).

"Slow horses"

“Slow Horses”

Jack is English

The 2023 Scripter selection committee selected the finalists from a wide range of film and television adaptations. The 2023 committee is chaired by Howard Rodman, USC professor and former president of the Writers Guild of America, West.

Anne Thompson also serves on the screenplay selection committee, which ranges from film critics Leonard Maltin and Kenneth Turan to authors Janet Fitch, Michael Ondaatje and Walter Mosley; screenwriters Eric Roth, Mark Fergus, Wesley Strick, Larry Karaszewski and Erin Cressida Wilson; producers: Mike Medavoy, Gail Mutrux and Ron Yerxa; and USC Dean Elizabeth Daley of the School of Cinematic Arts and Acting Dean Andrew T. Guzman of USC Libraries.

Additional reporting by Marcus Jones.

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