The writers of Capote, are the winners of the 18th annual USC Scripter Award, a literary award that honors both author and screenwriter for best adaptation of a book, novella or short story to film.
Gerald Clarke’s book was adapted for the screen by actor-turned-screenwriter Dan Futterman. Clarke and Futterman will be honored for their work on the film Capote at the Scripter Award ceremony, the black-tie gala to be held on Feb. 11 in USC’s Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library and hosted by the Friends of the USC Libraries.
A limited amount of tickets are available to the ceremony hosted by actor Henry Winkler.
Hosted by the Friends of the USC Libraries, the Scripter is the only award that honors both the author and screenwriter for the best adaptation of an English-language film based on a book, novella or short story.
In 2005, 47 films fulfilled the eligibility criteria for the award. The Scripter selection committee narrowed the contenders to a list of five finalists, from which Capote ultimately was selected as the best-of-the-best after a runoff vote to break a tie.
Capote tells the story of the gradual emotional deterioration of New York-based author and bon vivant Truman Capote, whose obsession with the execution-style murders of a wealthy family in a small Kansas community resulted in his bestselling true-crime novel In Cold Blood.
The Sony Pictures Classic film was directed by Bennett Miller, and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman in the title role and Catherine Keener as author Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), Capote’s childhood friend and confidante. The film has appeared on numerous “Best of 2005” lists and has been named the best film of the year by the Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics.
Published in 1988, the 547-page Capote stayed on the New York Times’ best-seller list for thirteen weeks, setting a record for a literary biography. Clarke researched the book for more than 13 years and spent more than a decade talking with Capote himself.
“That this year’s balloting was so close is a tribute to the remarkable skill and talent of this year’s nominees,” said Academy Award-winning screenwriter Tom Schulman (Dead Poet’s Society) and chair of the Scripter selection committee. “Gerald Clarke’s book is a timeless story of the soul draining consequences of ambition.”
The screenplay for Capote is Futterman’s first. He is best known for his memorable acting roles on the television series Judging Amy, Will and Grace and Sex and the City, and for his appearances in such films as The Birdcage and Enough.
“Dan Futterman’s adaptation was uncommonly subtle, intelligent and insightful,” said Schulman. “This combination of a powerful book so beautifully adapted is exactly what the Scripter Award was designed to honor.”
The other finalists for this year’s Scripter Award were: Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx, author, and Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, screenwriters; The Constant Gardener, John le Carré, author, and Jeffrey Caine, screenwriter; A History of Violence, John Wagner and Vince Locke, authors, and Josh Olson, screenwriter; and Syriana, Robert Baer, author (See No Evil), and Stephen Gaghan, screenwriter. (Syriana initially tied with Capote until a runoff vote yielded a winner.)
Past Scripter winners include Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Seabiscuit, The Hours, A Beautiful Mind, Wonder Boys, The English Patient, Sense and Sensibility, The Shawshank Redemption, Schindler’s List, Fried Green Tomatoes, L.A. Confidential, A River Runs Through It, Awakenings, Accidental Tourist, A Civil Action, The Hurricane and 84 Charing Cross Road.
The Scripter Award was created in 1988 to honor the unique artistic achievement of turning books into film while raising visibility and support for the USC libraries. Proceeds from the event benefit the Doheny Library Preservation Fund.
Marking his eighteenth appearance at the Scripter Awards, famed comedy writer Hal Kanter returns for his sixth engagement as grand emcee at this year’s ceremony. Writer, producer and actor Henry Winkler -- star of Happy Days and the new CBS hit comedy Out of Practice -- will serve as master of ceremonies for the second year in a row.