USC awards Goldsman, Nasar best book-to-film prize

The 14th USC Scripter Award will go to screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and biographer Sylvia Nasar for Imagine Entertainment’s “A Beautiful Mind.” The award honors a book-to-film adaptation, with the prize going to both author and screenwriter.

“Beautiful Mind” centers on the life of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., but Goldsman does not view his film adaptation as a biopic.

“I think the very notion of (a biopic) is really a leap of faith, because you can’t tell a life in less than a life, and even those who rigorously adhere to the facts are omitting and selecting,” he said. “So the attempt here was to adhere to a particular architecture, which was God-given, and that was genius, madness and Nobel Prize.

“I’m tremendously honored and grateful to USC,” he said. “It’s lovely to be recognized, especially for something that means so much to me. Sylvia’s book is an extraordinary piece of writing and research, and it was a great joy to have the opportunity to use it as a springboard.”

The writers will be honored at the annual black-tie dinner March 16 in the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the USC campus. Hal Kanter will return as grand master of ceremonies, with Gavin MacLeod serving as master of ceremonies.

Trojans together

“Beautiful Mind” was directed by USC alumnus Ron Howard (class of 1973) and produced by alumnus Brian Grazer (class of ’74).

In announcing the kudos, chairman Albert S. Ruddy, on behalf of the Friends of the USC Libraries, said, ” ‘A Beautiful Mind’ is a riveting film that explores the fine line between madness and genius. But it also is an extraordinary love story and a stirring tale of triumph, loss and redemption. Both the script and the book are unforgettable.”

Nash battled paranoid schizophrenia for more than three decades and won the 1994 Nobel in economics. The film is based in part on Nasar’s biography of the same name, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer.

Nasar learned about Nash while working on an economics piece for the New York Times. After her 1994 article “The Lost Years of the Nobel Laureate,” the paper gave her a 2½-year leave of absence to write his biography. She recently was appointed the first knight professor at Columbia U.’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Goldsman has been working on the upcoming Tom Clancy adaptation “The Sum of All Fears” and the adaptation of Arthur S. Golden’s “Memoirs of a Geisha,” to which Steven Spielberg is attached.

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