The top prizes at the 2022 USC Scripter Awards went to screenwriter Maggie Gyllenhaal and novelist Elena Ferrante for Netflix’s “The Lost Daughter” and scripter Danny Strong and author Beth Macy for Netflix’s “Dopesick” during Saturday’s virtual ceremony.
As in past years, the awards go to both the scriptwriters and the writers of the original source material.
“The Lost Daughter” is based on Ferrante’s 2006 novel. Gyllenhaal happily toasted the win with a glass of champagne, noting that this award “means so much to me particularly because it is chosen and voted for by writers.” The director and writer of the Oscar-nominated film described Ferrante as her “north star” for the project, adding that the author has been “a truly wise and generous guide.”
The “Dopesick” duo won for the episode “The People vs. Purdue Pharma.” Macy gave thanks to all families who helped her as well as Strong tell the story of America’s struggle with opioid addiction. Strong shared a message to all viewing the virtual awards show, saying anyone with influence should do their part to remove any tribute to the Sackler family, who founded and own the pharmaceutical companies Purdue Pharma and Mundipharma, from medical and educational institutions.
This was the 34th annual event, and the second put on virtually instead of the usual venue on the USC campus.
The film nominees included “Passing,” by Rebecca Hall and based on the book by Nella Larsen; Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” based on the book by Thomas Savage; Warner Bros.’ sci-fi epic “Dune,” from Eric Roth, Jon Spaiths and Denis Villeneuve and based on Frank Herbert’s novel; and Joel Coen’s Shakespearian adaptation “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”
On the TV side, the nominees were Netflix’s “Maid,” Molly Smith Metzler and “Maid” for the episode “Dollar Store,” based on Stephanie Land’s memoir; Patrick Somerville and “Station Eleven” for the episode “Wheel of Fire,” based on Emily St. John Mandel’s novel; Barry Jenkins and “The Underground Railroad” for the episode “Indiana Winter,” based on Colson Whitehead’s book; and Jac Schaeffer and “WandaVision” for the episode “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience,” based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Heading into the Oscars, the Scripters are a strong barometer for the adapted screenplay race. Fourteen previous Oscar winners made a stop with the important guild including “Schindler’s List” (1993), “The Social Network” (2010), “The Big Short” (2015) and “Call Me by Your Name” (2017). Last year, amid a global pandemic, the group had their least foretelling showing, with only two of their five nominees going on to Academy attention: “Nomadland” and “One Night in Miami.” The eventual winner, “The Father,” was snubbed altogether.
The awards are an annual fundraiser for the USC Libraries. The awards began in 1988 honoring films, and TV adaptations were added in 2016. The works are judged by a panel of screenwriters, WGA members, industry executives, authors, faculty members and members of the Friends of the USC Libraries.
Last year’s winners were Chloé Zhao and author Jessica Bruder for “Nomadland” as well as scripter Scott Frank and novelist Walter Tevis for Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit.”