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USC Scripter Awards 2024 Nominations: ‘Origin’ Surprises Alongside ‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘Poor Things’

The finalists for the 36th USC Libraries Script Awards, honoring the most accomplished films and episodic series adaptations, have been announced. Among the selected are “American Fiction,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Oppenheimer” and “Poor Things,” all top-tier contenders for Oscar attention. Ava DuVernay’s drama “Origin” was a surprise entry in the lineup, making her the second Black woman recognized by the awards body (the first was Dee Rees for 2017’s “Mudbound”).

A strong bellwether for the Oscars’ best adapted screenplay category, previous Scripter winners that have matched the Academy in the last decade include “12 Years a Slave” (2013), “The Imitation Game” (2014), “The Big Short” (2015), “Moonlight” (2016), “Call Me by Your Name” (2017), “Nomadland” (2020) and “Women Talking” (2022). Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” (2019) is the only Scripter-eligible film to win the Academy Award without being nominated by the organization.

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One of the notable omissions from the group is Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” but according to the awards team, the movie was not submitted for consideration. It was deemed an original screenplay by the WGA. However, whether or not it was eligible to submit is unclear because it’s not based on a book or printed materials. It’s credited as “based on ‘Barbie’ by Mattel,” a toy company. Some snubs include Andrew Haigh’s “All of Us Strangers,” Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” and Kelly Fremon Craig’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”

On the television side, hit shows such as Netflix’s “The Crown,” Prime Video’s “Daisy Jones and the Six” and Max’s “The Last of Us” nabbed recognition. Notable surprise entries include Max’s now-cancelled “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” and Apple’s “Slow Horses.”

The selection committee selected the finalists from a field of 80 films and 56 episodic series. Howard Rodman, USC professor and vice president and secretary of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, chaired this year’s committee.

The awards will be handed out on Saturday, March 2.

Film Nominees

  • “American Fiction” (Amazon MGM Studios) — Cord Jefferson (based on the novel “Erasure” by Percival Everett)

  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures) — Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese (based on the nonfiction book “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann)

  • “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Christopher Nolan (based on the nonfiction book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin)

  • “Origin” (Neon) — Ava DuVernay (based on the nonfiction book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson)

  • “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures) — Tony McNamara (based on the novel “Poor Things” by Alasdair Gray)

TV Nominees

  • “The Crown” (Netflix) — Peter Morgan for the episode “Sleep, Dearie Sleep” (based on the stage play “The Audience”)

  • “Daisy Jones and the Six” (Prime Video) — Scott Neustadter for the episode “Fire” (based on the novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid)

  • “The Last of Us” (Max) — Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for the episode “Long, Long Time” (based on the video game by Neil Druckmann and Naughty Dog)

  • “Slow Horses” (Apple TV+) — Will Smith for the episode “Negotiating with Tigers” (based on the novel “Real Tigers” by Mick Herron)

  • “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” (Max) — Max Borenstein, Rodney Barnes and Jim Hecht for the episode “The New World” (based on the nonfiction work “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s” by Jeff Pearlman)

UPDATE: The awards team for “Barbie” confirms to Variety the film was not submitted for the USC Scripter Award.

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