Screenwriter Graham Moore and author Andrew Hodges have won the 27th annual USC Libraries Scripter Award for The Imitation Game, based on Hodges’ book Alan Turing: The Enigma. The winners were announced tonight at a black-tie gala at the Edward L. Doheny Memorial Library on the USC campus.
The Scripter Award honors the writers of adapted screenplays and the authors of material on which their films are based. It has been a fairly reliable bellwether of the Oscars, with the last four Scripter winners — 12 Years A Slave, Argo, The Descendents and The Social Network — going on to win Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards. Winners of the Scripter Award have also ended up winning six of the last seven WGA Awards.
By those measures, winning the Scripter makes Imitation Game a frontrunner in the category for both the Oscar and the WGAs. The pic, from The Weinstein Company, has a total of eight Oscar noms including for Best Picture, Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch, Best Supporting Actress for Keira Knightley, Best Director for Morten Tyldum as well as Editing, Production Design and Original Score.
“Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage and hear people applaud for his name,” Moore said onstage tonight. “I do right now. That’s a profound injustice, and all that I can do is say that because of this, I can spend the rest of my life endeavoring to repair that.”
The other Scripter nominees tonight were Gone Girl, by author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn; Inherent Vice, by screenwriter Paul Thomas Anderson and novelist Thomas Pynchon; The Theory Of Everything, by screenwriter Anthony McCarten, from Jane Hawking’s book Travelling To Infinity: My Life With Stephen; and Wild, by screenwriter Nick Hornby, adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Finalists were selected from a field of 97 eligible adaptations.
Crime and mystery writer Walter Mosley was presented with the group’s Literary Achievement Award. The author of more than 40 novels, his Devil In A Blue Dress was made into the 1995 film starring Denzel Washington; he’s currently adapting the book for a Broadway play.
In praise of libraries and librarians, Mosley recalled how after the terrorist attacks of September 11, the Bush Administration “sent out a memo to librarians saying, ‘We need to know who’s reading what; who’s reading books about building bombs; who’s reading books about Islam; who’s reading books that may be considered anti-American.’ And librarians said, ‘F*ck you. I ain’t doin’ that.’ The librarians said, ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’ “
It was then, Mosley said, that “I realized that they were the last bastion in America to stand up for our freedom. So when I was asked to come to participate in an event which, among other things, is going to raise money for our libraries and will make libraries stronger, I thought, ‘That’s great because if you make libraries stronger, you make America stronger — the America that I know and that I love.’ “