USC Scripter Awards Nominees Include ‘Nomadland’, ‘One Night In Miami’, ‘Queen’s Gambit’, ‘Unorthodox’

Nominations were unveiled Tuesday for the 33rd annual USC Libraries Scripter Award, which honors the writers of the year’s most accomplished film and episodic TV series adaptations as well as the works on which they are based.

Winners will be announced Saturday, March 13 online, with the annual in-person awards ceremony not possible because of the pandemic.

The film nominees this year are Mike Makowsky for HBO Films’ Bad Education, Jon Raymond and Kelly Reichardt for A24’s First Cow, Ruben Santiago-Hudson for Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Chloé Zhao for Searchlight’s Nomadland and Kemp Powers for his own adaptation of Amazon’s One Night In Miami.

Last year, Greta Gerwig won the Scripter for her adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, leading to Grewig’s eventual Oscar nomination in the Adapted Screenplay category.

On the TV side, this year’s nominees are Mark Richard and Ethan Hawke for Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird, Sally Rooney and Alice Birch for Hulu’s Normal Things, Ed Burns and David Simon for HBO’s The Plot Against America, Scott Frank for Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit and Anna Winger for Netflix’s Unorthodox.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge won last year’s Scripter in TV for Fleabag.

The 2021 Scripter selection committee culled a field of 87 film and 65 episodic series adaptations. Here’s the full list of nominees:


Bad Education (HBO Films)
Mike Makowsky
Based on the New York magazine article “The Bad Superintendent” by Robert Kolker

First Cow (A24)
Jon Raymond and Kelly Reichardt
Based on the novel The Half-Life by Jon Raymond

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Based on the play by August Wilson

Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Chloé Zhao
Based on the nonfiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder

One Night in Miami (Amazon)
Kemp Powers
Based on the play by Powers


The Good Lord Bird (Showtime)
Mark Richard and Ethan Hawke for the episode “Meet the Lord,” based on the novel by James McBride

Normal People (Hulu)
Sally Rooney and Alice Birch for the fifth episode, based on the novel by Rooney

The Plot Against America (HBO)
Ed Burns and David Simon for the sixth episode, based on the novel by Philip Roth

The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Scott Frank for the episode “Openings,” based on the novel by Walter Tevis

Unorthodox (Netflix)
Anna Winger for the first episode, based on the autobiography “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” by Deborah Feldman

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