By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

‘Argo’ Navigates to USC Libraries Scripter Win

Journalist, memoirist, and screenwriter take the 25-anniversary honor.

USC President C.L. Max Nikias; USC Libraries Dean Catherine Quinlan; Scripter Award winner Joshuah Bearman, author of a Wired Magazine article on which “Argo” is based

LOS ANGELES, CA (February 9, 2013) – Authors Joshuah Bearman and Antonio J. Mendez and screenwriter Chris Terrio received the 25th-annual USC Libraries Scripter Award for their contributions to “Argo.” Selection committee co-chair Howard Rodman announced the winners at the black-tie event on Saturday, Feb. 9, at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library.In his acceptance speech, Bearman said “I think that with adaptation you hope another writer can come and take a look at your work and see a new perspective and add insight, which is certainly the case with Chris Terrio.”“Argo’s” Scripter win adds to the growing number of awards for the Warner Bros. film, including the American Film Institute’s Movie of the Year as well as best motion picture in the drama category and best director at last month’s Golden Globes. The film is nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Scripter, established by the Friends of the USC Libraries in 1988, honors the screenwriter or screenwriters of the year’s most accomplished cinematic adaptation as well as the author of the written work upon which the screenplay is based. Scripter is the only award of its kind that recognizes authors of the original work alongside the adapting screenwriters.

Terrio based his adaptation on Mendez’s autobiographical work “The Master of Disguise,” published by William Morrow in 2000, and Bearman’s article “The Great Escape,” which appeared in Wired Magazine in 2007.

USC Libraries Dean Catherine Quinlan welcomed the attendees gathered in Los Angeles Times Reference Room of USC’s historic Edward L. Doheny Memorial Library.

“In the context of the library, Scripter at 25 years old is a young tradition,” Quinlan said. “But it is a tradition that helps our libraries collect knowledge that is far older than 25 years and one that will support discoveries by our USC community far beyond the next quarter-century.”

Co-chaired by Golden Globe-winning screenwriter Naomi Foner and USC screenwriting professor and vice president of the Writers Guild of America, West, Howard Rodman, the Scripter selection committee chose “Argo” from a field of 84 eligible films. A tie in the first round of voting resulted in six finalist films this year, rather than the usual five.

The 41-member selection committee included film critics Leonard Maltin and Kenneth Turan; screenwriters Geoffrey Fletcher, Eric Roth, and Robin Swicord; authors Michael Chabon and Mona Simpson; and USC deans Catherine Quinlan of the USC Libraries, Elizabeth M. Daley of the School of Cinematic Arts and Madeline Puzo of the School of Dramatic Arts.

The USC Libraries also honored Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana with the Literary Achievement Award for their body of work to date. USC President C. L. Max Nikias presented the honor.

“With deep reserves of imagination and intellect, Mr. McMurtry and Ms. Ossana inspire USC’s entire creative-arts community,” Nikias said. “And for this, we warmly salute them.”

Over the course of their writing partnership McMurtry and Ossana have collaborated on dozens of novels and screenplays, including “Brokeback Mountain,”which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as the award-winning miniseries “Streets of Laredo,” “Dead Man’s Walk,” and “Johnson County War.”They are currently collaborating on the screen adaptation of Paulette Jiles’s novel “The Color of Lightning.”

This year’s event featured a silent auction, the proceeds of which support the USC Libraries’ collections. Donors to the auction included Bennett Farms, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Hawaii Five-0 and Eye Productions, Hungry Cat Santa Monica, L.A. Saddlery, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Namale Resort & Spa in Fiji, Paperblanks, PGA Tour, Picca Peruvian Cantina, the NFL, Pizzeria Mozza, Pleasant Holidays, South Coast Winery, the Sundance Institute, Terranea Resort, Robbins Research International, Montage Beverly Hills, the Wine of the Month Club, and the USC Thornton School of Music.

In-kind sponsors this year included John and Dana Agamalian and Blue Ice Vodka; Esquire Bar & Lounge of Pasadena, Calif.; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Paperblanks; Penguin Books; and the Wine of the Month Club.

For more information about Scripter—including additional images from the ceremony—visitscripter.usc.edu.

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“A lot of us felt blindsided,” Van Vliet told me. In the seventies, Van Vliet was drafted out of film school by Industrial Light & Magic, where he worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now 62 and semi-retired, he said, “Once you get into your fifties, you’re pretty disposable.” Van Vliet was in the middle of reviewing DVD screeners before casting his Oscar votes, a process he estimated would take a hundred and twenty hours. “The Academy is essentially asking us to give them three weeks of labor, and then they’re going to take our results, put them into a ceremony, and sell it,” he said, referring to the seventy-five million dollars that the organization earns from the television broadcast. “Then they’re turning around and kicking us in the teeth.”
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