“Call Me by Your Name” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” took home the USC Scripter Award at the 30th-annual ceremony, which took place at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library on Saturday. Hollywood renaissance man Francis Ford Coppola also received the 2018 Literary Achievement Award for his long history with critically acclaimed film adaptations.
The authors and screenwriters behind “Call Me by Your Name” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” were on hand to receive the award, which recognizes the 2017’s best film and TV adaptations of the the written word. Bruce Miller, the creator and executive producer of the Hulu series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, acknowledged how “particularly wonderful” it was for the show to receive an award in a library, where the story’s journey began. Miller received kudos for “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” first episode, “Offred,” winning out against the writers of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” Netflix’s “Alias Grace” and “Mindhunter,” and National Geographic’s “Genius.”
André Aciman, the author of “Call Me by Your Name,” and screenwriter-director James Ivory, who adapted the story for the screen, were also elated by the USC honor. Ivory, a USC alum himself, said during his acceptance speech:
I left this building exactly 60 years ago when I graduated from the USC film school and they had the ceremony out in front of the library, and I haven’t been back since — not to this building. It’s amazing to come back. I’m glad to be back for an adaptation of a very good book.
There were seven films eligible for the honor this year, due to a three-way tie during the nomination round. The other nominees were A24’s “The Disaster Artist,” 20th Century Fox’s “Logan,” Amazon Studios’ “The Lost City of Z,” STX Entertainment’s “Molly’s Game,” Netflix’s “Mudbound” and Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman.”
Writer, director and producer Coppola received the 2018 Literary Achievement Award for his work in film. Coppola noted that his adapted classics always gave possessive credit to the original writer, including the beloved “Godfather” films, which were always marketed as “Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather” instead of “Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” because, as he explained, “Anyone who’s adapted screenplays knows the author did the heavy lifting.”
USC Libraries Dean Catherine Quinlan also honored USC trustees and longtime USC Libraries supporter Ronald and Valerie Sugar, who received the 2018 Ex Libris Award. In-kind donors to the event included A24 Films, Amazon Studios, Hulu, Netflix, Picador USA and Urth Caffé.