For Immediate Release
January 14, 2005
LOS ANGELES -- The writers of Million Dollar Baby are the winners of the 17th annual USC Scripter® Award, a literary award that honors both author and screenwriter for best adaptation of a book or short story to film.
"The selection committee has chosen well," said Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Nicholas Kazan and screenwriter Robin Swicord, co-chairs of this year's Scripter Award selection committee. "Ropeburns represents some of the best writing ever done about boxing, and Paul Haggis has adapted it with intelligence, passion, and great deftness. This graceful marriage of source and screenplay is precisely what the Scripter Award was created to honor."
The annual black-tie Scripter gala will be held Sunday, February 20th, in the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the USC campus. Author F.X. Toole and screenwriter Paul Haggis will be honored for their work on Million Dollar Baby. Actor and producer Henry Winkler will serve as master of ceremonies and Hal Kanter will return as grand master of ceremonies.
Million Dollar Baby explores the relationship between a professional boxing trainer and a small-town woman in her 30s seeking a new life through her sport, the surrogate father-daughter relationship that ensues, and the irrevocable outcome that changes their lives. Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, the film is set in Los Angeles and also stars Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. Million Dollar Baby has been nominated for best picture by several national entertainment organizations, and has been named best picture by the National Board of Review. The film garnered five Golden Globe nominations, including best picture (drama), director (Clint Eastwood), actress (Hilary Swank), supporting actor (Morgan Freeman) and score (Clint Eastwood). Mr. Eastwood also earned a Directors Guild nomination and the film has earned a best picture nomination from the Producers Guild of America.
The late F.X. Toole -- aka Jerry Boyd -- was 70 when Ropeburns: Stories from the Corner, a book about his long career as a boxing "cut man" and manager, was published.
Million Dollar Baby marks Paul Haggis' second feature as a screenwriter-producer. Known for his Emmy-winning television work, Haggis wrote and produced the indie feature Crash, a movie about race relations in Los Angeles that debuted at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival. The other finalists for the 17th annual Scripter Award were author Robert Ludlum and screenwriter Tony Gilroy for The Bourne Supremacy; author John Irving (A Widow for One Year) and screenwriter Tod Williams for The Door in the Floor; author H. G. Bissinger (Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream) and screenwriters Peter Berg, Buzz Bissinger and David Aaron Cohen for Friday Night Lights; and author Rex Pickett and screenwriters Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for Sideways.
Hosted by the Friends of the USC Libraries, the USC Scripter Award is given annually to honor authors and screenwriters for the best adaptation among English-language films based on books or short stories. Past winners include Mystic River, Seabiscuit, The Hours, A Beautiful Mind, Wonder Boys, The English Patient, Sense and Sensibility, The Shawshank Redemption, Schindler's List, Fried Green Tomatoes, L.A. Confidential, A River Runs Through It, Awakenings, Accidental Tourist, A Civil Action, The Hurricane and 84 Charing Cross Road.
For more information, visit http://scripter.usc.edu or call (213) 740-2328.