Scripters tap 'Atonement,' 'Wild,' 'Country,' 'Blood' and 'Zodiac'
The author-screenwriter teams behind "Atonement," "Into the Wild," "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood" and "Zodiac" have been named finalists for the 2008 USC Libraries Scripter Award.

Scripter is presented annually by the USC Libraries to the writers of the most accomplished cinematic adaptation of a book, novella or short story.

The screenwriter finalists are Christopher Hampton for "Atonement," based on the novel by Ian McEwan; screenwriter Sean Penn and adventure writer Jon Krakauer for "Into the Wild"; screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy for "No Country for Old Men"; screenwriter Paul Thomas Anderson for "There Will Be Blood," based on the book "Oil" by Upton Sinclair; and true-crime author -- and former San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist -- Robert Graysmith for "Zodiac," adapted by James Vanderbilt.

Penn, the Coen brothers and Anderson also directed the films that earned them Scripter nominations.

The 39-member selection committee, helmed this year by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, determined the five finalists from a field of more than 50 eligible films -- the most in Scripter history.

"This was a banner year for adaptations," Gyllenhaal said in a statement. "Each of the five nominated screenplays draws on significant published writing to provide us with a provocative film that examines where we are as a culture today. These screenplays are more than translations; they are each original in their own way, without losing the spirit of where they began. And they leave the audience with questions to answer as they walk out of the theater. What could be better?"

The USC Libraries will announce the winners of the Scripter Award on Jan. 9. USC Libraries Dean Catherine Quinlan will host the black-tie awards ceremony at USC's historic Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on Feb. 2.