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