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‘Million Dollar Baby’ Wins Scripter Award

by Toni Miller

The original story and the film � starring Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank � explore a surrogate father-daughter relationship.

The writers of “Million Dollar Baby” are winners of the 17th annual USC Scripter Award, honoring both the author and screenwriter of the year’s best film adaptation of a book or short story.

“The selection committee has chosen well,” said Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Nicholas Kazan and screenwriter Robin Swicord, co-chairs of this year’s committee.

“ ‘Rope Burns’ 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, Feb. 20, in USC’s Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library. Author F.X. Toole and screenwriter Paul Haggis will be honored for their work.

Actor and producer Henry Winkler will serve as master of ceremonies, and Hal Kanter will return as grand emcee.

“Million Dollar Baby” explores the relationship between a professional boxing trainer and a smalltown woman seeking a new life through her sport. The story and film explore the surrogate father-daughter relationship that ensues and the tragic outcome that changes their lives.

Clint Eastwood, who directed the acclaimed drama, stars with Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman.

“Million Dollar Baby” has been named best picture by the National Board of Review and has garnered five Golden Globe nominations, including best picture (drama), director (Eastwood), actress (Swank), supporting actor (Freeman) and score (Eastwood).

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 “Rope Burns: Stories From the Corner,” a book about his long career as a boxing “cut man” and manager, was published.

“Million Dollar Baby” marks Haggis’ second feature as a screenwriter-producer. Known for his Emmy-winning television work, Haggis wrote and produced “Crash,” an independent feature 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 authors and screenwriters for the best adaptation of an English-language film based on a book or short story.

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, click here or call (213) 740-2328.

‘Million Dollar Baby’ Wins Scripter Award

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