Out author Michael Cunningham and screenwriter David Hare are the winners of the 15th USC Scripter award, the only honor that recognizes both the screenwriter of a film adaptation and the author of the original work, for The Hours. Cunningham had previously won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for the novel. The other nominees for this year's Scripter award were author Louis Begley and screenwriters Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for About Schmidt; Susan Orlean and Charlie Kaufman (and the fictional Donald Kaufman) for Adaptation, based on Orlean's The Orchid Thief; J.R.R. Tolkien and Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, and Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; and the late Wladyslaw Szpilman and Ronald Harwood for The Pianist, based on Szpilman's Death of a City.
Robert Towne (Chinatown), who chaired the 56-member selection committee, said, "I want to congratulate not just Mr. Hare and Mr. Cunningham, but all of the nominees for the intelligence, talent, and, indeed, the originality that informed these adaptations." The award will be presented at a gala dinner on March 15 on the University of Southern California campus.