As discussed on the podcast this past Monday, we like it when guilds and specialty groups have slightly different rules of eligibility than the Oscars. This prevents everyone from choosing the same five everything and draws attention to other noteworthy accomplishments. For example, The Spectacular Now and What Maisie Knew, two good films that haven't been mentioned at all for months, won nominations at the USC Scripters.
The Scripter Prize is basically a version of Adapted Screenplay but the nominees are determined by a small panel each year (Leonard Maltin was on it this year) and the award goes to both the screenwriter and the original author. Naturally the original authors don't always show; we won't be hearing an acceptance speech from Henry James should What Maisie Knew surprise. The Scripters require that you're actually be based on previously published material, not just "previously established characters" which is the sequel-friendly insanity that started just in the past ten years or so and by which the Before Sunset and Before Midnight films won well deserved Oscar nominations albeit in the wrong categories. The only thing those films are "based on" is the imagination of Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke.
This year in addition to Spectacular and Maisie they selected three Oscar nominees 12 Years a Slave, Philomena, and Captain Phillips. Have you read any of these books and which would you vote for? The winner will be announced tomorrow. Their winner matches Oscar's just under 50% of the time... though like all awards bodies they seem to be moving closer to correlation of late.