For Immediate Release
February 20, 2005
Toni Miller (213) 740-2328; cell: (626) 319-7231
Jennifer George (213) 821-1642; cell: (310) 738-4192
Writers of Million Dollar Baby Honored at 17th Annual USC Scripter® Award ceremony
LOS ANGELES Ò Million Dollar Baby author F.X. Toole and screenwriter Paul Haggis were honored at the 17th annual USC Scripter® Award ceremony on Sunday, February 20. The sold-out event, sponsored by the Friends of the USC Libraries, drew a crowd of 400 and benefited the Doheny Library Preservation Fund.
On hand to fete the writers were a number of literary luminaries and Hollywood personalities. Fellow screenwriter Nicholas Kazan (an Academy Award® nominee for Reversal of Fortune) presented the screenwriter award to Haggis, while emcee Henry Winkler presented the author award to Erin Patricia Boyd, daughter of the late Jerry Boyd (pen name F.X. Toole).
Scripter selection committee co-chair Robin Swicord (Memoirs of a Geisha) highlighted the book-adaptation process and presented a clip from the award-winning film. Los Angeles Times film critic and selection committee member Kenneth Turan introduced the first film clip of the evening. Comedy legend Hal Kanter served as grand master of ceremonies.
Accepting his Scripter, Paul Haggis said: "There's no secret to making a great Hollywood movie. Just write a good script, hand it to Clint Eastwood, and step back."
"I first heard Jerry Boyd's voice on NPR as I was driving on the freeway and it was so pure and unique, I just had to pull over to the side of the road and write his name down, and I read his book the very next day. Throughout the process of writing this script, what I really I wanted to do was protect the beauty of Jerry Boyd's deeply felt stories. I want to thank Boyd for trusting us. He didn't want to make just another Hollywood boxing movie. He wanted it to be real, to have the stink of the gym."
In accepting the Scripter Award on behalf of her late father, Erin Patricia Boyd said, "My father told me once that writing a story for his children had helped him take a thorn out of his heart. It didn't. The thorn dug deeper as he endured two failed marriages and decades of rejection slips. But in 1988, he had his first heart surgery, and afterward he became reunited with his faith. He continued to fight his battles, and finally his faith was rewarded. He published his first short story at 69, his first book of stories at 70, and then Hollywood came knocking on his tiny apartment door."
The University of Southern California's Scripter Award was created to recognize both the author and screenwriter behind the year's best film adaptation of a book while raising visibility and support for the USC Libraries. The black-tie dinner honoring the winning writers was held in the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the USC campus.
Among those in attendance were film industry executives and talent, USC trustees and senior administrators, and friends and supporters of the university. Jerry D. Campbell, USC's chief information officer and dean of the USC Libraries, spoke about the significance of the Scripter Award to the USC Libraries and the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library, which is both home to the award and recipient of its proceeds. Opened in 1932, Doheny Library is one of the university's oldest buildings and a Los Angeles historical landmark.
"Million Dollar Baby inspires and moves us because it is about daring to dream big and making the personal sacrifices necessary to achieve our dreams. By joining us tonight, you are helping us preserve this library so that generations to come will never be at a loss for words — or for the dreams those words convey," said Campbell.