"The Descendants" was named the best literary adaptation of 2011 at the USC Libraries Scripter Awards on Saturday night.
The award, which honors both the screenwriters of a film and the authors of the original work on which a film is based, went to writer/director Alexander Payne, screenwriters Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, and to novelist Kaui Hart Hemmings.
The Scripter provided a boost to Payne's Hawaii-set blend of drama and comedy, which has been largely shut out during awards season since its Golden Globe win for Best Motion Picture, Drama in mid-January.
By winning over fellow Oscar nominees "Moneyball" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and non-nominees "A Dangerous Method" and "Jane Eyre," the film reinforced that it may be the one to beat in a competitive Adapted Screenplay category at the Oscars next weekend.
It is also a nominee at Sunday's Writers Guild Awards.
The dinner ceremony was held inside the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the USC Campus.
Writer/director Paul Haggis, who won the Scripter Award in 2005 for "Million Dollar Baby," was given the 2012 USC Scripter Literary Achievement Award, an award given for a "sustained contribution to the art of adaptation."
The Scripter Awards were established by the Friends of the USC Libraries in 1988.
Scripter nominees and winners are chosen by a selection committee consisting of nearly 60 filmmakers, writers, actors, journalists and academics. This year's committee included Michael Chabon, Geoffrey Fletcher, Lawrence Kasdan, Callie Khouri, Leonard Maltin, Eric Roth and Kenneth Turan.
Only seven of the 23 Scripter winners have gone on to win the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay – although three of those cases have come in the last four years, with "No Country for Old Men," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Social Network."