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The awards season gets into full swing

February 08, 2011|By Jane Napier Neely

We have sped right into the award-and-benefit season so our community is buzzing with activity. Our very fashionable ladies are coordinating their elegant party clothes, while their escorts are updating their tuxedos in order to attend the many upcoming events.

Last Friday night the architecturally stunning Italian Romanesque Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the USC campus was aglow with soft lighting as guests in formal dress gathered in the building’s soaring rotunda for the 23rd annual Scripter Award dinner to recognize this year’s best film adaptation of a novel.

No matter how many times I enter the foyer of this marble-clad library, it is always a breathtaking moment for me because it is so beautiful.

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The reason for the evening is to witness the presentation of the awards honoring the written word’s contribution to the art of motion pictures. This always-exquisite evening is the signature event of the USC Friends of the Libraries and always is sold out.

This year’s Scripter Award went to author Ben Mezrich for his book, “The Accidental Billionaires: The founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal,” and the film, “The Social Network,” with Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter.

The evening, which was expertly produced by Toni Miller, began with a VIP reception hosted by the university’s dean of libraries, Catherine Quinlan.

Quinlan is a dynamic woman who navigated easily about the room meeting, greeting and charming a host of guests including USC supporters, library donors and celebs like Nancy Sinatra, who was emcee for the award portion of the ceremony.

Yes, Nancy was wearing her boots. She later pointed out that when she was briefly a student at USC, those boots did walk through the very same library where we were sitting. By the way, she was studying for a final in her Italian class — which she said she failed.

A little-known fact was revealed Friday night: She is a cousin to Madeline Puzo, dean of the USC School of Theatre. Just keeping things in the Italian family.

The dinner and award ceremony were in the awe-inspiring Los Angeles Times Reference Room with its gold and blue-coffered ceiling, designed by John D. Smeraldi, who also worked on the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel.

Glenn Sonneberg, USC Trustee and president of the board of USC Libraries, greeted guests and film critic and historian Leonard Maltin announced the Scripter winners.

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