Superhero films are proving to be more than just popcorn escapism this award season.
"The Dark Knight" earned a nomination Monday for the Producers Guild of America's top prize. And on Tuesday, "Iron Man," 2008's other superhero box-office champ, received a nomination for the USC Libraries 21st Annual Scripter Award.
The award honors both the author and screenwriter of the year's best book-to-film adaptation, celebrating "the written word, creative collaboration and the profound results of transforming one artistic medium into another," according to the organization.
Screenwriters Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway were nominated for "Iron Man," based on the comic book series authored by Stan Lee and Don Heck.
The other four finalists for the Scripter are:
Screenwriter Eric Roth, who shares story credit with Robin Swicord, for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Screenwriter David Hare and author Bernhard Schlink for "The Reader."
Screenwriter Justin Haythe for "Revolutionary Road," based on the novel by Richard Yates.
Vikas Swarup, author of "Q&A;," adapted for the screen as "Slumdog Millionaire" by screenwriter Simon Beaufoy.
Fergus and Ostby won the Scripter two years ago for "Children of Men," and Hare received the honor in 2003 for "The Hours."
Last year's winners were Joel and Ethan Coen and novelist Cormac McCarthy for "No Country for Old Men." The Coens went on to win the Oscar for screenplay adaptation.
The selection committee chose the five finalists from a field of 58 eligible films. The committee, including chairwoman Naomi Foner, Lawrence Kasdan and Tony Kushner, will select the winner on Friday.
The winner will be announced on the evening of the gala award ceremony Jan. 30 at USC's Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library.