Monday, February 25, 2013

And the Oscar Goes To....

Ever since All Quiet on the Western Front won the Academy Award for "Outstanding Production" (now the Best Picture category) in 1930,  book-related movies have dominated the Oscars winning circle.  2013 has proven to be no exception, as several nominated pictures have a book attached to their histories. 

Life of Pi

Originally published in 2001, Life of Pi was an instant literary and commercial success, despite being rejected by multiple publishers before finally being acquired by Knopf Canada.  Winner of the Booker Prize (Britain's leading literary award), Life of Pi is nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Team of Rivals

Steven Spielberg's biopic of Abraham Lincoln is based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's political biography; in fact, Goodwin was in the middle of writing her book when Spielberg told her that he wanted to buy the film rights to her book!  Lincoln is nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor.

Les Miserables

This long-awaited film version of the blockbuster musical is based upon the stage show of the same name, which, in turn, is based upon Victor Hugo's 1862 epic.  Centered around characters experiencing the French rebellions from 1815-1832, Les Miserables received decidedly mixed reviews when first published, but was a great commercial success (including among Americans soldiers serving on both sides of the Civil War). Les Miserables is nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.

Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook is a 2008 debut novel by Matthew Quick, and is available as an eaudiobook through Overdrive.  The movie is nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

What other book/play-based movies have won Best Picture? Here is a sample:

Gone With the Wind (1939)

Rebecca (1940)

Hamlet (1948)

All the King's Men (1949)

Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Ben-Hur (1959)

The Sound of Music (1965) (stage production was based upon Maria Trapp's autobiography)

Oliver! (1968)

The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather, Part II (1974)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Amadeus (1984)

Out of Africa (1985)

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Dances With Wolves (1990)

Schindler's List (1993)

Forrest Gump (1994)

The English Patient (1996)

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) (based on The Two Towers and The Return of the King)

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